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Help/Troubleshooting on Wireless setup

By JoeSatch ·
Problem: Sometimes I manage to get a wireless signal and connection, most of the times I can't.

My wife and I are sharing our neighbor's wireless network (Our neighbor lets us "piggy back" on her wireless signal.). My wife uses a Centrino laptop, Win XP Pro. She does not have to do any settings and as soon as she turns on the laptop, she gets a good wirelss connection and is able to surf. I have P4 Win XP Pro SP1 (dont want sp2!) with D-Link Air DWL650 wireless card that I use to get connected. But, not all the time can I connect.

1. Sometimes when I turn my laptop on, I can connect no problem, withgood signal. Most times, when I turn it on, it doesn't connect even though it sees wireless signal.

2. When it doesn't connect (when I turn on), I try disabling/enabling wireless connection: sometimes it connects fine to a good signal, most times it does not connect at all.

3. When I uninstall/install/update driver for my Wireless NW card (d-link), sometimes it connects to a good signal, but most times it doesn't connect at all.

If I can't connect in a short time, after some time all of a sudden I get a good signal (after an hour.. or two... or three!), and I can surf until I turn off my laptop. Now that I mention it, I do have a feeling my laptop might be cycling through something that takes longer or shorter each time (But I have no idea what!).

Resolutions I've tried: I have compared my NW and wireless settings with my wife's laptop and made them exactly the same, but no luck. I've even checked neighbor's settings and they're also the same. The wireless NW is "linksys". My laptop SEES it, but most times no connection. I've tried with wife's laptop at same location where my laptop is, and it's fine, so don't think location is a factor.

I would like to be able to have a signal connection every time I turn on my laptop. Thanks in advance.


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by willcomp In reply to Help/Troubleshooting on W ...

Well, you probably won't like this answer, but you really do need to install SP2. It has a wireless connection repair utility that works very well and will likely save you a lot of grief.

I use wireless in addition to cables to connect PCs in my workshop. Same adapters, different PCs. Some connect without problems, others have to be played with awhile to connect. So wireless can be problematic.

The XPSP2 wireless connection repair utility releases and renews connection for you. Can do same using ipconfig to release and renew settings, but simple little utility is a heap easier.

So, swallow your pride and install SP2.


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by JoeSatch In reply to Help/Troubleshooting on W ...

Actually, I think I've found a way around (always happens AFTER I ask the question!!). What I did was go into Properties of the Wireless Network Connection, then I clicked Configure in the General tab for the wireless hardware that I'm using, and in the settings for the NW card, under the Advanced tab, I selected the 802.11D Control, and under Value, I selected Flexible. Did a few tests and it seems as if it comes on no problem every time I turn off the laptop. Willcomp, thanks a lot for your help, I was almost ready to go ahead and install SP2, but I had some reservations because I'm a big time gamer. I'll go ahead and do that on my other laptop, which will be just for work. Thanks again.


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by sgt_shultz In reply to Help/Troubleshooting on W ...

i am surprised it is working even for your wife. wireless doesn't penetrate walls well. wonder if you wife is near a window and you are not? the best i can offer is the signal is marginal in the area your laptop's in, combined with the dlink being 'weak' or buggy. you could look for a firmware update for it. i also recommend updating windows and internet explorer to latest sp's. anybody know a good brand of wireless pcmcia nic? i don't like the ones from dell, dlink sounds iffy. maybe buy one from computer superstore, bring it back if no joy...

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by martin.p In reply to Help/Troubleshooting on W ...

sgt_shultz I am surprised that you say a wireless connection doesn't work well through walls. It did/does for me. I could be 20-30 feet outside my building with brick walls and still pick up strong signal strength from my connection and my wireless access point was in the middle of the room on an inside wall. Right now I have my access point on a bookcase in the living room on the opposite wall from the wall separating the living room from the bedroom, I am in the bedroom, with the door closed sitting on the bed with my laptop against the far wall in the room, and I'm still getting an excellent signal. I live in an apartment complex where there are many wireless access points from other residents as well ( and some I've found even with all default settings which is really bad )

John, I would do as someone else suggested and get SP2, I do believe that has saved me some headache. After getting mine set up, I'd also accidentally connected to a neighbors that was not secure and it would be in my list as an automatic connection, I had to remove it, and even if I left it in there is a way to set it to manually connect and move the stronger connection (the neighbor you knowingly share a connection with), while you are sharing your neighbors connection, and if you're in a situation like mine where you are in an apartment complex and close proximity to other neighbors that may also have wireless access points, you should check your list of available wireless connections to make sure it's not trying to connect to one of the weaker signals automatically first.

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by nj.whelen In reply to Help/Troubleshooting on W ...

Since you are not using a router at your home, only thing I could suggest is to recycle the cable modem, sometimes that helps improve the signal. IF you did have router you could also recycle it at the same time bringing up the cable modem first.
Only Other thing I can think of that might help, assuming you both have wireless cards- internal, or external, try getting a wireless finder service like BOINGO installed on your laptop and use that to establish/search for the STRONGEST wireless access point--that usually helps on my laptop that uses an external card..My husbands is internal and it always finds it right away..
Also you can try updating the Driver from the Network card web site ,(Ie if Linksys go up there and download the newest version)..they do change from time to time...The newer version might work better.,

Good luck!
Nanete Whelen

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