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Intermittent Wireless Connection and No Wireless Tab

Posted on 2004-03-26
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Last Modified: 2013-11-09
My desktop Host computer (P4 2.4 256k XP-Pro) is wired to a D-link DI-514 Wired/Wireless 802.11b router with the only client, the laptop,(Celeron 2.0 128k XP-Pro)  using a D-Link  DWL-650 wireless adapter.

We're using DirecWay satellite internet, correctly set  up and working properly.

There are two issues (probably connected) that I cannot resolve.

1. The network connection regularly, intermittently drops out completely,"wireless connection unavailable" then returns a few seconds to a few minutes later. From what I've heard, this is most likely caused by 802.11b authentication being used by the Client - but that brings  up Item #2 - I have no way to check it or disable it on the client, because:

2.  The "Wireless" tab in network Properties is missing. It positively does not exist anywhere in network connection, properties, Device Manager etc.
When clicking on "available wireless networks" there is nothing there,the entire window is grayed, can't click on "Advanced" or anything else.

I thought this might be caused by the D-Link Utility,but disabling that did nothing.

I have completely removed all wireless drivers, cleaned the registry and reinstalled (twice) with no improvement.

I read the entire "wireless tab missing" thread here and tried or confirmed everything suggested there. NOPE. I've run out of things to try,and people to ask! HELP!

We can think of nothing here that is interfering. Unplugging cordless phones made no difference. Dish Network receiver?  
Obviously, at times the network and internet connection work perfectly - but it's driving me nuts frequently not being able to send mail, timing out in the middle, accessing websites. About the only thing I have been able to do consistently is PRINT from the laptop to the Host's printers. yippee.:(

I'm down to contemplating the sledge hammer. I hope you have a better idea!

Barb
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Question by:preshie
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LVL 2

Assisted Solution

by:Jman8R
Jman8R earned 50 total points
ID: 10693523
Have you tried software such as "Network Stumbler". It will graphically show you signal strength and noise. This should give you a good idea as to whether or not the actualy wireless signal is the problem of whether it is a computer setting.

http://www.netstumbler.com/

If the signal strength is the problem, you could try an external aerial!

Also, is there a setting in the D-Link utility for 802.11b authentication? Hopefully that utility might provide some help!
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LVL 11

Assisted Solution

by:infotrader
infotrader earned 200 total points
ID: 10693655
As far as the signal loosing connectivity is concerned, unfortunately, is the natural of the 802.11X beast, and there isn't a whole lot you can do software-wise, to improve it.  I have played with the 802.11B settings for a long time, in the last 4 years, I've been playing with different portion of the wirelss settings, including preembles, channels, broadcast ID's, etc...  I am finally facing the fact that the hardware is the most important part, not the software.  I first used a no-name wireless AP from Fry's, and it did the job (sort-off), with their no-name PCMCIA wireless card with inconsistent results.  Finally, I started replacing the PCMCIA card with USB-Linksys, which gave me better reception.  I then replaced the AP to a Linksys, which was more stable, but the range is horrible.  I am now on my third Access point, a Belkin, which gives out the best reception of all.  I am even able to use a PCMCIA card and get decent reception now.

What's causing the reception problems?  Here's the tricky part:

1.  If you have electronic equipments ( spekaers, etc. ) that might decrease the quality of the signals a little bit.
2.  Walls is a huge No-No.... Despite what you hear from the manufacturers, have walls or anything in the path of the signal can decrease your reception 10 folds!!  There is one spot in my house, if someone stands on the right spot, I loose the signal completely.
3.  Wireless devices, such as your Telephone, is a huge No-No.  Although you may have one of those frequency-hopping phones, you just don't know where the frequency is hopping next.  Having a wireless device next to your AP or computer will give you inconsistent results.
4.  Neighbors -  If you have neighbors that uses wireless, you'd better hope that their channel is far enough from your channels to make a difference.  Supposedly you have 12 channels... but in reality, the range of the channels over-laps, so channel 1 and channel3, for example, are so close to each other that they might actually interfere with one-another.

My best advice is to change the placement of your wireless device to avoid the above problems.  Another thing is, you should consider replacing your AP if it is not giving you enough signal strength.  A signal booster might help you..    On the other hand, replacing your wireless adapter in your PC might resolve all the problems all-together because it might even resolve the software issue you have.

The point is, you might as well stop fiddling around with the encryption or authentication right now.  It'll only make things worse, not better.  Try to re-arrange your setup (physically) is the best advice I can give you.

- Info
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LVL 41

Assisted Solution

by:stevenlewis
stevenlewis earned 25 total points
ID: 10694519
ONe suggestion, shut off the wieless zero config service
start -->run and type services.msc
then reinstall the dlink software and see if that helps
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LVL 10

Assisted Solution

by:snerkel
snerkel earned 25 total points
ID: 10694621
If the main use of the wireless link is to access Internet then lower TX rate in router to 1-2MB this will increase the effective range of the router, and generally improve the link quality. Setting Short Preamble can also be worth while.

http://www.tech24.arce.co.uk/routers/help11b.htm
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Author Comment

by:preshie
ID: 10694746
CLARIFICATION: The signal variation problem is the same whether the laptop is in it's normal location,or sitting next to the router. Normal location for the laptop is near-line-of-site from the router - 1 hollow-core door between.In either case, the signal just bounces :
speed 11.0, signal strength very good
speed .1.0 signal strength good
speed 1.0 signal strength poor
wireless connection unavailable
speed 5.0 signal strength good
etc etc etc

Possibly of interest: When I started this project, I bought NetGear 802.11g equipment - but could NOT get it to work at all. The interesting thing is - I"m quite sure that I did have a "wireless tab" at that point.

Thanks for the link to Net Stumbler! I'll be doing that next.

The D-Link Utility does have an "802.11x authentication" box - grayed, showing "disabled".  My thought was that it may have picked up that info from the desktop computer/router where I was able to turn it off.

Nearest neighbor is over 700' away.

>>>I have not tried changing the channels - for fear of wrecking something.

Thanks for the link re: changing router TX rate - will check that out now also.

Zero Config been off since the beginning.

>>>I've been told <?> that other devices only interfere when they're "in use". Right? Wrong? Just plain stupid?
(not that removing what we have made any difference - nothing so far has made any difference). I've moved the router up down, over, around, put the laptop in a variety of places - same stuff,different day.

(Off the implement all of your suggestions - brb)

Barb

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Author Comment

by:preshie
ID: 10694748
one more thing - I CAN return/exchange any of the equipment, if that's a recommended way to go.

barb
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Accepted Solution

by:
eddkhamou earned 200 total points
ID: 10694820
Barb,

I have installed wireless networks in very large houses in the Chicago area for about 2 years now.  We started out installing D-link and Linksys boxes but they turned out to be fairly unreliable.  The only equipment that we recommend now are 2wire products (www.2wire.com).  I installed their newest model yesterday (1800SW) in an old Chicago 3 graystone (1920's), these houses could survive a tornado.  The router was placed on the second floor and I was able to pick up an excellent signal on the fourth floor with hardly any configuration.  Before you take a sledgehammer to it try the instructions below.

The problem with the wireless tab is that the Zero config service is turned off, start the service and the wireless tab will re-appear.  

1.  I would un-install everything to do with the wireless card
2.  Plug the card in and re-install the driver (download the latest from d-link)
3.  Install only the d-link driver and not the D-link Utility.  Let Windows control the wireless settings.
4.  Download the latest firmware for the router and install it from the wired computer.
5.  Set it up with out WEP, and turn off the 802.11 authentication from the tab in the card properties.

If your neighbors are 700' away then their wireless signal shouldn't be a problem.  
If I had to place a bet on the problem I would say it was a firmware problem on the router.

Hope this helps

Ed
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LVL 11

Expert Comment

by:infotrader
ID: 10694977
YES!!!  That's what I was talking about!!  My clients have returned about 5 D-Links so far, they are very unreliable.  The Linksys is better in reliability but very weak in the signal strength department.  

- Info
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Author Comment

by:preshie
ID: 10695067
OhMyGawd! This has been going on for many weeks (me with no time to mess with it), but one of the first things I was told to do (by the gurus for setting up DirecWay w/networking) was to turn OFF the Zero Config. NOBODY has ever said that was what took away the wireless tab? Now, when I take my laptop elsewhere, like to a public wireless thing <g>, do I need Zero Config to make it work?

Items 1-5 listed above were all performed yesterday, on a new router (#2 for D-Link). Haven't replaced the wireless card as yet - but I will!

<off to check out 2wire>

Barb
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LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:eddkhamou
ID: 10695989
Barb,

When you take your laptop to a public wireless hotspot the network will appear in the available wireless network box.

Ed
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