Networking & Wireless forum

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Wireless suddenly can't find connections

by Ochdar / June 29, 2009 11:46 AM PDT

I don't know a whole lot about networking or wireless, and I assume I have what is a very basic setup - modem to router to laptop (Vista). I've never really had problems except for the occasional blip here and there.

But the other day, I was using the laptop, and all of a sudden the internet stopped working. It wouldn't show any connections at all. Sometimes when I refreshed a list, a network would show up (not mine), but I could never connect to it. I refresh again, and it can't find any networks. And yes, the wireless was turned on.

My girlfriend also has a laptop, but there are no problems with hers, so I assume it's not the modem or router causing the problem.

Anyway, it was really frustrating me, and I could figure out what was going on. I finally solved the problem accidentally - by standing up. When I stood up, it almost instantly reconnected to my network and all was fine.

Today though, the same thing happened. No networks, other than the occasional one that can't be connected to. Girlfriend's works just fine. I've tried unplugging and restarting the computer, modem, and router, which didn't help.

Does anyone have any ideas? What could be wrong? And why does it stop working so suddenly? Nothing has been changed... it just stops.

Thank you for any help you might have.

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by philbernie / June 29, 2009 1:51 PM PDT

Wireless router's signal are succeptible to radio interference from devices such as microwaves, wireless phones, cell phones and anything else that sends out radio wave signals. Magnets too close to the router can also affect it, as well as walls and possibly big fat mosquitoes.

The fact that you changed position which dramatically affected the signal shows that there is possibly some interference. Temporarily turn off all those devices, change position and tell those aliens outside your window to scram:) Make sure too that the configuration on your utility page is the same as your girlfriend's laptop.

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by Ochdar / June 29, 2009 10:24 PM PDT
In reply to: Interference

Thanks for replying. I tried this... there's nothing else running, and I'm a few feet directly in front of the router. Still nothing. It's like it's not "catching" anything from the router.

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try this
by philbernie / June 29, 2009 11:07 PM PDT
In reply to: Thanks

1. Establish communication from your laptop to router. A number of ways to do this. One simple way is to open a browser and on the address bar, type or for the router's configuration page. If you are able to get the page, then you can communicate to the router.

2. Establish commo from router to laptop. Once you have the router's config page up, go find the reboot page for the router and reboot the router. It will take a few seconds. Then find the status page and see if your wireless laptop is connected to it. Your laptop should show up with its mac address. If you don't know the mac address, turn off the laptop, reboot the router again and check the status to see if the device is not showing. If the router's config page seems complicated, it really isn't. Take your time and you'll figure it out.

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Tried this
by Ochdar / June 30, 2009 6:48 AM PDT
In reply to: try this

I tried doing this.

Neither of the address work, as far as I can tell... It just gives me the usual "Internet Explorer cannot display the webpage" screen. When I tried the same thing on my girlfriend's laptop, did nothing, and asked me for a username and password.

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Substitute the wifi adapter
by philbernie / June 30, 2009 2:00 PM PDT
In reply to: Tried this

You're laptop can't communicate to your router. Communication is intermittent. You should be able to bring up the router's config page with just as your girlfriend's laptop is able to do. The culprit maybe Vista, wireless adapter, driver, tcpip or firewall and sometimes anti-virus program. Do you have access to a removable wifi adapter? If so, plug that in and use the appropriate driver. Make sure you turn off Firewall and anti-virus.

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Config Page
by Ochdar / June 30, 2009 4:03 PM PDT

When I go to on both computers I get asked for a username and password. So I haven't been able to see that page on either computer.

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it is connecting to the router
by philbernie / July 1, 2009 1:00 AM PDT
In reply to: Config Page

If you type and it ask you for the username and the password, that means both computers are able to talk to the wireless router. What is the brand of your wireless router? You probably just have the default username and password. Find your model here and see if you can use the username and password they provide...

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Weak radio signal...
by philbernie / July 1, 2009 3:16 AM PDT
In reply to: Config Page

Since you said that sometimes you see your wireless router sometimes you don't, I suspect that the radio signal is not consistent. Since the fault is not on the router's side (your girlfriend's laptop has consistent connection), the problem then is either the wireless adapter, the adapter driver on your laptop or the set up in your config page.

Let's see if the problem is on the config page. For radio communication to be successful, the two devices (transmitter and receiver) have to be in range, same SSID, channel and security setup. The fact that you lose signal intermittenly could be a problem with wrong channel. Most wireless router is set on "auto" channel, but on your config page for you wireless adapter, try setting it to a different channel. Monitor to see which channel gives you the best signal. Tell me what happens.

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by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 29, 2009 10:40 PM PDT
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Could be Vista
by Ochdar / June 29, 2009 10:51 PM PDT
In reply to: Vista?

Thanks. It very well could just be Vista, because my girlfriend's laptop is XP. I'll try that when I get home from work!

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Still not working
by Ochdar / June 30, 2009 6:40 AM PDT
In reply to: Vista?

I tried the fix, but it didn't change anything. Any other ideas?

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Just 2
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 30, 2009 6:50 AM PDT
In reply to: Still not working

1. The wifi card is not turned on. This varies with each model so look for yours and practice turning it off and back on.

2. System restore to when it worked.

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Re: Just 2
by Ochdar / June 30, 2009 7:18 AM PDT
In reply to: Just 2

Card is turned on.

I tried a System Restore, but it doesn't work. It says it can't complete successfully.

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Don't forget
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 30, 2009 8:20 AM PDT
In reply to: Re: Just 2

To turn it off and then on. I found that fixed a few.

-> About that restore. Got Norton? Did you follow their instructions on how to enable restores?

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Working for now
by Ochdar / June 30, 2009 8:49 AM PDT

It's back working again... no idea how. It happened just as suddenly as when it quit working a couple days ago.

After it started working again, I closed the laptop to go eat. When I opened it again, it took about 5 minutes or so to reconnect, which it doesn't usually do, so I'm assuming my connection is still pretty tenuous.

Any reasons as to why this would happen? Why would it just stop and start working at random times?

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Yes. The forum has seen that happen.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 30, 2009 10:56 AM PDT
In reply to: Working for now

Usually on Wifi networks with less than WPA security. A "kiddie tool" can swat your connection down. Easy to fix! Use WPA.

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by Ochdar / June 30, 2009 11:09 AM PDT

Sounds good! One small question: How would I go about doing that. I've been wanting to, but I literally have no idea where to start. I've tried searching for help, but I've just gotten a bunch of technical stuff I don't understand.

Is it just as easy as setting up a password?

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Try a new post.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 30, 2009 11:28 AM PDT
In reply to: Thanks!

Just ask How do I set my wifi to WPA?

Then tell the make, model, version of your router. Hopefully someone will point out the page of the manual, a link and any caveats.

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wifi connection
by fjrego220 / July 6, 2009 2:33 AM PDT

not sure if it will work for you but i had the same issue with my Vaio laptop and this has worked for me so far lfservice/

turn off power option

in device manager find network adapters right click go to properties
click on power managment uncheck

allow computer to turn off this device

this seems to be working for me have not had any issues

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Wireless hep
by Thebeast1995 / July 31, 2009 10:55 AM PDT

Try resetting the router for 10 seconds or the modem. If you have to reset the modem then you'll have to reset it for a certain time according to manufacturer. Usually one minute will do.If neither work reset the router for 30 seconds. This restores it to factory defaults.

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