If you've followed the steps to connect your Mac to a Wi-Fi network, but the connection to your network or the Internet isn't reliable, the steps in this article might help.
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Check the printed Network Configuration page. Choose the status as it is shown for the Wireless Link Status on the Network Configuration page. If your status is Link OK, go to Step 17. If your status is Failed to Associate, go to Step 16. Wireless setup was unable to associate with a wireless network. A MAC address is essential for successful interaction between local network devices. When it detects a router, your device sends its MAC address through to form a connection. Your router will then assign you an IP address and let you connect to the internet. Power Cycle Modem/Router. Before going ahead with more complex troubleshooting steps, try this. In this example, I’m setting the MAC address for this NIC to DE:AD:BE:EF:CA:FE. That should be easy for me to remember and verify, as I’m a carnivore. Then I click OK to apply the change. The network connection will be down for a moment while it restarts with the new MAC address. Finally, to verify the change was made I’ll use getmac.exe.
Check for Wi-Fi recommendations
When your Mac tries to connect to a Wi-Fi network, it checks for issues that affect its ability to create a fast, stable, and secure connection. If an issue is detected, the Wi-Fi status menu in the menu bar shows a new item: Wi-Fi Recommendations. Choose it to see recommended solutions.
Wi-Fi recommendations are available in macOS Sierra or later.
Analyze your wireless environment
Your Mac can use Wireless Diagnostics to perform additional analysis.
- Quit any apps that are open, and connect to your Wi-Fi network, if possible.
- Press and hold Option (Alt) ⌥ key, then choose Open Wireless Diagnostics from the Wi-Fi status menu .
- Enter your administrator name and password when prompted.
Wireless Diagnostics begins analyzing your wireless environment:
If the issue is intermittent, you can choose to monitor your Wi-Fi connection:
When you're ready to see recommendations, continue to the summary. Wireless Diagnostics asks for optional information about your base station or other router, so that it can include that in the report it saves to your Mac.
Click the info button next to each item in the summary to see details about that item. Wi-Fi best practices are tips that apply to most Wi-Fi networks.
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Back up or make note of your network or router settings before changing them based on these recommendations—in case you need to use those settings again.
Monitor your Wi-Fi connection
Your Mac can monitor your Wi-Fi connection for intermittent issues, such as dropped connections. Follow the steps to analyze your wireless environment, but choose ”Monitor my Wi-Fi connection” when prompted.
During monitoring, a window shows that monitoring is in progress. Monitoring continues as long as this window is open and you're on the same Wi-Fi network, even when your Mac is asleep.
If Wireless Diagnostics finds an issue, it stops monitoring and shows a brief description of the issue. You can then resume monitoring or continue to the summary for details and recommendations.
Create a diagnostics report
Wireless Diagnostics automatically saves a diagnostics report before it displays its summary. You can create the same report at any time: press and hold the Option key, then choose Create Diagnostics Report from the Wi-Fi status menu . It can take your Mac several minutes to create the report.
- macOS Sierra and later saves the report to the /var/tmp folder of your startup drive, then opens that folder for you.
To open the folder manually, choose Go > Go to Folder from the Finder menu bar, then enter /var/tmp.
- OS X El Capitan or earlier saves the report to your desktop.
The report is a compressed file with a name that begins “WirelessDiagnostics.” It contains many files that describe your wireless environment in detail. A network specialist can examine them for further analysis.
Use other diagnostics utilities
Wireless Diagnostics includes additional utilities for network specialists. Open them from the Window menu in the Wireless Diagnostics menu bar:
- Info gathers key details about your current network connections.
- Logs enables background logging for Wi-Fi and other system components. The result is saved to a .log file in the diagnostics report location on your Mac. Logging continues even when you quit the app or restart your Mac, so remember to disable logging when you're done.
- Scan finds Wi-Fi routers in your environment and gathers key details about them.
- Performance uses live graphs to show the performance of your Wi-Fi connection:
- Rate shows the transmit rate over time in megabits per second.
- Quality shows the signal-to-noise ratio over time. When the quality is too low, your device disconnects from the Wi-Fi router. Factors that affect quality include the distance between your device and the router, and objects such as walls that impede the signal from your router. Learn more.
- Signal shows both signal (RSSI) and noise measurements over time. You want RSSI to be high and noise to be low, so the bigger the gap between RSSI and noise, the better.
- Sniffer captures traffic on your Wi-Fi connection, which can be useful when diagnosing a reproducible issue. Select a channel and width, then click Start to begin capturing traffic on that channel. When you click Stop, a .wcap file is saved to the diagnostics report location on your Mac.
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Additional recommendations for best Wi-Fi performance:
- Keep your router up to date. For AirPort Time Capsule, AirPort Extreme, or AirPort Express Base Station, check for the latest firmware using AirPort Utility. For non-Apple routers, check the manufacturer's website.
- Set up your router using Apple's recommended settings, and make sure that all Wi–Fi routers on the same network use similar settings. If you're using a dual-band Wi-Fi router, make sure that both bands use the same network name.
- Learn about potential sources of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth interference.
Learn about other ways to connect to the Internet.
This article explains how to determine your MAC address. To get started, scroll to your operating system below:
On this page:
Windows 7 and Windows 10
Note: The screenshots below in this section are from Windows 7, however the same steps will also apply to Windows 10. There will just be cosmetic differences in the actual screens displayed.
- Go to the Start menu and in the Search box, type cmd. Click the cmd (Command Prompt) icon in the results.
Result: This will bring up the Command Prompt.
- Type in ipconfig /all and press Enter.
Result: This will bring your IP configuration in a verbose format.
- For your wired MAC address, look for a section labeled 'Ethernet Adapter Local Network Connection.'
- There may be more than one Local Area Connection. If so they will be labeled Local Area Connection 2, Local Area Connection 3, etc. Your MAC address is labeled 'Physical Address', and is a 12 character alpha numeric string.
- For your wireless IP address, look for a section labeled 'Wireless LAN adapter Wireless Network Connection.' Again, your MAC address is labeled 'Physical Address', and is a 12 character alpha numeric string.
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Please note that it may be necessary to scroll up if you have many network devices.
Windows 7 (alternate method)
- Open the Start Menu and open the Control Panel.
- Click Network and Internet.
- Click Network and Sharing Center.
- For the interface you are trying to obtain the MAC address for (wired or wireless), click on the link on the left-hand column under View your active networks next to Connections. In the screenshots below, it is Local Area Connection for Wired and Wireless Network Connection (MIT) for Wireless.
- In the Status window that appears, click on the Details button.
- In the window that appears, look for the Physical Address. This is the MAC address your computer has on the network interface you are checking (wired or wireless)
Windows 10 (alternate method)
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- Go to Start > Settings.
- Once the Settings page opens click on Network & Internet.
- Select Ethernet from the left hand side and select your Ethernet interface on the right hand side.
- The Mac address will be displayed next to Physical address and is a 12 character alpha numeric string.
Mac OS X 10.9 or later
- Click on the Apple icon in the top left, and click on System Preferences, or open System Preferences from your Dock.
- In the System Preferences window, click on Network.
- In the resulting network window, there will be network interfaces listed on the left. For your wired MAC address, select Built-in Ethernet, and then click Advanced. For your wireless MAC address, select Wi-Fi or Airport, and then click Advanced.
- On the resulting screen, look on the tabs across the top for the Ethernet or Hardware tab. This screen may look slightly different depending on whether you selected Built-in Ethernet or Wi-Fi in the previous step.
- Your MAC address is labeled Ethernet ID or MAC Address, and should be six groups of two letters and numbers, separated by colons.