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Wireless internet connectivity issue

Posted on 2015-02-14
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Last Modified: 2015-06-26
About a week ago, my Toshiba laptop started having a very odd problem connecting to wireless. When I boot it up, or when I disable and re-enable the network adaptor, it shows that it is connected to the correct wireless network, and that it has internet connectivity. Within seconds, it loses the internet connection. Pinging either google.com (or another named location) or even an IP address fails. I can't connect using a browser, etc. A wired connection works perfectly.

Also, while booting up, it can be seen in the local workgroup by other computers (peer to peer), but as soon as the internet connection is lost, it is no longer visible to the other computers. However, the laptop still shows that it's connected to the wireless network (and shows 5 bars of signal strength, but a yellow triangle that, if you hover over, says "no internet connection"). I've tried using both the built-in wireless adaptor, and an external USB adaptor (D-Link DWA-171).

I've tried disabling the Windows firewall (there's no other firewall). Disabling and re-enabling the adaptor (or even unplugging and plugging in the USB one) brings a few seconds of internet connection (and any page which was hung during loading will load during those seconds), but then the connection is lost again. I thought maybe the D-Link connection software was causing problems, so I removed that and reinstalled just the USB driver. No dice.

I'd appreciate some help in further trouble-shooting. This is very annoying, since I can get that few seconds of internet connection, and then it goes away.
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Question by:lherrou
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Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 40609991
Hi Todd,
When you have the yellow triangle that says "no internet connection", look in Control Panel>Network and Sharing Center. Click the Troubleshoot problems link. That may fix what's wrong. If not, what happens when you click it? Regards, Joe
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by:lherrou
ID: 40610007
Joe,

I have tried that a couple of times. It just says "Troubleshooting couldn't identify the problem" and offers me the options of Explore additional options or close the troubleshooter.
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 40610020
I see that W8 is one of your Topics. Did you recently upgrade to 8.1?
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Author Comment

by:lherrou
ID: 40610021
Nope, still on the original install of WIndows 8
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 40610024
Control Panel>Device Manager. Expand Network Adapters. What's there?
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Author Comment

by:lherrou
ID: 40610030
D-Link DWA-171 Wireless AC Dual Band Adaptor
Microsoft Kernel Debug Network Adaptor
PdaNet Broadband Adaptor
Qualcomm Atheros AR8161 OCI-E Gigabit Ethernet Controller (NDIS 6.30)
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Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 40610038
So it seems that your built-in wireless is not there. The D-Link DWA-171 is USB and the Atheros is your wired connection. Is there a physical switch on the Toshiba laptop that turns the wireless on and off? If so, make sure it's on. Also, what wireless router do you have and what security protocol are you using — WEP? WPA? WPA2? And are you using MAC filtering?
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Author Comment

by:lherrou
ID: 40610063
There is a physical switch on the laptop, and it's off because the built-in adaptor won't function on certain networks (which is why I have the D-Link).

The router is a Technicolor TC8305C provided by my cable company.

Security is WPA2, I am not using MAC filtering, and the laptop shows on the router's dashboard, along with my ipad, phone, and two other computers (all of which have no connection problems).
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Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 40610068
Remove the D-Link and turn on the laptop's wireless switch. What appears in Device Manager>Network Adapters?
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Author Comment

by:lherrou
ID: 40610078
Joe, I've been through all that. I said in the beginning that I've tried using both the built-in wireless adaptor, and an external USB adaptor. The USB adaptor works fine on another computer, and worked fine on this machine until a week ago. When I have it at my work, I have to have the USB adaptor, because the built-in adaptor won't function with my mesh.
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Joe Winograd, EE MVE earned 500 total points
ID: 40610090
OK, just trying to help you troubleshoot, but since you've been through all that, I'll drop out now and leave it to others with more wireless networking expertise than I have. Best of luck getting it fixed. Oh, one other thought. Since you said that the D-Link worked fine until a week ago, have you tried going back to a restore point from more than a week ago? Regards, Joe
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Author Comment

by:lherrou
ID: 40610096
Hmm, no, I hadn't thought of that. Thanks, I will give that a shot.
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 40610102
First, I will attempt to help without repeating Joe (overall good advice).

Second, you say the issue is a week old.

Third, you say you are running Windows 8 and not 8.1. You probably should upgrade, but I do not think this is your issue.

Fourth, you say other devices on the router work fine.

Here is what I would look at:

1. Run TCP/IP Reset.

Delete the USB wireless profile.
Open cmd.exe with Run as Administrator.
Then  netsh int ip reset c:\resetlog.txt
Also, ipconfig /flushdns followed by net stop dnscache followed by net start dnscache

Now Restart the computer and remake the wireless profile.  Does this help.

2. Upgrade or at least download and reinstall the driver for the USB wireless.

I hope this helps but please let us know.
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Author Comment

by:lherrou
ID: 40610416
I took Joe's suggestion, and rolled back. There was a Windows critical update that installed the day before I noticed having problems. Once I rolled back before that, everything worked fine.

Of course, now I have to figure out what to do, since that update will want to install again.
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 40610428
I don't know of a good way to handle that...just keep hiding it, I suppose...certainly a pain!
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 40610539
can be dying wireless card
i would test with another one
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Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 40610548
Hi nobus,
Todd said that it happens with both the built-in wireless card and the D-Link USB adapter — doubtful that both are going bad at the same time. He also said that the problem stopped occurring after he rolled back from a Windows critical update. So it seems certain that the update is the culprit, not a bad wireless card. Question now becomes, is there an easy way to stop the update from installing again? All I can think of is to change the Windows Update technique from Install updates automatically to Check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them, and then consistently not install it (trying to Hide an update works for a while, but my experience is that they have a nasty way of reviving themselves, so vigilance is required).
Regards, Joe
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by:nobus
ID: 40610695
Joe - i know that
but that is with the card still installed - may influence the rest
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Author Comment

by:lherrou
ID: 40610698
I always keep my machines set to Check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them, I'll just have to be vigilant.

And it's a laptop, so I'm not sure how I try another wireless card.
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by:nobus
ID: 40610735
you take the old one out - and install a new one - that's it
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 40610909
> may influence the rest

I suppose it's possible, but extremely doubtful with the physical Wi-Fi switch turned off.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40611021
Todd - before buying anything new, you really should get to Windows 8.1. Windows 8.1 is a new operating system and not a service pack. But at least try. Why? It works better, and generally needs new drivers everywhere, wireless included. This may help, but at a minimum, Windows 8.1 is a better base to work from.
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Author Comment

by:lherrou
ID: 40611044
While the laptop has been doing what I need, I have been reluctant to upgrade. Maybe this is a sign that I should.
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Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 40611125
> I have been reluctant to upgrade.

Same here! I have a W8 laptop with Classic Shell that works perfectly for me. I've seen many horror stories from folks upgrading to 8.1, so every time I get the 8.1 upgrade message, I decline. I keep telling myself that one of these days, I should do it, but so far, I've remained reluctant — and my W8 laptop keeps on humming. If you go to 8.1, Todd, please post back here with your experience. Thanks, Joe
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40611132
I did a Windows 8 Refresh which keeps data and machines but I have to reinstall software. I did the refresh, updated all drivers and anti virus. Then I did the 8.1 upgrade which worked perfectly. I installed my software and set up. That was over a year ago and the machine has been working fine since.
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 40611291
John,
Thanks for sharing your experience — very helpful! Regards, Joe
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 40853331
Hi Todd,
Very unlike you to abandon a question, so while doing some clean-up today (to reduce my 448 open Firefox tabs), I'm hoping you don't mind a gentle ping to close this question. Thanks, Joe
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Author Closing Comment

by:lherrou
ID: 40853418
Thanks, Joe. The roll-back worked, and I haven't had any issues since.
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Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 40853441
You're welcome, Todd. I've very glad to hear that. Regards, Joe
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