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windows 7 laptop - Can detect network but cant connect if laptop more than a few feet from wireless router

Posted on 2010-09-05
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Last Modified: 2012-08-14
Have a new Dell Inspiron 15R laptop with Windows 7 Home Premium on it and trying to connect it to a new wireless D-Link Dir601 n router. It detects the router and I can connect to it if the laptop is close to the router. if i move the laptop more than 5 feet away, it will not connect.
I am able to connect to the router from 2 other laptops that have windows XP on them and g network cards. these 2 laptops can connect fine from further than 5 feet away  - they work fine from another room that is at least 40 feet away.
I get the same results with 2 different routers. I have tried all the channels possible thinking maybe it was some interference on the channel.  Is there some setting that I need to change to make this work correctly?
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Question by:cmgolf
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Expert Comment

by:trial1982
ID: 33608712
Hi,

I would strongly susgest you download latest drivers for your wireless card. Someitmes running windows update and checking optional updates does show the latest drivers.

Are you using the dell utility to connect?
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Author Comment

by:cmgolf
ID: 33608741
trial1982,
thank you for the quick response. I have already checked for newer drivers and downloaded all windows updates. It does use the Dell utility
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Expert Comment

by:RohitBagchi
ID: 33609325
Hello,

General issues which may be the cause :
  • Power output settings for the laptop (WiFi)
  • There may be a problem with your WiFi adapter on the laptop
You can download a copy of WirelessMon from Google and use it to measure signal strength. You can get it here : http://www.passmark.com/products/wirelessmonitor.htm

This will show you the exact signal strength being received on your laptops / computers. The output will help identify where the problem actually lies.

Cheers.
RB
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 33609463
Have you checked the Router's firmware for updates? You say you tried different routers, but where they the same models or a different product?

Have you tried disabling "n" mode on your Laptop? As "n" mode has only recently been officially released, many devices still use the "draft" of "n" mode. As many manufacturers used their own versions of "standards" at that time, you could often get compatibility issues when mixing manufacturers and using "n-draft".
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Author Comment

by:cmgolf
ID: 33611967
I have checked for firmware updates. have tried a cisco linksys e1000 and a cisco linksys WRT120 and this D-link router. they are all N routers. dont have a g router to test with it. have forced it to connect in g  mode and still same results.  I have also tried it at another location thinking there was some interference, but got same results. If i move away from router more than about 5 feet, it loses its connection.It can detect the router, but wont connect to it. I tried using a static ip to see if this helped, but it did not. i might try to do a data capture with wireshark just to see it it tells me anything.
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 33612058
Then open the cover to the wireless NIC and check if the Antenna cables are properly connected. There usually are two or three small wires with very small sockets that connect to the wireless NIC, the wires run into the display usually. If those cables aren't properly attached you'd be getting such results.
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Author Comment

by:cmgolf
ID: 33613535
I cant find a cover to access the wireless card. there is one cover that comes off the back and it has the memory cards. i am leaning toward the wireless adapter being the problem, but was hoping there was some setting to work around it. so far, have now found one. I suppose i could use a usb wireless adapter, but i shouldnt have to. I may have to call Dell for this one unless someone has another idea for me to try.
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Accepted Solution

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rindi earned 500 total points
ID: 33613624
Often you can find instructions on the Dell site on how to get to the wireless NIC and exchange it. The problem is I can't find your particular model there, might it have another model number? Or possibly the Service TAG? Usually it is easy to get to the wireless card, and it could easily be something simple like the Antennas loose like I mentioned above, as that is typical behavior.
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Author Comment

by:cmgolf
ID: 33613661
It is a Dell model N5010. I found the instructions for removing wi-fi card. I will take it apart and look at it.
Remove the battery (see Removing the Battery).
Remove the base cover (see Removing the Base Cover).
Remove memory module(s) (see Removing the Memory Module(s)).
Remove the optical drive (see Removing the Optical Drive).
Remove the keyboard (see Removing the Keyboard).
Remove the palm rest (see Removing the Palm Rest).


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Author Comment

by:cmgolf
ID: 33619502
Rindi, Well, the problem was definitely the antenna on the wi-fi adapter. thanks!
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