Why won't my wireless connection allow me to reach the internet?
October 2, 2006 2:31 PM   Subscribe

My laptop gets an IP address from the Lynksys wireless router, but I cannot connect to the internet. (My other laptop works fine.) What can I do to correct this?

The problem is similar to this question but I am not running Linux. I am running Windows XP Pro. I cannot ping anything as far as I can tell. When I try to ping the default gateway I get "Request timed out" messages. When I plug it in wired to the router, I am good to go. I am obviously not an expert, but I have tried some basic things such as trying to mimic every setting I can find on my working laptop. Oh, the machine is an IBM Thinkpad X31. I am trying to use the internal wireless card that came with.

When I do an "ipconfig /all" I get (excuse my retyping):

Host Name......................:WNYCJGUNN
Primarary DNS suffix:.......: [Blank]
Node Type......................: Hybrid
IP Routing Enabled:.........: No
WINS Proxy Enabled........: No

Also, there is no Connection specific DNS suffix, DHCP and Autoconfiguration Enabled are Yes, I have an IP address, a subnet mask, default gateway, DHCP server (same as default gateway and 3 DNS servers.

As I said, I am far from an expert, but I am willing to try to follow directions and tinker with it until it either works or I light it on fire and toss it out the window to see the pretty explosion. Any suggestions?
posted by JohnnyGunn to Computers & Internet (19 answers total)
I am also far from an expert - but I had a similar problem with my linksys wireless router.

One day I was talking to Linksys about said problem - the rep told me there was an issue with XP and the wireless encryption key.

If I used my personalized 'passkey' for the wireless encryption, I couldn't get connected (although it said I was). The solution was to put in the machine generated passkey (the one that is automatically created when you type in a passkey). Worked like a charm - only problem is it's such a funky number that I can never remember that I've had to write it down for retrieval whenever I want to give out the passkey to my network.

Hope that helps...
posted by matty at 2:43 PM on October 2, 2006

Try an "ipconfig /renew". This will retrieve new networking settings from the DHCP server.

Oh, and the first thing I usually do is reset the router and the computer, in that order. Sometimes the hardware routers just crash, and need a good kick.
posted by zabuni at 2:56 PM on October 2, 2006

If those things don't work, run both computers next to one another, log into both of them as administrator, open up the network configuration popups for them both, and change everything on the nonworking one so that it's the same as the working one.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 3:27 PM on October 2, 2006

Additional info: I do not think it is the router, as this was happening at two other locations. I would get an IP address, DNS settings, the works and nothing , nada.

I have already attempted to mimic (see my original q), but I will try your suggestion SCDB.
zabuni, I had tried that and tried it again just now. I am still SOL.
matty, I am going to try typing in the long string and seeing where that gets me.

Thanks all so far. More suggestions are welcome
posted by JohnnyGunn at 4:09 PM on October 2, 2006

I will assume Laptop A is the working laptop and Laptop B is the non-working laptop.

Is the IP address that you have on Laptop B in the same subnet as the one on Laptop A? Most likely, this address is 192.168.1.xxx on both of them (but xxx should be different between A & B).

Can you ping on both of them?

Do you have multiple adapters listed on Laptop B? Can you disable the wired Ethernet adapter (right click on the adapter and click disable).

What are the results of:
>ipconfig /all
>route print

Is Windows Firewall enabled on Laptop B? How about ZoneAlarm or other Firewalls?
posted by stovenator at 4:47 PM on October 2, 2006

Ummm.. I meant to ask what you see under the wireless Adapter, when you do an
>ipconfig /all

Or do you not see the wireless adapter there?
posted by stovenator at 4:54 PM on October 2, 2006

My Linksys wireless router (BEFW11S4) occasionally will not allow me access to the internet, especially after logging on to a different wireless network elsewhere. No configuration settings have been changed, everything is the same, the wired connections work fine, and the wireless SHOULD work. Nevertheless, it happens once every month or two, either to my laptop or a friends.

Simply powering down the router and turning it back on after 30 seconds restores wireless access.
posted by Roger Dodger at 5:11 PM on October 2, 2006

It would help if we could actually see the results of your ipconfig /all output. To faciliate this, pipe the output of the command to a text file, open the resulting file in Notepad, copy it to the clipboard, and paste it here.

At a command window prompt, type: ipconfig /all > C:\100206ip.txt

In Windows Explorer find the file 100206ip.txt at the root of your C:\ drive, and open it in Notepad. Do Edit -> Select All

Then, Edit -> Copy, or Ctrl + C

Then, switch back to this comment thread, and in the text box, at a cursor, type Ctrl + V to Paste your command output. Hit Post.

Delete the 100206ip.txt file in Windows Explorer.

Also, what version of Linksys router are you running, what version of the hardware (sticker on the bottom or back of unit), what firmware version, and what wireless card are you running?
posted by paulsc at 7:07 PM on October 2, 2006

You could also post results of a tracert command to any of the DNS servers you see listed in the ipconfig /all output. At a command prompt type: tracert [IP address of any of the DNS servers you saw] > 100206tr.txt

And then find that text file and post its content, as per procedure above.

If you have an Ethernet cable, you could also try plugging in your laptop via hardwired Ethernet connection to your Linksys router, and see if you can make an over the wire connection to it. You'd need to be able to do this anyway, to do firmware upgrades on the router.
posted by paulsc at 7:17 PM on October 2, 2006

A tertiary item that may be causing this symptom would be your INternet provider not allowing multiple computer addreses. Set up your router to clone the MAC address.
posted by ptm at 7:17 PM on October 2, 2006


ipconfig /all yields the results typed above plus,

Ethernet adapter Wireless Network Connection:

Connection-specific DNS suffix... [blank]
Description...............................: 11b/g Wireless LAN mini PCI adapter
Physical address......................: 00-0E-9B-BC-30-C3
Dhcp enabled...........................: Yes
Autoconfiguration Enabled.......: Yes
IP Address...............................:
Subnet mask...........................:
Default Gateway......................:
DHCP server.............................:
DNS servers.............................:

This is the exact same as the one that is working but for the IP of the working one is

I have no firewalls on; no zonealarm; nothing. It works perfectly when wired to the router.

I cannot ping on the non-working one (laptop B) I can on the other.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:19 PM on October 2, 2006

I am not sure the router is relevant because I have this problem at other locations too. I can get an IP address at any location, cannot get more than that though. Never get to the internet wirelessly.

I appreciate the tip on how to print the ipconfig /all output; however, I saw it after I had typed it in. That will come in handy at a later date I am sure. I wasted 4 minutes trying to find a way to highlight the thing and copy or hit printscreen. Ugh.

As for my internet provider not allowing more than one computer address, I have 3 other machines on this router.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:24 PM on October 2, 2006

The only difference is that the "Node type" on the working machine says, "Broadcast" where on the non-working one is says, "hybrid"
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:37 PM on October 2, 2006

The "Node Type" only refers to NetBios announcements, and has nothing to do with TCP/IP.

Do you have other adapters? Is there a wired adapter builtin? Can you disable that?

What output do you get when you type:

>route print
posted by stovenator at 8:29 PM on October 2, 2006

JohnnyGunn, your posted ipconfig /all output for is normal. But if you cannot ping, you have one of a couple of conditions:

1) Something in your Windows net stack that is not linking up to provide connectivity from your application layer down to your packet layer. Ping is a low level utility, but it, like tracert, is still an application. So, you could have a bad route table cached, or some corruption of your network stack, or something. You are, apparently, getting a valid IP address from your DHCP server, but your DHCP client could somehow be locking your TCP/IP stack.

2) Something in your router is killing your connection, even though the router is assigning your machine an address. You could have some security settings in the router set to disallow wireless input from all but recognized MAC addresses, etc. Somebody might have hacked your router, and set up only his machines MAC address as a valid wireless address, etc. as a prank. You get a DHCP assignment, but as soon as your machine reports its MAC address, your router ignores it. Simple to check and correct from a working wired connection, in your router's setup pages. Also check to be sure you are running the latest firmware for your router, while you're there.

In either case, the simplest next step is to try to make a wired connection to your laptop's wired Ethernet port, duplicating the working wired connection to your desktop machine. If that works, you know that at least your wired Ethernet connection is workable, and you rule out many Windows issues. If that doesn't work, either, then you have to start looking into your Windows networking setup, to figure out what's keeping the machine from talking.

Since you say you can't get the laptop to work with other wireless routers, either, you may be tempted to short circuit this step, but don't. Your wired Ethernet port (assuming you have one) is working off entirely different chips, drivers, and logical ports than your wireless connection, and it's worth working through the problem, step by step. So, hook up a wired connection, and let us know what you got.

And if it doesn't work either, do the route print command, as stovenator says, and let us know what that looks like.
posted by paulsc at 10:38 PM on October 2, 2006

Stovenator and Paulsc,

Thanks for the help. I will post the results later today. (Gotta work a little bit). I very much appreciate your help.

I am considering buying a usb wireless adapter. Maybe it is just the damn internal adapter that sucks. I can connect from a wired connection. No problem there. I have tried to configure the connection using windows as well as the IBM utility that came with the machine. No dice. The Linsys is an old router using .b technology and I have never upgraded the software on it, but my other two laptops work fine with it.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 5:48 AM on October 3, 2006

I am too frustrated to do any thing else without trying a UBS wifi adapter and I am calling the knuckleheads at IBM (In china now?).
posted by JohnnyGunn at 2:46 PM on October 3, 2006

I fixed it. Thank you all and especially paulsc and stovenator.

I went and bought a new wireless USB connector, but before I installed it, I looked at every piece of software installed on the machine. While I had no firewall working, I did have an old cisco VPN client installed on the machine. I have not used this laptop for its previous work purpose for 6+ months. I remembered it would connect to the vpn. I unistalled the VPN and all of its components and BAM it worked.

posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:36 PM on October 3, 2006

Checking back in, good to know you found your problem.
posted by paulsc at 1:57 AM on October 4, 2006

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