Wireless browsing problems

By healyjason ·

I have an ongoing problem with my laptop. I use my laptop with my home wirless router/internet via landline, no problems at all

But, if i try to use it elsewhere, e.g. airport, hotel room etc, I cannot. I can view available networks, and make connections. Signal strength is often excellent. But, I cannot browse with either firefox or internet explorer

I have tried repairing connection along with lots of other stuff. Turning on and off firewalls has been tried

So, considering the fact that i appear to be connected, apart from being able to browse, i recently tried to make a Skype call, and it worked perfectly!! So, then i tried the browsers again to no avail

This is really frustrating!!! I have tried to change internet options on both browsers to have it 'automatically detects settings' and so forth.... no good

So now i am back home again and browsing as normal! It beggars belief. It annoys me because I need the connection. It is a good toshiba laptop and this is my only problem

Please help, I cant imagine this is totally uncommon.

Oh and yes, in all the places i cannot browse, I can use skype, and others around me have been successful in browsing with their laptops. So its not a connections issue per say, just cant browse.

I used an ethernet cable at the last hotel and that was fine, but this facility is not always available, certainly not in airports

Thanks in advance for your help


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All Answers

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Which ISP are you using at home? ...

by OldER Mycroft In reply to Wireless browsing problem ...

Does your laptop have driver software for your home ISP installed? If so, uninstall it.

Does your home wireless network have WEP / WPA security active? If so, your wireless connection may be sending a password that is NOT required when you are away from home.

Have you checked that you are connecting to an OPEN network, and not one that is SECURE?

What is the make/model of your laptop?


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My ISP is...

by healyjason In reply to Which ISP are you using a ...

Hi Old Mycroft

I am using Eircom Broadband (Irish internet provider). Yes, I have installed driver software. But, will uninstalling that not mean I cannot use my home connection? Thus creating a new problem?

My home network does have wep/wpa security active. So, if it is a problem resulting from my computer sending a password (unnecessarily), can i not just switch off this somehow when trying to use OTHER connections (eg at airports etc)?

Yes, the networks i have been trying to connect to have been open ones and i have been able to make skype calls while connected, but just not able to browse

My laptop is a Toshiba Satellite Pro

Thanks for your help so far.

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A few possibilities ...

by OldER Mycroft In reply to My ISP is...

My home network consists of a tower with ISP software installed (Virgin) + a laptop connecting wirelessly + an old tower connecting wirelessly.

NEITHER the laptop nor the tower have ISP software installed - they are both attaching themselves to an available wireless hotspot - my internet connection. All that is required is that they both have the WPA password installed in the appropriate box on the wireless connection box.

The hardwired tower is in effect acting as the 'gatekeeper'.

Your home network is just another wireless hotspot and THAT is how you should be setting up your laptop - just like any other hotspot you might encounter when away from home.

By installing the ISP software on the laptop, it is still connecting when you are at home, because all the components match - but when you go away from home the variables don't match.

The very fact that on the one occasion that the Hotel had a wired connection available, you managed to connect with no difficulty just reinforces my point. The wired connection was not utilizing your installed ISP software!

Use 'Add/Remove Programs' to fully uninstall your ISP software on your laptop and re-boot. Try to connect to your home wireless network without it. I'll be very surprised if you have any difficulty at all.

Also, get into the habit of right clicking on the wireless icon in the Systray. Click on 'View Available Wireless Networks' to see what's being detected. I've done just that on my laptop and, apart from my own WPA network, there are 2 x WPA routers, 3 x WEP routers and 2 x unsecured routers.

If I were to install the Virgin ISP software on my laptop, I seriously doubt if it would detect ANYTHING other than the Virgin connection router.

Post back and let me know how you get on.

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Disable Windows WZC service

by nepenthe0 In reply to Wireless browsing problem ...

1) Check your laptop power management. Is there a timeout for the wireless adapter? If so, configure your power management so that the wireless LAN is always enabled and powered.

2) Disable the Windows Wireless Zero Configuration (WZC) service:

Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Services > Wireless Zero Configuration .

The WZC service does you a disservice as it reconnects to signals of comparable strength:

"If you're near several hotspots and the connections are weak, your connection will stutter and jump; when one connection fades out, XP will automatically connect you to another one, and that one will stutter, and XP will jump to another connection, and so on. The upshot is that you're never connected to any one of them long enough to maintain a useful Internet connection."

"Stuttering is caused by the very thing that allows you to easily connect to hotspots, XP's Windows Zero Configuration (WZC) applet, which runs automatically on startup. When running, WZC looks for a new network connection every three minutes, and if, at the point it's looking for a connection, your current connection fades out, it will search for a new one, and then automatically connect to it. The result is stuttering, jumping, and general uselessness."

Preston Gralla, Windows XP Hacks (O'Reilly, 2005), Hack #71 (pp. 324-25)

3) Consider the Linksys USB wireless adapter:

The Linksys software is excellent and works seamlessly.

Rick/Portland, OR

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Erm ....disabling WZC period! will achieve nothing.

by OldER Mycroft In reply to Disable Windows WZC servi ...

Wireless Zero Configuration is required by default if you want XP to interface with the 802.xx protocol.

No WZC = NO WIRELESS, unless a third-party application is installed and takes its place.

'Stuttering' if you'll pardon my expression - has sod all to do with it.

I hate to tell you this Rick, but your much regaled Linksys does exactly the same as WZC, just under a different flag.


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No point trying WZC?

by healyjason In reply to Erm ....disabling WZC [i] ...

So there is not point in trying this WZC rememdy then im guessing?

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Good point, Old Mycroft

by nepenthe0 In reply to Disable Windows WZC servi ...

I assumed that healyjason had alternative wireless LAN drivers/software. Obviously one needs an adapter driver, but the WZC service has a decidedly unfavorable review by experts such as Preston Gralla.

That said, I stand by my Linksys wireless adapter, which has served me extremely well the past 18 months. Wherever my wife and I travel, I have not encountered stuttering so long as the signal strength is adequate.

Rick/Portland, OR

P.S. - My Sony notebook has an Intel wireless chip. One can use the proprietary Intel driver or the Windows driver. With WZC disabled, the chip works better under the Intel driver. But the USB Linksys adapter outperforms the Intel wireless chip...

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Your laptop signal problem is more likely to have been ...

by OldER Mycroft In reply to Good point, Old Mycroft

Badly designed or badly aligned (or both) wireless aerials within the laptop screen casing.

Without knowing the exact make/model I could not say more.

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by healyjason In reply to Your laptop signal proble ...

I am fairly sure it is not a hardware issue as I can use the same laptop at home without any issues at all

It is a Toshiba laptop. Satellite Pro

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Signal strength - Hardware issues

by healyjason In reply to Good point, Old Mycroft

I am fairly certain it is not a harware issue due to being able to use skype at the exact same time as not being able to browse. Signal strength is almost always shown as excellent

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