Wireless Internet Stops and Starts After SP2 Installation
March 11, 2008 10:03 AM   Subscribe

My internet is stopping and starting and it's driving me nuts. I'm running Windows XP on a slightly older (3 or 4 years) machine. We have a wireless router in the house running Roadrunner cable service. My device is an Edimax EW-7128g wireless antenna I got through NewEgg awhile back. Works like a charm. Read on for a description of the problem...

Up until recently I hadn't really felt the need to update XP. The system worked, I had other virus and firewall protection. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, as they say. But then the last month or two I couldn't get an external drive to appear via the USB ports, so I decided to finally get SP2 to see if that fixed the problem. Immediately after doing all of the latest XP updates, my internet imploded.

Now, I get about 15-30 seconds of internet access as usual, followed by 30 seconds of no internet at all. I updated the wireless drivers and any other drivers I could see that seemed connected to internet devices, all to no avail. I'd really like to get my internet back, without reformatting and starting all over again if possible. Thanks for any help you can provide, my MetaBrothers and MetaSisters.
posted by ktoad to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
First, locate the problem. On XP, ping -t, where your router is, and watch the output for a while. You can leave it running. If you're getting significant packet loss or response time, the problem is with your local network. Try your laptop (if it is a desktop you should probably just use a wired connection anyway) on another wireless network. Similar problems? It is either your wireless card or a software issue. Try re-installing your wireless drivers. Problem persists? Probably hardware. Try a different computer on your network and see. If your laptop is fine on another network, but you get ping problems, it is probably something in your router configuration. If you don't have any problems between you and the router, either your ISP has screwed up ot your router/modem isn't managing your internet connection properly.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 10:25 AM on March 11, 2008

Besides updating Windows and wireless drivers, what other troubleshooting steps have you taken ?

Do you have multiple computers?.. if so, is yours the only one experiencing this problem ?

Can you isolate it to a wireless problem? (by disabling the wireless adapter, and using a wire for an hour or two, just to make sure wired works ?)

What kind of motherboard do you have ?.... have you updated the chipset drivers for your motherboard ? (Besides the CPU, the 2 main chipsets on motherboards manage and control I/O between all the various sub-systems. Updating the chipset drivers should help all the various sub-systems work together better)

If it was me.. I would Google to see if other Edimax EW-7128g users have seen the same problem - OR - Google your motherboard and see if any others using the same motherboard have seen the same problem.
posted by jmnugent at 10:27 AM on March 11, 2008

Response by poster: We do have multiple computers in the house and it's only mine that's having trouble. As I said, it started precisely when I added SP2 to the WinXP mix. So I'm assuming it's something Windows is now doing that it didn't do before. Some firewall thing they added with Service Pack 2? Sadly, I'm completely lost with most computer stuff, so I don't know anything about my mother board.
posted by ktoad at 10:54 AM on March 11, 2008

I think the best thing you can do is disable (or remove) the wireless adapter, and test on a wired connection. If you get good stable reliable network connection on the wired connector, then that would point almost totally to some problem with the Edimax drivers.

If your wired connection also drops every 30seconds, then I would suspect some Windows software problem. Have you checked Event Viewer to see if there are any Event Logs entries that might point to the problem ?... (right-click on My Computer, goto "Manage", double-click on "Event Viewer" and check the "System" log)

Just two days ago, I worked on 2 very similar situations:

1.) a motherboard that used a Nvidia Nforce chipset that has a known bug where the on-board network card just randomly dies. The only way to "reset' it is to completely shutdown the computer and remove power

2.) a laptop with an older wireless chipset. Whenever it detected one of the newer Wireless-N routers, the laptop "bluescreens" and locks up. Move it away from a Wireless-N router, and it (the laptops wireless) works perfectly.

So while I understand your logic of suspecting SP2... dont focus on it so much that you arent open minded enough to consider other possibilities.
posted by jmnugent at 11:07 AM on March 11, 2008

Now, I get about 15-30 seconds of internet access as usual, followed by 30 seconds of no internet at all.

Ive seen this happen on USB wireless cards but not on PCI ones. Are you using the Windows wireless manager or the one that came with the card?
posted by damn dirty ape at 11:33 AM on March 11, 2008

Some firewall thing they added with Service Pack 2?

"If you're running Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2), Windows Firewall is turned on by default." Your gut is pushing you in the right direction. eliminate this as a possible cause and then move on to hardware or other config.
posted by tdischino at 11:50 AM on March 11, 2008

Response by poster: jmnugent--> I'll try it wired tonight!

damn dirty ape-->

Are you using the Windows wireless manager or the one that came with the card?

My Wireless Network Connection Properties says it's connecting using the card. Is that what you mean? Sorry for my basic skill level here.
posted by ktoad at 11:57 AM on March 11, 2008

My brother's PC suddenly had a problem where IE would go to 5 or 10 web sites and stop: exit IE, restart, same thing. It's my sister-in-laws PC, a Dell on Sp2. She has a service contract and insisted I call Dell, because neither she nor my brother are technically inclined (always do exactly what your s-i-s tells you to do if you want peace and harmony).

So I had this session with a gentleman in India which was very professional and straight forward. Surprised me because I had a negative attitude about Dell and outsourcing.

EOS, after the usual trouble-shooting, re-install the OS because IE is integral to the OS. I already knew this so away we go. Easy on a Dell because the install OS is compressed in a partition. Dell could offer no further info, but didn't really deny that it was a known XP issue.

Afterwards, I installed Firefox.

Oddly, i ran into this 3 more times in a few months. One my own
PC. Installed Firefox on all 3. Bought an iMac with OS X.

Gonna install Ubuntu on my Windows box but I'm told I need a special tool. So as soon as I get a get a "roundtoit"......
posted by lemuel at 1:46 PM on March 11, 2008

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