Computer Help forum


Why is rebooting the only way to restore my connectivity?

by minnie13mouse13 / January 16, 2013 4:25 AM PST

I have an Acer "netbook" (Aspire One D260), and I connect to the Internet via wireless router and cable ISP. The longer I'm online, the more likely I am to have my connection dropped (like almost every day). I have tried repeatedly every solution I could think of including rebooting the router, calling the cable company, Windows 7 troubleshooting process, clicking "disconnect" then "connect" multiple times -- nothing works. Rebooting the machine works EVERY TIME. Where does this indicate the problem lies? Is this typical? It's the first computer I've ever had this problem with. I don't know if it's significant, but I've had a computer technician point out to me that this machine runs with much lower than usually available physical memory.

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All Answers

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Small world.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 16, 2013 4:39 AM PST

I ran into this on some routers. The poor owner was insisting it was not the router so we left them to stew (get more tender and open to suggestions.)

The fact it worked fine at other locations didn't dissuade them it was not their laptop.

I read your post TWICE and can't find the details about the router, settings to offer anything more.

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Can you provide more information?

Is the router Wireless G or Wireless N?

Is the computer's modem Wireless G or Wireless N?

Do you have any other computers on the internet?

Is someone else sharing your connection?

Did you ever go to system, hardware settings and then click on the device? Does it have a question mark next to it?

Have you tried use a wireless USB adapter?

How far away is the modem from the router? What is the signal strength when it is on?

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Attempt at More Details...
by minnie13mouse13 / January 17, 2013 9:51 AM PST

I'm not really the computer savvy person, so I'll try to answer your questions.

The router says on it that it's a Netgear Advanced Cable Modem Gateway CDG24G. I don't know how to tell if the rounter and/or computer are "Wireless N" or "Wireless G."

Yes, there is one other computer on the network; it is an older desktop: Sony Vaio running Windows XP. It doesn't have the connectivity issues that the cheesy little laptop has. It is WIRED to the router.

Nobody else is sharing my connection (not that I know of, anyway).

I don't know about "system, hardware settings," but I went to "Control Panel\System and Security\Device Manager" and I didn't see the router (if that is what I'm looking for) on the list. By what route, exactly, would I find the device listing to which you refer? I know I've seen the listing on other operating systems before, where there are question marks and exclamation points on the various devices, but I'm not finding that list on this one.

The only thing I have in the USB plug-in slots is a mouse and sometimes a flash drive. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't know a wireless USB adapter if it bit me.

The only modems I could ever recognize were the old dial-up ones. I'm looking around the room, and I don't see any modems that I recognize. The router is attached to the cable box for the TV (and the power source and the other computer). I use my laptop about 10 feet away from the router. I did find the answer to the signal strength: it always says five bars, "excellent." That is, until it completely drops the connection, at which point it gets no bars and a big red X over the icon.

I want to find these answers to pass on to you since they seem to be important, but you will have to tell me where to look because I just don't know. While I'm thinking about it, I want to mention that the laptop (wireless) and the desktop (wired) are not configured to network with each other. My life is complicated enough.

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USB Wireless Adapter
by ChuckJTS-23427222252684036696820606199520 / January 17, 2013 12:59 PM PST

USB Wireless Adapters are great. It is basically a wireless modem that you would have on your PC and it allows you to connect to your router wirelessly but you have to attach it to your USB port. I've heard people say it isn't as fast as having a wireless modem on a card but it will get you through if your computer is working correctly.

I used a wireless adapter by D-Link at the shore because my old laptop only had Wireless B which is slower than G and doesn't have the range of N. I've found that 150 Mbps are fast enough for me but you might be able to find faster..

You might want to check to see if they are backwards compatible because some products are Wireless N only and won't drop down to Wireless G speeds or Wireless B speeds. So the product better say "G" and or "B" as well as "N" or you can just get "G". I like "N" because of the range and if your house has a "G" router, you won't go any faster than your router.

I asked a tech at work and he said that Netgear was popular. I went to the store, bought one for $50 on sale and it couldn't communicate with the router which is 10 feet away so I ended up going with a Linksys card for our PC. I only called Linksys once about the WEP key because I had a hard time making out the numbers and he told me that what legal numbers WEP keys are. I'm trying to remember but I think they are A through F plus the numbers in case you can't read them.

I've had a couple of Actiontec modems that were supplied by my ISP. They worked for a while, we got bumped offline a bit. I called my ISP. They flashed the firmware and told me to get a new modem. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't work. I don't know why it doesn't always work. Sometimes you have to have backup hardware like this because sometimes your primary hardware breaks so if you work from home and have to get your work done, it is important to have backups..

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Device Manager.
by ChuckJTS-23427222252684036696820606199520 / January 17, 2013 1:08 PM PST

You need to go through the device manager on your system to see if a device is working properly or not. You basically have to search for it on the list by name under its category. Sometimes at the hardware level, something happens. I had it happen with my flash drive where technical support told me to goto the device manager and I was able to turn it back on somehow. I would try clicking on it or right clicking on it in device manager.

One of the other things you can do is right click on the modem icon in the taskbar and hit "repair". I've found that to work. I've disabled them by accident or when I didn't want to use wireless or I didn't want wireless to be on. If you were to disable it, you would learn what it takes to enable it. Use google as your friend. I just play with these things until I fix them and I just don't remember because I haven't played with them for a while.

The only other thing I can think of is that if you have any security on your computer, it can block hacking attempts but I don't think it is the case on yours because you said you have low memory or something.

One of the problems with laptops is that they oveheat. They have surface mount parts which desktops have also but laptops get banged around and they are subject to electric static discharges from normal traveling. Our battery for it started to not hold a charge. We had one for ten years and some of the components just started giving out and then one day the hard drive just gave out. We just felt it would cost more to replace the components and would probably be cheaper to buy a new one.

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Did you check your router? You might have to log into it...

Do you know the username and password for your router? Your ISP should be able to give it to you. I wrote mine down after I changed it. ISPs use a default password and might know it. Most of them are ADMIN and password for default passwords unless you've changed them or unless the ISP has changed them.

You basically have to connect to the router by using your web browser, typing it and then you have to go through the settings to see if you are connected. If your wireless is down, you could try using the appropriate ethernet cable to connect your laptop to your router. Most routers come with the cable so you can use that one or you can pickup one from the computer store or buy one off of the internet.

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More Evidence...
by minnie13mouse13 / January 20, 2013 3:02 PM PST

As I said before, I'm no computer whiz, but it seems to me that the fact that ALL the wireless connections in the neighborhood become "unavailable" at the same time as the cable one I use says that it's NOT the service or the various devices that relay the service, but my laptop alone that's screwing up. If I could, I would upload screenshots of the two conditions: the list of available connections when it's working (usually about 15), and the "No connections are available" that appears instead when my machine decides to do whatever it does to stop letting the wireless services in. The cable technician has come and swapped out my box and the router several times - it changes nothing.

I don't think tinkering with routers, cable boxes, and other computers in the room are going to make any difference. Might I suggest it's something like a network card (?) in the machine being defective in some way? Or process overloading? Also as I have said, I've done whatever troubleshooting processes Microsoft Windows 7 offers, and it always comes out that "everything is working fine; all the components are working properly." Well, no they're not.

Is it possible to shove some sort of adapter into my laptop and make it be hard-wired to the router temporarily just to see if that would force a connection -that USB thingy you were talking about?

If you're sick of this subject, someone at least give me a clue as to what the component name is in the laptop that is supposed to be making this lame machine talk to the Internet. Thanks.

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You can plug an ethernet wire that came with your router bet
by ChuckJTS-23427222252684036696820606199520 / January 21, 2013 4:41 AM PST
In reply to: More Evidence...

You can plug an ethernet wire that came with your router between the router and the laptop.
You would have to set up an internet connection with the wire if you haven't already done so.

It wouldn't hurt you to have an extra modem that plugs into the USB port like a USB adapter. Then you might be able to narrow things down.

Have you checked your machine for spyware?
It could be a lot of things like something got disabled.

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I agree:
by pyrrhus55 / January 21, 2013 8:43 AM PST

With ChuckJTS: I would try a SuperAntiSpyware download on cnet downloads section.By the way, just to check, the wireless router is in a open non-enclosed area right? It's not running hot in any way??

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Is My Router Wearing Boxers or Briefs?
by minnie13mouse13 / January 21, 2013 9:32 AM PST
In reply to: I agree:

My router is sitting on the floor right next to the dog's food dish. I'm sure she would let me know if the router were in any kind of heat distress; she's very protective that way.

Also, I run CCleaner and Malwarebytes Anti-malware regularly. I can't afford to buy any of the products on the market.

I do see a hole on the side of the laptop that looks like you can shove a router or modem connector in it. I'll see if my sister has one I can borrow just for experimentation purposes. Thanks.

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