Fix my WiFi
June 13, 2007 12:33 PM   Subscribe

Suddenly, my laptop and wireless network aren't playing well together.

Over the past few days, my laptop has been having a great deal of trouble connecting to my home wireless network. While surfing a night or two ago, I noticed that pages had stopped loading. I checked the wireless connection icon in the status bar, which showed that I had gone from a connection to the Internet to a "Local Only" connection. However, I could still access the Internet from my desktop, which is plugged into my router with an Ethernet cable.

Today, when I woke up, my laptop was no longer connected to my wireless network. I chose to connect to the network, which gave me Internet access for only a minute before it reverted to "Limited Connectivity." I disconnected and reconnected again, but after several minutes of waiting and a message from Windows that it was taking longer than usual to connect, I couldn't get a connection. I cancelled the process and started again, which eventually gave me an Internet connection. But once again, it only lasted for about a minute before dumping me back to "Limited Connectivity."

I have a laptop running Windows Vista Home Premium with an Intel Pro/Wireless 3945ABG wireless adapter. The router is a Motorola WR850G. I have another laptop and a wirelessly connected desktop that both have no problems with connecting. Unless I'm forgetting something, the only changes that have happened since this problem started were the purchase of the other laptop and installation of the latest round of Windows Updates.

What's wrong? How can I get my wireless back?
posted by punishinglemur to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Do you have neighbors close by? Neighbors with a new wireless router using the same frequency as your router?

This happened to me once. Most routers seem to have channel 6 or 10 preset, make sure that you are two channels away from any other router that you can see.

Netstumbler is a nice tool, that shows you more wireless devices than windows does.

Maybe you are in the middle of nowhere, but if not have a look.
posted by mmkhd at 1:11 PM on June 13, 2007 [1 favorite]

Something to do with Windows Wireless Zero Configuration maybe?

I found this site a while back that explained what this service did and how you can override it and let 3rd party utilities connect to wireless networks. I use Network Magic at home and apart from a few nag messages after the trial period expires (you can continue using a version with fewer bells and whistles) it works pretty good.
posted by worker_bee at 1:16 PM on June 13, 2007 [1 favorite]

Did you try reinstalling your wireless drivers? Windows Update might have installed a bad version. You can get the Intel drivers directly from their downloads section. (You'll probably want item 2 or item 4. The latter installs the Intel PROSet/Wireless manager application as well, which you might consider using to manage your connection instead of the built-in Windows utility. At least on XP, I find it to be superior in several ways.
posted by roomwithaview at 1:23 PM on June 13, 2007

I'm having a similar problem on my Dell with the same card. WPA enterprise security but it has trouble getting an IP address after authentication. I've tried reinstalling the drivers etc... to no avail.

Watching this thread closely.
posted by puddpunk at 2:06 PM on June 13, 2007

I asked a similar question about my compaq XP home laptop. connection would go in and out, while my fiancee's was totally stable and fine. what solved it was to go to intel's site (not compaq's) and download the latest driver for the wireless adapter. nothing else worked. good luck. i remember how utterly frustrating that was.
posted by nomad73 at 2:36 PM on June 13, 2007

Also, a neighbor with a new cordless phone could mess it up as well. Try changing the channel.
posted by Four Flavors at 4:23 PM on June 13, 2007

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