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Win 7 crippled wireless on my IBM/Lenovo R61

  1.  Wifi worked fine before XP Pro>>Win 7 upgrade.

   2. After Win 7 installed, Lenovo system updates run & network drivers found/installed.

   3. Windows reports that I have "excellent" connectivity, @ 54 Mbps...but all downloads crawl or time out, with no explanation.

   4. Hard-wire ethernet remains speedy, no problems.

   5. Have not messed with firewall settings [because of #4].

Any help appreciated...



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jamesport
Asked:
jamesport
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1 Solution
 
Anthony89Commented:
Try this:
Networking:
Wireless LAN       R61
Intel Wireless LAN (bg, abg, abgn)
OS: Windows 7       
Released: 16 Oct 2009
Version: 13.00.0000
http://www-307.ibm.com/pc/support/site.wss/MIGR-73611.html 

Source:
http://www-307.ibm.com/pc/support/site.wss/MIGR-67856.html#wireless
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NikSystems SpecialistCommented:
A lot of things could be the problem here:
Have you tried to switch of WPA or WEP encryption on the router and see how it goes then?
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BitsBytesandMoreCommented:
Hello jamesport ,
Have you tried resetting the network layer of Windows?
Go to the Start and type: Command (right click on it and run as administrator).
Type: netsh winsock reset
Reboot the computer.
Test the WiFi connection.
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jamesportAuthor Commented:
Thanks to all.

Anthony--I had already downloaded & run this Lenovo file.

Nimatejic--I'm happy with the WPA-PSK mode I'm running, & it already works flawlessly on several other devices.  Besides--I have no trouble making the connection, it's just a speed issue.

Bits etc--you might be on the right track.  I immediately saw a big improvement...then it froze.  Ran again to be sure--same result.  Then, it came back, with no action by me.  It remains sporadic.  Am testing on streaming video sites, like Youtube.  Once it's locked onto a connection, eg. a 5-minute video clip, it might complete the download & play it without a hitch...but finding the next file or starting @ a new site or web page could take 10 minutes, or much more.  OR...it might freeze 1 minute in, then start spontaneously after a long pause.  The connection's just cycling on & off by itself.  Any ideas??
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BitsBytesandMoreCommented:
jamesport:
You mention that you did a WinXp  to Windows 7 upgrade. Since there is no upgrade path other than doing the easy transfer and doing a clean install....
I would assume by the above that you have not had time to get any malware or viruses.... the behavior you are describing seems rather similar to the behavior observed when you have a virus or other malware infestation.....does your Ethernet (hard wired) connection continue to work well as opposed to the WiFi?
Bits.
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jamesportAuthor Commented:
Correct--it was a completely clean install, & the 1st thing I did on completion was install new antivirus & updated definitions.  I've also done a full scan for viruses, adware, malware, etc.  Nothing.

Continues to work perfectly hard-wired--no slow-downs or glitches of any sort.
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BitsBytesandMoreCommented:
Good.... then we can focus on other variables.
Go into Safe Mode with Networking by pressing F8 while booting your computer.
Test the WiFi ...... is it still slow?
 

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jamesportAuthor Commented:
Behaves exactly the same.
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BitsBytesandMoreCommented:
Please run from the Start and type command (you must right click on it and run as administrator):
IPCONFIG /all
Compare the settings of the Ethernet and the WiFi ..... pls verify that both are getting the same Subnet Mask, Gateway and DNS, Also compare the IP Addresses and tell me if the last digit is the only difference.
 
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BitsBytesandMoreCommented:
You are only interested in the IPV4 results....
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BitsBytesandMoreCommented:
Also, please confirm that one the following devices is the one displayed as your WiFi:
- Intel WiFi Link 1000, 5100, 5300
- Intel Wireless WiFi Link 4965AG, 4965AGN
- Intel PRO/Wireless 3945BG, 3945ABG Network Connection

I also need to know if you are using the  ThinkVantage Access Connections?
 
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jamesportAuthor Commented:
Subnet mask, gateway & DNS identical.

Wireless IPV4 is .5, ethernet is .6

Wifi is "11a/b/g Wireless LAN Mini PCI Express Adapter"

Hmmm...there's also a "Wireless Network Connection 2" which is "Microsoft Virtual Wifi Miniport Adapter" which reads "media disconnected."  Don't know if that's relevant.
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BitsBytesandMoreCommented:
Wireless Network Connection 2 is not relevant. What seems to be relevant is: LAN Mini PCI Express Adapter.... it should say one of the names I asked you about above.
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BitsBytesandMoreCommented:
In the Description under the Wireless LAN adapter Wireless Network Connection: it should say Intel XXXsomethingXXX
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BitsBytesandMoreCommented:
Did you install the drivers from the link posted above by Anthony89?
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jamesportAuthor Commented:
I understand...but it definitely doesn't say that.  Here's the printout [Belarc Advisor]:

11a/b/g Wireless LAN Mini PCI Express Adapter
 primary        Auto IP Address:       192.168.2.5 / 24
      Gateway:       192.168.2.1
      Dhcp Server:       192.168.2.1
      Physical Address:       00:1C:26:7E:8A:5D

If I remember right, it's an Atheros chip.

You should also note that I'm now working on the afflicted PC, & for the last 10 minutes it's been stable & as fast as my hardwired PCs.  I'd be excited, but I haven't done anything & can't imagine it will last.
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BitsBytesandMoreCommented:
According to IBM the R61 should have one of the WiFi cards I listed above unless you replaced it...
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jamesportAuthor Commented:
Sorry...that stable & fast session was because I plugged the ethernet cable back in while running ipconfig.

Wireless is stuck as before...
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BitsBytesandMoreCommented:
If you are not sure, go into the device manager and in the properties of the card lookup the hardware ID. It should be a string that reads something like PCIXXXXVENXXXX.
Use this numbers (the ones that follow PCI is the deviceID and the ones that follow VEN are the Vendor ID. Go to www.pcidatabase.com and get the info so you can download the correct driver.
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BitsBytesandMoreCommented:
jamesport,
I need to go now. I will check on you tomorrow.
At this point I would be inclined to lean towards a driver problem.... This seems to be the route you should take...... Identify your device and vendor, download the driver, install  .... .reconnect and test.
Bits...
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jamesportAuthor Commented:
Thanks for walking me through these steps.

Mfr is Atheros Communications, as I thought.  Hardware ID #s:

PCI\VEN_168C&DEV_1014&SUBSYS_058A1014&REV_01
PCI\VEN_168C&DEV_1014&SUBSYS_058A1014
PCI\VEN_168C&DEV_1014&CC_020000
PCI\VEN_168C&DEV_1014&CC_0200

Driver key: {4d36e972-e325-11ce-bfc1-08002be10318}\0011

The chip # is AR5212, details here: http://www.atheros.com/pt/AR5002G.htm

Problem is, they post no drivers, say call IBM...which wants $575 for a service contract to answer a question.

When I try "update driver," Win 7 searches onlne & tells me the June '09 version I have is the most current.

Any other ideas?
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BitsBytesandMoreCommented:
If after doing a Google Search you can't find the drivers (driverguide.com) you could buy for about $24 an Intel Mini PCI WiFi card ..... they are very easy to plug in....

Bits...
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jamesportAuthor Commented:
The driverguide file is 3 years older than the driver now installed.  No help on web.

Buying a new card is a no-brainer...I didn't know they were easy to replace.  Will any "mini pci" card fit?  Any significant differences between Intel 4965/5100/5300, or other?  Thanks.
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BitsBytesandMoreCommented:
The differences are mostly academic . I personally like the 4965AGN
http://www.intel.com/network/connectivity/products/wireless/wireless_n/overview.htm
Just make sure you get the right for your computer (they also have half Mini PCI). As long as you buy one of the models listed you should be fine. Just type in a Google search and you can order online.
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BitsBytesandMoreCommented:
Found these people that have it for $26 .... (it was a fast search but their ratings seem ok):
http://alan-computech-international.amazonwebstore.com/Intel-Wireless-WiFi-Mini-PCIE-Dual/M/B000QAY00K.htm
 
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jamesportAuthor Commented:
Good enough for me.

Now--do you have links to any pics or vids showing innards?  I looked up IBM/Lenovo info, & it seems they support replacing hard drive & memory only.  Can find nothing on cards.  I'm not clumsy but haven't worked inside laptop before & want to make sure I properly handle all connections...

Thanks.
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BitsBytesandMoreCommented:
I am attaching a copy of the service manual if you wish to download it and see the screenshot below if you want to see the basics.....

Capture.JPG
42x3749-02.pdf
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jamesportAuthor Commented:
Excellent.  Part ordered, rush.  Will let you know ASAP how it works out!
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BitsBytesandMoreCommented:
Make sure you take a good look at the service manual with the correct procedures for your model (the pdf link is barely visible under the screenshot).
 
Bits...
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jamesportAuthor Commented:
I've got the manual--thanks--the card is en route & I just bought an anti-static wrist band.  Thanks.

I spotted a warning, though, which suggests I might have a problem because this card might not be listed on a White List in the Thinkpad BIOS.  I have no way of knowing: A] if this is true;  B] whether the card I have on order is or is not 1 of the approved IBM part #s.  Any thoughts on this?  Is there some way to locate a wifi card that's sure to be "approved?"

[The odds of my forging a false Hardware ID# as described in the 2nd article below are slim.]


http://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/Intel_PRO/Wireless_4965AGN_Mini-PCI_Express_Adapter

http://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/Problem_with_unauthorized_MiniPCI_network_card
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BitsBytesandMoreCommented:
But the one you selected was on the list above which is part of the list on IBM/Lenovo's web site...right?
 
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BitsBytesandMoreCommented:
According to your link above, the Intel_PRO/Wireless_4965AGN_Mini-PCI_Express_Adapter is appropriate for the R61.....
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jamesportAuthor Commented:
They say [below] that this Intel part will work ONLY if it has 1 of the IBM part numbers listed.  I can't know where this particular 4965AGN came from, or whether it's IBM-designated...


IBM Partnumbers:

42T0865, 42T0867, 42T0869, 42T0871, 42T0905 : Intel PRO/Wireless 4965AGN (11n enabled)

42T0873, 42T0875, 42T0877, 42T0879, : Intel PRO/Wireless 4965AGN (11n disabled)

(From T61 Hardware maintenance Manual)
NOTE!
Only the IBM Parts will work, any other parts will give an 1802 error on Post because the sub-vendor PCI ID is different, see Problem with unauthorized MiniPCI network card for more details
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BitsBytesandMoreCommented:
The 4965 should be "Whitelisted" .... Maybe you should call the vendor you purchased the new card from and double check that it does have one of the ID's that is already listed in the BIOS.... Just in case a problem does come up, you can say that you did call to verify...
I don't think it is going to be a problem but it's always best to play it safe.
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BitsBytesandMoreCommented:
I just did a quick check on your model and IBM does have some BIOS updates as recent as November 2009 so this should include more vendors id's.
The other solution would be to cancel the order and order it directly from IBM/Lenovo. You might want to raise some hell on the way because this would be a violation of several antitrust laws for their monopolistic policies..
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BitsBytesandMoreCommented:
jamesport.... what  model exactly is your R61? I want to take a look and check on the BIOS updates for Windows 7 to see if they are addressing the current issue you are having with your Atheros mini pci and also to verify if they have abandoned this policy of forcing you to pay more because you have no choice but to buy from them (Lenovo/IBM)...
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jamesportAuthor Commented:
model is 7732 CTO

I found part #42T0865 available from Lenovo for $90 + s/h

While looking, I found same part here for $25 incl s/h:
http://cgi.ebay.com/IBM-Lenovo-Thinkpad-Intel-4965-AGN-802.11n-WIFI-42T0865_W0QQitemZ390132671552QQcmdZViewItemQQimsxZ20091218?IMSfp=TL091218221009r10130 

I didn't mention earlier, but I have 2 identical R61 7732 CTO laptops.  Hence, I ordered 2 cards from Alan Computech, & they shipped this morning.  While the vendor site photos don't show an IBM p/n on the label, I'm inclined to wait a couple of days 7 try one before I order 2 more cards from HK.  What do you think?

I'm not worried about damaging the laptop, just concerned that the card won't work because not on the white list.  I remain open to suggestions.

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jamesportAuthor Commented:
Small idea: a friend suggested that the new OS install probably enabled power management of the wifi card.  He was right & I disabled, hoping that this might have been the cause of the quirky cycling I witnessed.  Sadly, no help.

Then, a bizarre twist: I've been doing all this work on my desk with the Thinkpad approx 3' from the router.  That's why signal was always excellent @ 5 bars.  This afternoon, after concluding I could do nothing until the new wifi card arrives, I relocated to the usual workspace 50' away.  Signal dropped to "good" @ 3 bars [which is actually fine performance...it's an urban highrise w/much RFI interference].  

Wifi has been working fine ever since.  I did nothing beyond relocating the pc.  I've never heard of anything like this...does it make any sense to you?
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BitsBytesandMoreCommented:
james.... at this point I would be so upset at Lenovo (this feels as if they were raping you). No kidding ....$90!!!! It should be illegal and it is very unethical to say the least.
This thread has become very long and I am about to leave the office so I don't want to re-read it all and I don't remember if you had updated the BIOS.
It does seem that Lenovo has a lot of problems with Windows 7 and they did numerous changes to the BIOS of your model for it to be able to support Windows 7 properly.
They don't mention it in the documentation if one of the changes fixes the problem with the Atheros WiFi so at the moment I thought it was irrelevant, but now, after hearing the story above I've read more carefully and noticed that they do mention other issues such as problems with the Nvidia Video that go away if you disable PXE and WOL on the Ethernet card..... this is serious conflicts...... You might want to consider updating your BIOS for it to support Windows 7 properly.
Take a look at the text attached below, it belongs to the changes made on the 32-Bit BIOS Update....
it seems that you need a different BIOS Update for the 64-Bit and worse yet, it seems that whatever you choose, once you choose it, you can't go back.... this is getting really dramatic.... no wonder IBM lost the war of the clones.... I had never heard of any of these issues where you were basically forced to pay for the markup on a product....

Untitled.pdf
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jamesportAuthor Commented:
Unbelievable.  Compounding the problem, 1 of the identical R61s is now Win 7 32 bit, & the other is 64.

I'll study these notes tonight & try to figure out whether to upgrade BIOS on 1, both, or none.  Thanks for the continued good info & tips.
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BitsBytesandMoreCommented:
If your computer can handle Windows 7 64-Bits.... go for 64.
If what Lenovo is warning about not being able to change the BIOS later is true..... You will regret not having selected the faster 64-BIT way......
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jamesportAuthor Commented:
FYI--waiting for parts, & collecting 2nd notebook to test/correct at same time.  Thanks for standing by.
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BitsBytesandMoreCommented:
No problem. Let me know when you're ready.
Bits.
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jamesportAuthor Commented:
Still waiting, but I apparently need to post or question will be marked "abandoned."  I haven't forgotten this, & will be back.
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jamesportAuthor Commented:
Well--the parts arrived, I set aside time to install, changed the network card with no problem...& I now have an 1802 error where the PC won't boot because I have an "unauthorized" network card plugged in.

Haven't decided whether to try to fake white list entry, pay Lenovo $90 per card x 2, trash them both.  I'm already out $60 for the Intel cards I have which apparently aren't recognized.

Any suggestions?
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BitsBytesandMoreCommented:
I hate to tell you to return them but I did suggest you confirm with the vendor the same day you ordered them in case you wanted to return them:
.... Maybe you should call the vendor you purchased the new card from and double check that it does have one of the ID's that is already listed in the BIOS.... Just in case a problem does come up, you can say that you did call to verify..."
This is especially true after you mentioned that the Atheros card was working after you relocated the computer which basically would make me agree with you that the problem is the high RFI interference and not a driver or corrupt software issue...
Bits ...
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jamesportAuthor Commented:
Bits--
1--your support has been much appreciated
2--no way was I suggesting anything was your fault
3--I DID call vendor, who DID say these were fine for IBM
4--I'm taking 1 more run at this.  Have 2 4965 cards advertised as IBM-only coming from HK @ $25 ea; if no success, these PCs get donated.  The 2 Acers I just bought @ $400 are stellar.
5--will let you know how it works out & will be back to award points [if I award now this case will close & you'll never know outcome]
6--I got return CR on 1st 2 cards less reasonable restocking
6--I'm getting really fast @ swapping these cards...
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BitsBytesandMoreCommented:
James ... I never for not even a second thought that you might be suggesting it was my fault.... I was just feeling bad that you had to return them and that the problem was not solved...
I'm thinking that the problem is not with the Atheros or the Intel WiFi cards but rather with the RFI interference ... once you connect (unless it's an intermittent fault which on a WiFi card would be very unusual) this rules out any driver  issues.
Maybe you can try changing the channel at which it connects to your Access Point (usually the default is Chanel 6) ...... It might be less congested...
Also ... it might be possible that you move the access point to a better location where your laptop has better access to it....
Bits ...
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jamesportAuthor Commented:
Given the limited info you have, it's a good suggestion...but I'm having NO difficulty with 2 other wifi only PCs, 2 wireless TIVOs, & an [old!] Olive wireless media center on the same network.  Since only the R61s are having trouble, & only since the Win 7 conversion, I'll assume they're the problem.  I'm not about to go messing with those successful connections under any circumstances...it would be far less painful to shell out for new PCs.

...which reminds me I forgot to report the most important lesson I've learned: NBL.  As in Never Buy Lenovo.

Any mfr's product can have problems, but this whole whitelist nonesense was so unnecessary, & appears to have seriously inconvenienced thousands of customers...for no discernible purpose.   They don't seem to care.

Never again...no kidding.
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BitsBytesandMoreCommented:
Hey ... don't throw them out..... sell them on eBay or send them to me....lol....
Actually Lenovo is very good. They are very "picky" with their parts and tend to be expensive with what they call their FRU's (Field Replaceable Units) .... this is why the lost the "War of the Clones in the 80's... when the came out with the "Micro-Architecture" (I think this is what it was called)..... and none of the generic manufacturer's parts would work on IBM's so people decided to go with HP's Vectra and Dell's (at the time, whoever had a DELL was considered to have bought a Cadillac).....
In any case.... It most probably is an issue with the antennas (the little black and blue cables that connect to the WiFi mini PCI) or the location of the Access point.... Maybe just installing another access point would solve the issue. It could even be dust that has settled between two connections and is creating a short..... also.... corrosion could be a problem (if they are old and have been exposed to high levels of humidity when passing from a cold place to a warm and humid place) .... don't give up on them just yet (you can always send them to me .... lol..
We have an Expert here in the forums that goes by Thinkpads_User. I'll see if I can find him and ask him to take a look at this thread.
Bits ....
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BitsBytesandMoreCommented:
Ok ... I posted the question in the Community Support .... hopefully thinkpads_user will be able to take a look at this thread.
If you want to keep track of the answers, click on monitor on this link:
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Community_Support/General/Q_25105201.html?fromWizard=true
Bits ...
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jamesportAuthor Commented:
I welcome all the help I can get.

There are 2 critical things to remember, I think:  A] 2 identical R61s are displaying exactly the same symptoms, in each case after an OS upgrade;  B] other wireless devices on the same network [& tested in the same locations] are high-speed & secure, no issues.  These facts tend to rule out the antenna/dust possibilities, don't you think??

[don't worry, I'll post here before disposing of the IBMs, which I still hope won't be necessary!]
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I read through this quickly, and I was asked by Bits and Bytes to look here.

I have a Thinkpad T61p that came with an Atheros card and Vista 64-bit. I very quickly changed the Atheros card for an Intel 3945 card because it simply worked better. I like Atheros, but I need reliability on this box so went Intel. I got this Intel 3945 on the thinkpads.com forum and it was a known IBM card, so NO 1802 error.

I later (15 months later) put in a new hard drive and did fresh install of Windows 7 Pro 64-bit and same Intel 3945 card. I upgraded the driver to 13.00 and it works a treat. I have Access Connections 5.50 running.

So:  If your Intel card does not work (1802 error) you will probably have to get a proper IBM card. I confirm that the proper IBM card is working for me.

Then, uninstall Access Connections if you are using it (profiles and all), uninstall your wireless NIC driver, restart, install your wireless NIC driver, test with Windows, then install Access Connections if you use it.

I hope this along with all the other good advice you got here assists. ... Thinkpads_User
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I have gone through this again, and three more things occur to me:

1. Make sure your BIOS and Embedded Controller are both up-to-date. I wasn't sure if you actually updated them. There have been two revisions since I got my T61.
2. If you had Access Connections even installed, be sure to upgrade to V5.50. There were some fixes for wireless in there.
3. Go through the Windows 7 information for that model and make sure you have installed all the Windows 7 drivers and applications.  System Update does not get all the drivers for Windows 7 yet, so go through the list manually.
... Thinkpads_User

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jamesportAuthor Commented:
Thanks for all your helpful notes.  I believe i have all these updates in place, except for Access Connections [which I will uninstall, as it's of no use to me].  Not sure about Embedded Controller, however--is that included w/BIOS or obtained separately?

Rest assured I went through all the Win 7 updates manually.

I should have the IBM-specific 4965 card in about 10 days.  I'll post as soon as I have results.

BTW--are the two 61s--R & T--pretty close in configuration?

Thanks again.
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Let us know. Bits and Bytes has asked me to assist, so I will keep an eye on this thread as you post back. Embedded Controller is usually separate, but if there is no update, don't worry about it. I only do it if it is there.

... Thinkpad_User
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jamesportAuthor Commented:
update [so question not deleted]:  holding for delivery of parts en route from Hong Kong
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jamesportAuthor Commented:
I guess the old "slow boat to China" is the new "slow plane from Hong Kong."

Parts arrived today, I plugged in w/o incident, the network cards were instantly recognized on both PCs, & the problem is fully resolved.  The Intel adapters appear to have excellent & stable reception, & throughput is vastly improved w/no stuttering.  Worth the trouble, after all.

Awarding full points to Bits--thanks for your help & patience.  Thanks to TP User, as well.
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jamesportAuthor Commented:
Very patient.
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BitsBytesandMoreCommented:
Then all is well for he who has been patient... I'm so glad that the new WiFi cards resolved the issue.... Thanks for the feedback.
Bits ...
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