Ben Dodson

Freelance iOS, macOS, Apple Watch, and Apple TV Developer

Yosemite WiFi Workaround: Airport Express and USB Ethernet Adapter

Like many people, Yosemite has been a total killer for my WiFi. I finally broke down over the weekend when my WiFI was disconnecting every 10 seconds or so1. There is now a workaround available but it requires losing the ability to AirDrop which I use frequently. I’ve eventually fixed it with a long winded solution which I thought I’d share, but first a little backstory…

My WiFi is completely Apple-centric. I have an Airport Extreme (the newest 802.11ac model) and nothing but Apple computers. There are a couple of Apple TVs in the house and a few Airport Express’ for AirPlaying music. A little while ago I detailed how Yosemite was erroneously connecting through an Airport Express causing serious slowdown; the solution I had at that time was to separate my WiFi into 5GHz and 2.4GHz channels (with all AirPlay on 2.4 and all devices on 5). That was the setup.

Now, I’ve had to revert to doing this for my work computer:

Fixing Yosemite with an Airport Express and USB Ethernet cable

That’s right, I’ve had to plug in a USB Ethernet adapter and use a LAN cable to an Airport Express operating as a wireless bridge! As far as Yosemite is concerned, that’s a LAN connection and so it doesn’t drop out continuously. Problem solved!

There was one issue though; that Apple USB Ethernet adapter (which they still sell) doesn’t work in Mavericks yet alone Yosemite. To fix it, you need to download the drivers for the chip it is built on (helpfully available from ASIX), restart Yosemite, then manually add a USB Ethernet connection within Network in System Settings.

It’s all working like a charm, complete with full AirDrop support and no dropped connections. My new Retina iMac is coming today2 so I’m hoping that it having an 802.11ac chip will forgoe the need for this ridiculous workaround. At the very least I’ll be able to leave out the ethernet adapter!

  1. When I buy a house rather than rent, the first thing going in will be a gigabit LAN throughout. WiFi isn’t good enough for a media server and work machine. ↩︎

  2. “Out For Delivery”. Feels like I’ve been waiting forever! ↩︎

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