Wireless - Can't Connect despite Strong "Connection"

Discussion in 'Wireless Networking' started by Guest, Jun 14, 2006.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    I have one of those difficult-to-diagnose problems: sometimes my wireless
    works & sometimes it doesn't and I can't figure out what has changed when it

    I use my laptop with wireless connection to my router that connects me to
    the internet. Every once in a while, I lose the connection - even though
    when I "View available wireless networks" my network is visible at the top of
    the list w/ a strong signal - showing that it's supposed to connect
    "automatically". The manual "connect" button has never worked to reconnect,
    nor has the "repair" option. The only thing to do is unplug the router, wait
    a second and plug it back in.

    My kids have a desktop PC that has always had a tenuous connection to the
    internet (works under one user profile, not another or sometimes doesn't work
    at all). It's further from the router, but shows a very strong connection -
    but once it loses the connection, forget it: it will not get it back and
    even unplugging the router doesn't work. I've tried to figure out if there's
    a problem using the laptop & desktop --but sometimes they can both be on and
    sometimes they can't (the desktop is more inconsistent than the laptop).
    Both PCs have WinXP Pro.

    Ideas? I lost the internet connection to the desktop this a.m. (about 14
    hours ago) and no amount of restoring, uninstalling s/w, repair, manual
    connect, unplug, etc has brought it back - but the "connection" couldn't be
    any stronger! Why can it "see" the network and not grab it?


    a laptop and a desktop that both have wireless cards - and one
    Guest, Jun 14, 2006
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  2. There can be a lot of answers to that one but the first thing I would do is
    assume the wi-fi NIC is possibly faulty and try another. If it doesn't
    connect then the next thing I would do would be to look at software on the
    computer that uses internet. Eg, is a firewall stuffing things up? Do you
    use Netstumbler and allow it to auto reconfigure? That sort of thing.

    Another possibility is the way the NIC is set up. Eg, allowing it to power
    down when not in use is a problem. Yet another is interference. Eg, is there
    anything nearby that could possible interfere with it, such as another wi-fi
    connection or possibly some smart arse who is attempting to get into your
    network? Could the interference simply be in the walls? Is the NIC getting
    reflection from its own signal back into it confusing things?

    There are a few things to try. You might also check for spyware that may be
    causing it, too.
    Diamontina Cocktail, Jun 14, 2006
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  3. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Questions: If the NIC was faulty, would it still be able to identify the
    "Available Wireless Networks" and show the strength of the (potential)

    I don't think it ever "powers down" - there's no on/off - it's an internal
    card (on the desktop).

    Firewall: I've tried completely disabling the windows firewall: no effect.
    I completely uninstalled McAfee - since the last thing I did before losing
    the connection altogether had been to install McAfee (online - w/Comcast) and
    run virus-scan. It was connected until completing the job - somehow lost the
    connection and I haven't been able to re-establish it since.

    Interference: if something was interfering, why would it show such a strong
    (potential) connection?
    Guest, Jun 14, 2006
  4. Jack \(MVP-Networking\)., Jun 14, 2006
  5. Guest

    Lem Guest

    WiFi NICs (many? most? all?) have a "power save" option. In Device
    Manager, expand the "Network Adapters" entry by clicking on the + and
    then double-click on the wireless NIC. If there is a "power management"
    tab, make sure the box next to "allow the computer to turn off this
    device to save power" is UNchecked. OK your way out.

    As for interference, the "strong connection" indication you see may in
    fact be from a source other than your router. Try changing the router
    setup to use channel 1 or channel 11.
    Lem, Jun 14, 2006
  6. Yep. A wi-fi NIC is a transceiver. That means it sends and receives.
    There is in the driver details if you look under control panel, system and
    go to the properties for the nic.
    Then that indicates that regardless of you uninstalling it, that probably
    didnt properly happen. I have seen Nortons say it was gone but the firewall
    wasnt and still stuffing things up. Try retoring to before you even put
    Mcafee in.
    I get a lot of interference but a strong reception. You have to understand
    that wi-fi NICS are basically "radios". If you have a metal surface near it
    or an electrical source near it etc etc, it CAN get standing wave reflection
    even at the frequency wi-fi operates at. Eventually you will blow the wi-fi
    NIC if left untreated. I cant remember if you said what sort of NIC you use
    or not but for example, I can move my NIC out of the way of a lot of my
    interference here because it is a USB connected one with a lead to the USB
    port from the upright NIC. I can get about 3 feet in any direction. So, if
    you can do that, too, placement can mean a lot.
    Diamontina Cocktail, Jun 15, 2006
  7. Guest

    Guest Guest

    You got some good suggestions. I put in a "wireless" network in Jan of this
    year, and took me a few weeks before things were stable, and one of the
    problems was exactly what you have, strong signal strength (excellent), but
    no internet surfing.

    Before you go crazy and read up enough to take a "licensing" exam, check out
    a few things first:

    - When I got strong signal, I noticed the "data transfer rate" going down
    from 54mps to 48mps, then down, down to 11mps, then get a message its
    disconnected, and the reconnected. I go to Network Connections, click on
    "status of network connection", and sometimes, there's no "packets sent" or

    - What I do first is take the machine with the problem, set it up next to
    the router, and connect direct with a cable. In my case, all the machines
    worked OK and I was 90% or more sure its a problem with the router
    configuatation, TCP/IP setups with within the machines etc.

    - I then disconnected the cable and have the PC tested for wireless
    connectivity by placing it less than 2 feet away from the router. This test
    would eliminate issues of obstructions etc.

    - I also called my ISP, and the first problem was the choice of the router.
    AOL told me the Belkin was not certified to work with the AOL service, but
    there is a list of them that does. Changed over to a Linkysy and the setup
    was a snap.

    - Then I called Linksys, when I had the exact same problem as you, and they
    told me they want me to setup the router from scratch with them first, so hit
    the reset button, and reconfige it from scratch:

    -- Set up and broadcast SSID, enable DHCP, DNS
    -- Do not turn on enccryption, firewalls, MAC filters etc.

    I was surprised all the problems I had went away, and when it recurred 2
    weeks later, hit the reset button, and the problem was solved again. I have
    since read somewhere that problems within the router, flushing data in its
    cache could be the cause. I haven't checked further since my system was
    stable since February.

    - I also checked into issues of movng the router to the center of the house,
    getting larger attennae for the router, and connecting an antennae to the Lan
    card on a desktop. The later step I did, and improved reception quite a bit,
    and I bought one for $8.95 off e-bay. The other desktop has a portable
    receiver plugged into a USB port, and I found one day the receiver knocked
    over and fallen to the ground still connected when "dat transfer rate"
    dropped. It went went back up to 54mps when I picked it up off the gorund.

    I read many comments on people like you asking why the "signal is strong",
    but the internet is not connected.

    Transferrring data is like giving a messenger a package to deliver across
    town. You check the traffic report, and its reports "no congestion" (good
    signal strength). Yet the package is not delivered because the destination
    address is wrong or cannot be deciphered. AOL told me that my problem had to
    do with the router knowing where to send data, to which PC, and the protocol
    they used is not applicable to all routers.

    One other regret.

    I spent weeks, perhaps six to ten full days of work or more, getting the
    wireless network up. And because I have a spool of bulk ethernet cable
    already, and if I went out and got a bunch of RJ14 jacks (eight of them), I
    could've wired up the place in ONE day running cables from the study to the
    living room/dining room area when the other 3 PC's are, with the help of a
    freind for about $100.00. And I would have 100mps going through the 100/10
    ethernet ports with 100% security shutting off the wireless.

    The only benefit to the current settup is I can surf the WEB from a laptop
    anywhere, and I can move the PC's (unlikely), and move to another house (not
    likely any time soon) and set up the network in a snap.

    Thinking about tt, when I finally get the one day to spare, I'm going to run
    the cables and have the network "wired" also.
    Guest, Jun 15, 2006
  8. Guest

    Guest Guest

    this sounds just like a problem i was having with a clients modem. when i
    checked the power supply, we found that it had been changed and was not
    supplying enough power. you might want to check this.
    Guest, Jun 16, 2006
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