Wireless computers can't see wired LAN Workgroup shares.
December 18, 2008 5:54 AM   Subscribe

My laptop using wireless connection can not access the rest of my wired network workgroup. I suspect a router issue.

I have a D-Link WBR-2310 wireless router that connects with wires to a few other computers. I also have a laptop running off the wireless side of the router. I can not see the network Workgroup from the laptop however the laptop can ping all other computers as well as all other computer are able to ping the laptop. So it's not really a connection issue as everyone can see everyone. When I say I can not see the workgroup computers, I mean that when I click view workgroup computers on the laptop, the only thing there is the laptop. What is missing is the rest of the shared folders on our wired lan.

Why am I able to ping everything just fine and yet not see them in my workgroup computers?

The laptop does have internet connection via that router. I'm writing this post with it.

I've read elsewhere that some routers have a setting to not allow wireless traffic into the wired side of the router, but I do not believe my router has that feature.

There is not a firewall running anywhere. I've double check the workgroup name for all computers and it is the same everywhere.

I'll add that is problem happend once before. I futzed around with it for a while and without really knowing what fixed it, it just got fixed.

This setup works 90% of the time. Then sometimes, like now, it stops and I don't know why. Now the problem is back with this laptop and is driving me towards my first cocktail...it's not even 8am.

Thanks for the help and suggestions.

posted by Jackie_Treehorn to Computers & Internet (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Perhaps the router is serving IP addresses from a different subnet for the wireless connections, compared to the wired connections? Run ipconfig from the command prompt and compare 2 machines.
posted by TDIpod at 6:26 AM on December 18, 2008

Just checked and the two machines have the same subnet in ipconifg. Thanks, but that wasn't it.
posted by Jackie_Treehorn at 6:33 AM on December 18, 2008

OK, another common issue is whether 'Simple File sharing' is turned on for some machines. This is the last checkbox in the 'View' tab of the Folder Options control panel. Turn it off.

You could also take the computer out of the workgroup, then put it back in. That's helped sometimes too.
posted by TDIpod at 6:51 AM on December 18, 2008

Network neighborhood works because these machines are all broadcasting to the subnet. It may be the case that these broadcasts are not going through. It could be a firewall setting, could be a lousy wireless connection, etc. Youre using netbios to resolve the computer names and youre probably not getting netbios traffic.

If you can ping them then you can talk to them via TCP. If you want to access a share from a computer, just use its IP. In the run box type \\ (or whatever IP). You'll probably be able to see the shares then.

I'd also look for a firmware update for the wireless router and a driver update for the wireless card on the laptop. Perhaps these are bugs that have been resolved.
posted by damn dirty ape at 6:54 AM on December 18, 2008

Double check that computers are in the same workgroup. And/or remove and add yourself to the workgroup.

Instead of browsing the network, try to access the computers directly. In the address bar, type \\ipAddress or \\hostname (ie \\
Then, you can map network drives to automatically connect on startup too.
posted by jmd82 at 6:56 AM on December 18, 2008

Youre using netbios to resolve the computer names and youre probably not getting netbios traffic.

Since 2000, DNS is the default name resolution protocol, not netBIOS. Not that it changes things.
posted by jmd82 at 7:05 AM on December 18, 2008

Is the laptop running Vista?
For my wife's new Vista laptop, I had to go into the network-card settings and enable NetBIOS over TCPIP, and then everything worked.
posted by jozxyqk at 7:10 AM on December 18, 2008

Since 2000, DNS is the default name resolution protocol, not netBIOS. Not that it changes things.

Thats true of active directory based domains but in workgroups or NT4 domains there's no central DNS server doing WINS/Netbios name resolution. I dont believe your ISP is going to let you dynamically update records. His XP and Vista clients are doing netbios over TCP/IP. This is a broadcast based system with no central server. One client makes itself the master browser for a whie. It may also be the case that he cant talk to the master browser for whatever reason or the netbios over tcp/ip stuff is misconfigured.
posted by damn dirty ape at 7:17 AM on December 18, 2008

Sorry that I didn't mention what OS the systems are running. The laptop is running XP Pro. I am (right now in fact) installing SP3 in hopes of an unexpected cure.

Other computers in our workgroup are either XP Pro SP 2 and 3, 1 windows 2k box and 1 windows 2000 server nas box.

I'll keep reporting back as I try other suggestions in order to bring this thread to a solution. I just HATE it when people start threads with problems only to end it saying "it's fixed everyone. thanks!" without telling everyone what FIXED IT!

Signing out for now...

Jackie Treehorn
posted by Jackie_Treehorn at 7:23 AM on December 18, 2008


Solution for my problem was to exit and then rejoin the workgroup.

I change from WORKGROUP to WORKGROUP2 then restarted the machine. Then I changed back to WORKGROUP then restarted the machine.

That procedure restored all my shares and I am once again able to use my wireless laptop with the rest of my wired workgroup.

Thank you all.

Now that it's fixed, I'd like to better understand the problem. Why would the laptop "forget" it's workgroup settings?

Thanks again,

posted by Jackie_Treehorn at 10:05 AM on December 18, 2008

Well I guess You can forget about that last post of mine.

After a subsequent restart of the machine, it doesn't work. So I tried to repeat the steps that worked just an hour ago and I could not get it to connect to our workgroup again.

I just hate intermittent problems like this. I will continue to troubleshoot.


posted by Jackie_Treehorn at 11:04 AM on December 18, 2008

Ok well there is a workaround that was mentioned above that works good for me.

It is typing in the address bar \\server

This brings up all the shares on server computer.

Still nothing is listed in the 'view workgroup compters' window, which still bugs me, but I can not access all of the computers in my workgroup by typing \\(insert ip address or computer name here).

Still would love to know WTF is wrong and why nothing shows up in the view workgroup computers area, but for now I am fixed.

Thanks again,

posted by Jackie_Treehorn at 11:56 AM on December 18, 2008

Try updating the driver on the wireless card. If that doesnt fix it, see if there's a firmware update for your router.
posted by damn dirty ape at 1:38 PM on December 18, 2008

it can take up to half an hour for network neighbourhood to sync up using broadcast netbios resolution. Your wireless router may also not properly be sending out broadcast packets between the wireless and wired side. Broadcast traffic is an unreliable way to run a network, especially one with a transient connection.

Best bet - a DNS and/or WINS server on your wired lan, and add the entries for it to your DHCP server (probably on your router). Or just map network drives on the laptop to the ip shares of the fileservers.
posted by ArkhanJG at 2:10 PM on December 18, 2008

The firmware on the router is up to date.

Ok so check out these tests and results... I was focusing only on one of our wireless devices in our network, but it turns out that there were more problems. We actually have 3 wireless devices. 2 notebooks and 1 wireless printer.

From a wired desktop computer I performed the following tests:
1. Launched Advanced IP Scanner and scanned our network. It did not find the two laptops, but it did find the wireless printer.

I launched a cmd line and tried to ping the two notebooks from my desktop. I was not able to ping them.

I then went to notebook number 1 and opened a cmd line and tried to ping my desktop. I was able to ping my desktop with success and as a result, the desktop was then able to ping that laptop. Then I tried to ping notebook number 2 and this time the ping was successful.

I think I can safely say that it is some issue with the wireless router, but I'm not 100% certain. Again the firmware is up to date with it. I still have not tried to update the wireless drivers on the notebooks yet, but I can.

Thoughts on these tests and results?

Thank you.
posted by Jackie_Treehorn at 7:40 AM on December 19, 2008

Im guessing that your connection to the router isnt so hot and youre not receiving those broadcast packets. Considering you have four wireless devices, you may have interference issues, especially if your neighbors use the same channel. If the driver update doesnt help then try switching the channel on your router. There are three non-overlapping channels in wifi 1,6, and 11. If youre on 6 then try 11.
posted by damn dirty ape at 11:17 PM on December 19, 2008


I tried the latest suggestion by changing channels. It works for now, but the reason it works might be because changing the channels restarted the router. I'll report back in a day or two if the problems return.

Jackie Treehorn
posted by Jackie_Treehorn at 7:11 AM on December 23, 2008


Changing channels was not the problem. After the holiday weekend, I tried pinging the two wireless laptops in our network with no response. I still could however get a response from our wireless printer. Why would that be?

Anyway, after a router reboot I could ping everything again.

So that tells me that the router is losing it's wireless connection with the two wireless XP laptops after some period of time.

Does that suggest to you that the problem is with the router or with the laptops? Seems strange if BOTH the laptops have the same problem all of a sudden, so I still vote for the problem being with the router.

Please help.

Thanks. Jackie
posted by Jackie_Treehorn at 5:15 AM on December 29, 2008

Im guessing a new router is the way to go. Get one from a store with a generous return policy just in case.

The only other thing I can think of is that there's a firewall rule or setting that segments the wired and wireless lan, but that isnt a common default feature.
posted by damn dirty ape at 6:31 AM on December 29, 2008

Finally ended up placing a Linksys WAP54G back into service in our network. I had one just lying around unused. I disabled the wireless side of the router and am only using the WAP54G now with complete success. Whatever the problem is, it lies squarely on the shoulders of the D-Link Router.

Thanks to all for offering help!
posted by Jackie_Treehorn at 6:43 AM on January 8, 2009

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