Internet Interruptus
November 9, 2012 5:18 PM   Subscribe

I can connect with my WiFi but not get on the internet. How can I figure out what is going wrong?

So, when my DSL got washed away with the flood, I tried to connect my Windows 7 desktop computer wirelessly to an alternate internet connection (Verizon MiFi). I had done this successfully in the past (or so I seem to remember) but now I can't seem to make it work. It tells me I have a good signal, but that I'm not on the internet. I have been trying to figure out what this means and how to fix it.

First of all, the MiFi works fine (I'm using it right now with a laptop to post this.) In addition, the USB WiFi adapter works fine (I've used it on this same laptop and got an internet connection.)

I've determined that "can't connect to the internet" means that DHCP has not assigned an IP address. I figured this out by configuring the machine to have a static IP within range and the WiFi managing software then believed I was now on the internet. I wasn't.

Googling suggested I might have a virus (I suppose it's possible but Security Essentials doesn't report one) or that I should "reset my winsock" by the command "netsh winsock reset" (didn't help).

Now I'm out of ideas. I'm hoping you have some.
posted by Obscure Reference to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Call Mifi and have them "reset" your connection. If it persists its probably the Mifi hardware so get them to send you a new one (they'll probably offer to).

I have no explanations but this is the only thing that has worked for me twice now.
posted by fshgrl at 5:25 PM on November 9, 2012

Even though it's only 1 computer having the problem with others connecting fine?
posted by Obscure Reference at 5:30 PM on November 9, 2012

posted by fshgrl at 6:15 PM on November 9, 2012

Okay, this is a hopefully a quick fix, but won't address the underlying cause.

I'm going to assume the working computer is also a Windows machine.
On the working computer:
Open up a command prompt (Start button, type cmd, press return)
Type "ipconfig /all" (without the quotes) and press enter
Look for the wireless connection details and write down the ipaddress and gateway address, more the likely the gateway will be but manufacturers pick different ranges. If you can't see in the list look for or similar.

Then on your non-working computer:
Click Start, type ncpa.cpl, press enter.
Right click the Wireless connection, click properties, then double click the Internet Protocol Version 4 text to bring up the details-- it sounds like you've already been here.

Type the gateway from earlier ( most likely) into the gateway address area, set the subnet mask to and set the ip address to be the same as the gateway (but change the last number, so if the gateway is, pick something like

Turn the bottom DNS to manual and put and in the two boxes (Googles DNS servers). Then click Ok, Close, etc as needed to get out of there.

Now if you launch another command prompt, you should be able to say hello to the Mifi by pinging it by typing "ping" (without quotes, replace the numbers with your gateway address) and you'll hopefully get four nice quick responses

Then try pinging to say hello to Google's servers, if you get a response, congratulations, you can now ask Google how to make the perfect cookie.
posted by Static Vagabond at 7:21 PM on November 9, 2012

In regards to viruses, has the scanner ever picked one up? The scanners typically don't fix networking settings.

DHCP not working on one specific adaptor?
I agree with the suggestion to blame the router .
Can you get a DHCP lease from anything else?
Since its just the internal adaptor it might be worthwhile to try uninstalling the driver for the wireless card, and reboot. You would do this from Device manager, but if you've never stumbled upon it, be careful.
posted by Docteh at 7:57 PM on November 9, 2012

WHen you can wirelessly connect to a network but can't get anywhere once on it, it's usually a gateway or routing problem. I'd give Static Vagabond's troubleshooting tips a go.
posted by starscream at 10:49 PM on November 9, 2012

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