I am able to browse on my laptop with xp at Home, but nowhere else.

Posted on 2011-05-06
Last Modified: 2013-12-09
At home I a am able to browse fine on IE or Firefox via AT&T DSL over Wifi on my Laptop.  When I go to any other Open WiFi hotspot, the wireless network connection icon in the system tray says I have an excellent connection, but I am not able to browse at all.  I turned off and then totally uninstalled my Sygate personal Firewall, Uninstalled my anti-virus software, disabled windows firewall, and I still am not able to browse. I have it set to "let Windows configure my network settings"  I have asked several establishments to power cycle their modems thinking that's what the problem is, but all it does is piss off everyone else there who's computers "are" working. I don't know what is blocking my connection when I am outside my home.  It is very frustrating.
Question by:fernbuck
    LVL 7

    Expert Comment

    Double check your network settings.
       The 'Let Windows configure my network settings' for wireless, sometimes, only configures the security and connection proponent of the wirless... Thus resultign in you connecting to the Access Point but not being able t route because your TCP/IP settings are not configured.

      Check :

    Control Panel ---> Network Settings ---> Right click the Wireless and select Properties
       In that pane, Highlight TCP/IP (v4) if it lists it otherwise just TCP/IP.
    Select properties just under the list.

    Everything on that page should be set to 'obtain xxxxx automatically'
       If the radial is set to Use the Following for IP address or DNS you are likely not goign to route properly and will not be compatible with pubic/free wifi hotspots.

    Let us know if this is not the case.
    LVL 40

    Expert Comment

    by:Jackie Man
    When you are at other Open WiFi hotspot, you can run a command prompt (cmd) and try to ping a website:-


    and see whether there are any responses from the website.

    If there is response, the problem is browser or application related.

    If there is no response, it is OS or driver related.
    LVL 11

    Accepted Solution

    Yes try showing us screenshots of your Networking Advanced properties, including the Wireless, and the TCP/IP.

    It could be you're not connecting, or you could be connecting but the encryption security is wrong, or you could be connecting correctly to the WiFi access point, BUT you have your TCP/IP DNS settings hardwired to those of your home AT&T router instead of automatic for each location.

    It is possible your wireless adapter, may not support some of the newer WiFi security protocols.  See there is more than just speed, such as 802.11 b, g or n speed,  to be concerned about.  I have seen older WiFi adapters that support only 64-bit or 128-bit WEP security, but NOT WPA or WPA2 or WPA2-PSK security.  Sometimes an updated driver is needed.  Sometimes it is a limitation of your using XP Home Edition rather than Professional Edition.  Most often such a limitation is a hard limitation of the WiFi adapter.
    You might try a newer USB WiFi adapter and see if that works.  You can find refurb or clearance ones for about $10, but look at the specsheet and see what's supported.

    However that's NOT necessarily the problem.  That is most commonly an issue trying to connect at your friends and neighbours who have a better/different security on than your device might support.  
    At truly public OPEN free HotSpots, there is usually NO security, NO password required to connect to it.  More and more places are using a password and security, certainly hotels, etc.  Do they require a password?

    The OTHER problem we often see, is when people have their WiFi WEP security set-up at home to use Open key instead of a Shared key, or vice versa.  Sometimes that means the "wizard" that prompts for the password and connects uses one but not the other.  SO, instead of using the Wizard, you end up having to remove and re-Add the WiFi MANUALLY, not automatically, so that you can specify the correct settings.
    LVL 44

    Assisted Solution

    I agree it sounds like you're not getting an IP address. But if it's set to use automatic settings on the Alternate Configuration tab of Internet Protocol (TCP/IP), then it should eventually time out and take an address in the APIPA range (169.254.x.x /16), and alert you to that with a 'limited connectivity' popup if the Notify me when this connection... box is checked on the wireless adapter's Properties page, General tab (just below the 'show icon' option).

    "let Windows configure my network settings" generally refers to allowing the windows Wireless Zero Configuration (WZC) service supply wireless connection profiles via the Wireless Networks tab, accessed by right-clicking the wireless adapter in Network Connections and choosing Properties.
    When accessing that properties page, if the Wireless Networks tab is missing, that means the WZC service is not started. (i.e. just telling a 3rd party connection manager to let windows have control sometimes isn't enough; if the WZC service is not running,  microsoft's KB article 871122 has a Fix It tool, and below that are instructions on how to start the WZC service manually.)

    You should also check proxy settings.
    Start->Run, inetcpl.cpl [Enter]
    Connections tab, LAN Settings button
    Is the Use a proxy server... box checked?
    If so, you could setup one browser to use the proxy at home and the other to NOT use a proxy for typical WiFi hotspots.

    Author Comment

    Thank You for the responses.  Please bare with me.  I have not had a chance to get to another location in order to test your possible solutions.  I will try to get somewhere within the next couple of days.
    LVL 44

    Expert Comment

    You can check the if the WCZ service is running, and the proxy setting in IE, that I mentioned, without being connected at all.
    LVL 44

    Expert Comment

    That's WZC (wireless zero configuration) service, not WCZ.

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