Intermittent wireless connectivity problem with Vista
September 12, 2008 9:54 AM   Subscribe

Wondering if anyone has ideas about an intermittent connectivity problem. I've searched around but haven't found anything that quite fits my issue. I have a Dell XPS Vista desktop. Most of the time, I get a perfectly fine connection, but maybe 15% of the time I can't connect.

I'll still show a reasonable signal (though do to the location of the desktop, the signal isn't the best, ranging two to three bars according to Vista), but I'll get the error message 'Windows cannot connect for an unknown reason'.

Eventually I'll get connection again, but not, as far as I can tell, because of anything I've done. And it might be a few hours later. As you can imagine, frustrating!

Repairing the network connection doesn't help, nor does turning on and off the modem and router. I've updated all drivers for the wireless card.

I know this problem is specific to this computer, as I don't have the same issue with a macbook or an XP laptop in the same physical location.

Here are a few techspecs...
I have Comcast internet, a Netgear WG311T wireless adapter, and a Linksys WRT54GL wireless router. I also have a Logitech Bluetooth Mouse and Keyboard which I thought might be causing interference, but unplugging them didn't resolve the issue.
posted by slipperynirvana to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I had an XPS M1330 laptop, running Vista that had the same problem. After I upgraded to Vista SP1, the connectivity drops went away. I highly recommend that you upgrade, if you haven't already.
posted by longdaysjourney at 10:14 AM on September 12, 2008

Response by poster: I've done the upgrade already, so that wouldn't seem to be the problem...
posted by slipperynirvana at 10:22 AM on September 12, 2008

I'm also running Vista, and I have a problem with the connection dropping. Thought upgrading to SP1 would help, but it didn't do anything. My desktop running XP doesn't have a problem on the same connection. I haven't found a solution; usually I end up having to restart. Not much of a fix, but I figured you'd like to know you're not the only one.

As an aside, I did find that for whatever reason, whenever my roommate used his cell phone (Blackberry) the connection instantly dropped. It's been MUCH better since moving out, but still does it from time to time. Are you near someone talking on a Blackberry when this happens?
posted by sephira at 10:35 AM on September 12, 2008

Another possible answer, as remote as it seems, is to make sure that your laptop power supply is giving your laptop a clean power signal. My laptop power supply died and I replaced it with one of those universal power adapters. It charges the laptop but the signal is so dirty that it messes the wifi up. A good power supply at my work results in no wifi problems.
posted by lockle at 11:03 AM on September 12, 2008

I'm also running Vista SP1 on a laptop (a Toshiba). I sometimes got that *grrr* frustrating "cannot connect for unknown reason" message, with signal strengths of 2 and 3 bars. I tried different wifi adapters and solved the problem with a USB adapter from Alfa, model AWUS036H. You plug its cable into your laptop's USB port, then you can move the adapter itself around to find the maximum signal. It transmits with higher power and receives with extra sensitivity than other adapters, and that helps a lot with signals like this. (Example: My laptop's built-in wifi adapter shows 2 bars, the Alfa shows 4 or 5 bars, for my current access point.)
posted by exphysicist345 at 7:04 PM on September 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

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