Please save me from calling tech support & crying over the phone.
January 3, 2015 11:56 AM   Subscribe

Installed new modem, everything was fine, worked for a few days. Now as far as I can tell the modem and router are working just fine for everything ELSE, but I've been trying to get the laptop on wirelessly for three days now and NO GO.

My old modem apparently finally crapped out on Christmas Eve. Installed new ATT 200 modem on my own and it works just fine, every single green light is on, all wireless/Internet stuff worked just fine Christmas Day. I then went out of town for a week, came home and fired up the laptop. Again, everything was fine, but a few hours later the wireless WILL. NOT. WORK. on the laptop. Seriously, I've been trying to fix this for three days on my own and am about to lose my shit. I really, really, really don't want to have to call India and be told what to do over the phone and have no idea what they are talking about- I'm terrible at comprehending things over the phone and finding whatever it is they want me to click on. I have been trying to figure this out online and am just out of ideas as to what to do. I am dumber than a box of hair and don't even understand what 90% of this is even talking about.

* As far as I can tell, the modem is completely fine. All green lights, even/especially the wireless light almost all of the time.
* I am able to get online wirelessly with all phones/iDevices that I've tried to log in with, it's only the laptop that won't go. Laptop is currently getting Internet access because I've got the cable plugged in directly, but any time I replug the cord back into the router, it can't find the wireless network for crap.
* At this point I'm pretty convinced it must be some kind of router issue. I've unplugged and replugged it about six times by now and YES, I'VE PUSHED THE RESET BUTTON plenty of times. No go. I have a Cisco Linksys WRT120N that's old but has been working just fine for years and years. As far as I can tell, it's on and working just fine for everything else.
* Am running Windows 7.
* I have been able to log into the page just fine, it says the wireless for my laptop alone is inactive. Gateway Status is up and the connection is on. Authentication type WPA-PSK (TKIP)/WPA2-PSK (AES).
* On Control Panel/Network and Internet/Network Connections, it says the local area connection ATT 200 is working, but the wireless network connection is either "Not Connected" or "Attempting to authenticate, shared" status. I can't enable it for shit. No troubleshooting attempts have worked at any point in time. IPv4 and IPv6 are not connected. Media State is attempting to authenticate.
* On the 192.etc. page, it says that the wireless interface is default: enabled. Wi-fi protected setup is status: idle, default: Disabled. I've tried pushing the button (again, no response) and entering the WPS pin and password (which I ended up changing). It reloads the page and says "Configuration successful," and changes the Wi-Fi protected setup to "status: in progress," and then claims it's enabled, but the default is still disabled and I still can't get online wirelessly.

I don't know what else to do. I've been trying to work off of this page and I am too dumb to understand what the hell else to do any more. I read some comments about trying to update the firmware, but I'm not even sure if I could do it if I tried. Pinging works just fine. I tried to reinstall the router and the software is all "You already have a router working" and I can't exactly hook up a second router or replace the first one either. Argh. Is there any way to fix this?
posted by jenfullmoon to Computers & Internet (13 answers total)
I don't think this is it based on the information you gave from the Network panel, but just in case, does your laptop wireless card have a hardware on/off switch that you might have bumped?
posted by dorque at 12:33 PM on January 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

What type of laptop do you have? Does it have an external physical wifi button? I used to have a Dell Latitude for my job, and I accidentally hit the wifi switch all the time.
posted by neushoorn at 12:35 PM on January 3, 2015 [3 favorites]

I have done the exact same thing as neushoorn and my first thought was also an external button.

If this is not the case, then the first thing I would do is take your laptop to a coffee shop or someone else's house and see if you can log onto their wireless, thus ruling out the laptop wifi adapter as the problem.
posted by desjardins at 12:53 PM on January 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

It sounds like you've unplugged the modem, but have you tried unplugging your wireless router as well? If not, I'd try unplugging the modem, the wifi router, and shutting down the laptop for good measure. Wait thirty seconds or so, then plug the modem back in until all the lights come up, plug the wireless router in until all the lights come up, and boot the laptop.

Also, I sometimes have had issues with the stored connection getting corrupted in Windows. Go to the "Network and Sharing Center" and into "Manage Wireless Networks." Identify the stored information for your home network, delete it, and then try to connect again.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 1:11 PM on January 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

It might not even be a physical switch - it might be a button on the top row of the keyboard. Do any of them have a wi-fi looking icon on them? Can you tell us the model number of the laptop, or better yet, a picture of the keyboard?
posted by Hatashran at 2:01 PM on January 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

Also look at what the DHCP timeout (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) is on the router. If it is about the same as the death time on the laptop, for some reason the laptop is not renewing it's network address with the router. Since phones behave, I would suspect the laptop. I would suggest disabling the ethernet port (so it does not confuse the networking), and then go through and delete every remembered access point. There might be another "prefered" network on the list that is is jumping to, or a static address.
posted by nickggully at 2:34 PM on January 3, 2015

If other devices will pick up and use the wireless network with no problem, but your laptop will not, it sounds like a laptop issue rather than a modem/router issue. N'thing checking that pesky wireless button (which has gotten to me more times than I can count) as well as any other wireless-related settings on your computer.

Another thing to try and diagnose would be to take your laptop to a coffee shop or library...if it won't connect there either, you know it's the laptop.
posted by rainbowbrite at 2:57 PM on January 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

Are you sure the phone is actually working with your wifi, or is it possibly working through your cellular connection? My MIL was visiting recently and thought she was using our wifi, but hadn't been added to our MAC addresses yet.

Is there a registration process you have to complete with ATT for the new modem?
posted by coldhotel at 3:53 PM on January 3, 2015

As far as I can tell, the modem is completely fine. All green lights, even/especially the wireless light almost all of the time.
I have a Cisco Linksys WRT120N that's old but has been working just fine for years and years.

Wait, wait, wait. These two things do not add up. Are you trying to connect to the wireless router you've had for ages, which is connected to the modem... or are you trying to connect directly to a modem that includes a wireless router? You can't do both at the same time.
posted by Sequence at 6:39 PM on January 3, 2015

I suspect the laptop, as well. When you look in the lower-right corner of your screen, do you see the stepped signal bars that indicate that your wireless card is active? And if you double-click on that signal-bar icon, do you see your wireless network listed?

On the laptops that I've seen, one of the function keys will typically toggle the wireless card. See, for example, this page about Dell laptops. On some laptops, you have to hold down another key (such as a key labeled "Fn" in blue letters) when you hit the function key.
posted by alex1965 at 6:46 PM on January 3, 2015

One possibility that immediately comes to mind is that maybe your new router is broadcasting at the newer 5 GHz frequency, and your laptop might only support the (older) 2.4 GHz standard.
posted by neckro23 at 8:34 PM on January 3, 2015

I was about to post the same thing as Neckro23. Is your laptop significantly older than the phones and other devices which are able to connect?
posted by dvrmmr at 10:31 AM on January 4, 2015

Response by poster: Well, the only thing that ended up resolving the problem was getting my Internet service upgraded. Go figure, the wireless came on right away once I got the new install in. So yeah, it probably was the frequency, since the laptop is older than everything else (except the router).
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:20 PM on February 24, 2015

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