Cannot connect to wifi without resetting the modem
September 7, 2019 2:22 PM   Subscribe

I am not computer savvy. My daughter has a Dell laptop running Windows 10. She can never seem to connect to wifi on demand. Every other device in the house can. If we reset the modem, that will solve the problem until the next time the computer is shut down or in sleep mode. This is driving all of us crazy. Any suggestions? (And explain them to me like I'm 5 years old).
posted by turtlefu to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
What model Dell laptop?
posted by dgeiser13 at 4:27 PM on September 7, 2019

Response by poster: I copied this from the invoice from when I purchased it: Dell Latitude E6530 15.6" - Grade A - Intel Core i5-3230M 2.60GHz, 8GB Ram, Intel HD Graphics 4000, Windows 10 Professional
posted by turtlefu at 4:45 PM on September 7, 2019

This is just an incredibly blind guess, but is Xfinity your internet provider?

If so, Xfinity has a service called Xfinity "Wifi On Demand." (a phrase you used.) Essentially, your modem is divided into two separate networks. One is your home network and the other is a network that's available to other Xfinity users if they happen to be roaming in your neighborhood. (The same is true for you, if you're roaming elsewhere in the city/country)

The problem is the default wireless network name for the home network is "XFINITY" and the default network name for the guest network is "XFINITY WiFi", which can lead to obvious confusion since you can connect to the guest one while you're at home.

I don't know this to be true (I'm neither an Xfinity customer or even a Windows user) but perhaps there are more restrictions on the guest network, so when your daughter's laptop goes to sleep, it thinks you're just another passerby that's wandered down the road and kicks you off the network. The laptop wakes up, it has no internet, and it freaks out a little.

Again, this is all a guess, but you could make sure she's connecting to the right network. Directions here.

Another good practice is to make sure Windows is fully updated in case there have been some crucial updates, although someone else will have to give specifics since I'm on a Mac right now.
posted by bluecore at 5:22 PM on September 7, 2019

Two possibilities come to mind. It could be a problem with her network card. You can get a cheap USB WiFi adapter from Amazon, Best Buy, or probably even Target and see if that solves the problem.

The more technical option. Something else on the network might be configured with the same IP Address (the IP address is a set of numbers used to identify your computer. It looks like or some other series of numbers with the same format). When the laptop goes to sleep the other device could be taking over. Try this:

Check if the laptop is set to get an IP address automatically, of if its been set to use a specific one. In most cases, you want it to get one automatically. Here are some good instructions for getting to those settings: Make sure its set to "Obtain an IP address automatically".

Try telling the laptop to reset its IP address manually:
1. Open a command prompt

2. Type IPConfig and hit enter. A lot of information will be displayed. Note the line that says "IPv4 Address". This is the IP address the laptop is using. If it says or disconnected, thats an error indicating its not getting a good value to the router.

3. Type IPConfig /releasse and hit enter. This will tell it to reset and let go of that IP Address.

4. Type IPConfig /renew and press enter. This will tell the laptop to request a new address from the router.

5. Type IP Config again and see if the address changed.

6. Try to get on the internet.

If you've been fighting with another device, this might get you a new address and help prevent the problem.
posted by nalyd at 7:36 PM on September 7, 2019 [3 favorites]

Try Step 3 of this article.
posted by Anonymous at 4:35 AM on September 8, 2019

My guess is that the laptop is powering off the Wireless Adapter after X amount of time. Follow Step 3 in the article that schroedinger linked to. I'd be interested in knowing if that resolves the issue.
posted by dgeiser13 at 4:23 PM on September 9, 2019

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