Why can't I get my laptop connected with built in wireless card?

A customer of mine has just purchased a Dell Latitude Laptop. The laptop has a built in wireless card, but it can not connect. It sees the available networks with it's own utilities and with Windows utilities and it says it is connected. One of the networks is secure and the other one isn't. It says that it has little to no connectivity and it does not grab an IP. The server (domain conrtoller) is the dhcp server and the laptop is setup for dhcp. I have reinstalled drivers, ran a power cycle. It is experiencing these problems at the office and at home. Any suggestions?
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First of all, make sure no IP is bound to the Wireless nic.  I've noticed in the past with the windows utility that it will connect and try to get an IP, but it will not since authentiction/security is not setup. once you setup the correct passphrase or key, then it will actually negotiate the connection and get an IP.

I've seen this many times.
How far from the access point/router is the laptop when it won't connect?  
What kind of APs are being used here? If it a Router/AP, is the AP set up only as an access point (passes DHCP from the DHCP server) or as a wireless router (may be configured as the DHCP server)?

Are their any other wireless clients on site and do they have similar problems?

Is your client running a secure WLAN and a unsecure WLAN on the same network?

Does the unsecure network have access to the DHCP server or is it picking up a unsecure network in the area?

What kind of security is the secure network running?

Have you tried using a static IP address?

This is alot of questions, but when I was a field engineer most of the WLAN access problems were corrected by answering these questions.

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does it work without security enabled? if so check your encryption passphrase/key

what kind of router are you using? is it using updated/current firmware? older linksys vs's did have wireless issues.


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Windows Firewall issues. Turn it off and check.
While Windows Firewall should not be an issue, I have had to disable Windows Firewall to obtain an IP address before. Also, if there are 3ed party firewalls such as McAfee or Norton Security, disable them as well.
Hi PlusInc,

As you can see the wireless networks in range the Dell wifi hardware is probably enabled and probably working fine.  I suggest the following.

1. Check if other wireless laptops or clients experience the same problem. If they don't, then its probably a setting issue with the dell and maybe you can try the below methods:
1. Go to network connections control panel, right click properties on the Wireless connection icon. Go to TCP/IP properties and check if you selected obtain IP and DNS automatically.
2. Disable any firewalls windows or third party (eg. norton ) in the mean time
3. Make sure that distance or interference is not the issue by placing your laptop next to the wireless AP/wirelss router
4. Disable the wireless security on the wireless accesspoint in the mean time, to isolate that the connection problem is nothing to do with wireless security setting
5. Try to scan for new network with the dell wireless utility and check if you can view the network.
6. If you found it double click on it and try to connect.
7. If it connects go to the next step and try to set up the security.
8. If it fails...disable the dell wireless utility, and enable Windows Wireless zero config
9. try to scan and connect using the windows XP wireless tools.

Hope it helps.  
PlusIncAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the help guys. I have not tried the windows firewall, but I will. It does not work with security enabled or not enabled. Also, there are other laptops in the office that can connect wirelessly without any problems.
I agree w mad jasper.. check firewall, an antivirus is not interfering.
PlusIncAuthor Commented:
Well I turned off windows firewall, but I am still getting limited to no connectivity and no IP
Did you try static IPs? If so, there is a distinct possibility that you could have a bad wireless NIC. Two years ago, we purchased 20 HP laptops with Intel wireless NICs. We could not keep the laptops connected, had roaming profile problems, etc.. After two months of troubleshooting and following HPs instrutions, I demanded new mini-PC card replacements. If they did not provide the mini-PC cards, I would send the laptops back (no other laptops we had had this issue). HP sent 20 new cards, I installed them, and never had a problem again.
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