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WiFi drops connection, then will not re-connect

Posted on 2010-11-18
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Last Modified: 2013-12-09
I have a user on a dell precision m4300 with an intel proset wireless wifi connection built in. it appears to work fine, but the user says while at an airport, he is logged on but the connection drops. when trying to reconnect, it gives a message that says 'unable to connect to (wifi network). the user reboots the machine, and it works again. is there something to check on the machine? I believe i have checked the services and of course the set up always seems ok. . . until the user is 1000 miles away.
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Question by:geriatricgeek
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akahan earned 250 total points
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First step would be to check the power management settings for the laptop generally, and specifically for the wireless card (generally found in Control Panel/System/Device Manager/[choose device]/Right-click for Properties/look for Power Management tab.)  (Varies from driver to driver in the details).

Make sure you have it set to Maximum performance, rather than any power management setting (assuming your particular driver provides that option), and that anything that looks like it might allow the PC to turn the device off to save power is unchecked.

If your user has the Dell Quikset applet installed, make sure that its settings are consistent with this...there are typically multiple places on a Dell that you can set the power management for the network card, and they ALL need to be set to not turn it off to save power.  (There might even be a setting in the BIOS.)

Also -- ask the user if they get the same behavior when they run the laptop with A/C power connected, rather than on the battery.   If plugging the laptop into A/C power solves the problem, then it is DEFINITELY power management related.  (Though the converse is not true:  if the problem continues to happen while the laptop is plugged in, then it MIGHT still be power management related, as some laptops can be configured to turn components off to save power even when they're plugged in.)

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by:rodness
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I have a lot of dell equipment in my office, and at one point dell recommended to me that we use the Microsoft wifi client instead of the Intel.  The MS client doesn't play nice when something else (e.g. Intel) is in use, and will periodically interrupt it to check and see if it should be doing the job instead.  Since we switched to the MS client, it seemed to solve a lot of issues like this.
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by:geriatricgeek
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my user is back in the office, i'll check it out.
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