Connectivity 101: keep losing my internet connection on dell win xp laptop

I'd like to be referred to a website that explains what the heck I'm doing with my internet connection so that I can post the question more intelligently ;-}

My internet connection lasts for about 10 seconds, then is lost.  I can reconnect for  a few seconds if I pop out my Lynksys network pc card, model number wpc11, and then put it back in.  

I'm connected via an airport base station.  Was working fine for months until this am.  If I connect directly from the cable modem to my computer, I don't get any internet connectivity, which also is a new problem.

Pointing over the computer icons on the right lower corner:   one icon displays: "Local area connection 2 wireless, speed  11Mbps, signal strength excellent".  the second icon displays:  "Local area connection: a network cable is unplugged".

where do i begin?
thanks
joe h
seattle
flipsterjoeAsked:
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Worked4meConnect With a Mentor Commented:

Hey Joe,

  This site will help you out if you want networking explained.
http://compnetworking.about.com/cs/wirelessproducts/a/howtobuildwlan_2.htm

I know you mentioned Linksys but the firmware on the router may need to be updated.
D-link has updated their router firmware to address connectivity problems.  So ask
the person to check the routers firmware and check on this site to see if there is an
updated version for that router.

http://www.linksys.com/download/
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HippyWarlockCommented:
Extract from some mailing list that I lost after copying... sorry

Fixes for Apple Modem Disconnect Issue: Some of Apple's computers, if not all by now, use a software internal modem which has a severe disconnect issue with the Apple Internal 56K Modem (v.90) script at least since Mac OS X 10.2.4, if not earlier. The issue is that the modem unexpectedly hangs up almost immediately after making what appears to be a solid connection.

One workaround is to select the Apple Internal 56K Modem (v.34) script instead of the v.90 script. Doing this reduces the maximum connection speed to 33.6K but that is of no concern in many places where only a 24-33.6K connection can be made anyway--many motel rooms.

 another solution that retains the 56K (actually 53K) potential connection speed. found this solution on a forum/list somewhere last year. First note that there are two Modem Scripts folders, one in in the root Library folder and another in the System->Library folder. The latter only has the three Apple Internal 56K Modem scripts for v.34, v.90 and v.92. The former has many modem scripts, including the very same three Apple Internal 56K Modem scripts for v.34, v.90 and v.92. The solution is:
1. Make another folder at the drive's root level (we named it "ExtraModemScripts"),

2. Move the three scripts from the Library->Modem Scripts folder (not the System->Library->Mdeom Scripts folder) to the new folder,

3. Reboot,

4. Reselect the Apple Internal 56K Modem (v.90) script in the System Preferences Networking preference panel under the Modem tab and click the "Apply" button. If the (v.90) is already selected, then select another, click "Apply", reselect it and hit "Apply".

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HippyWarlockCommented:
Had you installed a network recently?

PS site URL:
http://www.mac-forums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1343
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HippyWarlockCommented:
Here's a little tool (fnarr) to monitor your connection:
http://www.versiontracker.com/dyn/moreinfo/macos/9168
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flipsterjoeAuthor Commented:
thanks for the thoughts.
I'm using windows xp on  a dell laptop, with a broadband cable modem.
any websites that can teach me the basics of what I'm doing?
I've pushed in the linksys card further, and that may have fixed the problem.  I'm holding my breath.  It's strange that when i plugged the cable modem directly into the computer and bypassed the base station, i couldn't get online.
cheers
joe
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HippyWarlockCommented:
To be honest I sorta wandered into this section, It's not overly my area of expertise (none of them are).

Can you specify a bit more what it is you're after learning, and I'll do my best to point you somewhere.
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Worked4meCommented:

Hey Joe,

  Connecting from the cable modem to your laptop may not work because some ISP's
the first computer that connects to the service through the cable modem the MAC address
is recorded.  The way around it is totally legal and is in the Router which allows you to
clone the MAC address of the PC that was originally connected to the cable modem.
When your at the PC that can access the internet through the cable modem just
go to command prompt type ipconfig /all and record the physical address (If this computer
has to NIC cards make sure you get the right Physical Address).  When you do the
router configuration the option to clone a MAC address should come up and insert the
one you found above.
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