sounds a bit odd to me. You sure you're looking at a wifi networking card?
I recently bought a Dell XPS 8700 desktop (Windows 10). Within a week, I found it was not seeing any WiFi signals - neither my router nor any others in the building (I work from home in a seven-story apartment building). My old laptop was able to connect to the internet via the WiFi, so I knew it had to be the 8700. I updated the drivers, etc. all to no avail. I had opened the case to check that the network card was seated properly and that there were no loose wires. It was in firmly and I noticed the wires leading from the card up into the roof of the chassis. I understand that these are the "antenna" for the WiFi signal. While moving things around my office to accommodate the new computer and a larger monitor, I had set a pen caddy on the back top of the tower and had an external drive hooked up to the USB port on top, where there is an indented "tray" for devices. It occurred to me that one or other other might have been interfering with the antenna on top of the case. I removed them both and my internet returned.
After about another week or so, I noticed that the WiFi signal was dropping out again. Pages would take long to load and sometimes no WiFi routers were showing up in my list. The problem has gotten worse recently. It will lose connectivity completely for hours or until a reboot. Sometimes the signal is weak and pages take a long time to load. Sometimes it sees a dozen routers, sometimes just mine and a neighbor's. Sometimes none at all. There doesn't seem to be any pattern. Since I use the internet for my work, not having a reasonably reliable access has been a huge problem and I am back to working on my old laptop for some tasks.
At first I thought it was our service provider (Optimum), but while the 8700 is down, the laptop has signal. Further, I would not see my router, but should still see the others around me. I tried changing router channels, resetting the modem, etc. Working with a tech from Optimum yesterday, they ran various tests and we confirmed that the modem and router are working, even when the 8700 is not seeing anything. The internet does freeze up momentarily on the laptop from time to time, but I suspect it is more to do with the age of the laptop than the WiFi signal. Regardless, I am now 99% certain the fault lies within the 8700.
The only test I have not been able to perform has been to plug the tower directly into the modem. The modem and router are in the living room and the tower is in the home office. I don't have an Ethernet cable that's long enough and it isn't practical for me to bring the computer and monitor to the other room. Since the laptop sitting next to it in the office works, I am assuming it is not a problem with it being in another room.
I have seen posts on other sites that appear to indicate a faulty network card is a common problem with Dell XPS products.
So...a couple of questions for the folks here:
- Is there a way of testing if it is indeed the card aside from plugging direct into the modem? (If I have to buy a long cable, I will, though obviously I don't want to if I don't have to.)
- How would I open the top of the XPS 8700 case? I'd like to take a look at the other end of those antenna wires just to make sure there isn't anything problematic with them (a short, loose connection, etc.). Do they attach to anything or are the wires themselves the antenna? The side panel comes off easy and I was able to pry the face off, but that top seems to be on there secure. I don't want to break it!
- Assuming it is a faulty card, are there any tutorials available on how to replace it? I can see it inside and it looks like it's just a matter of two screws. Do I need to also replace the antenna? Or can I reconnect the existing wires to a new card (they look like 'snap' connectors)? If the antenna needs replacing too, I will need to know how to open the top to access it.
- Assuming it is a faulty card, are there any recommendations for a good parts source?
- Is there anything else that might be causing this problem?
Thanks for reading all this and if any further information is needed, please let me know.