Internet/network connectivity: Why does connection work with cable but not for wireless?

Posted on 2016-10-10
Last Modified: 2016-10-16
I have an Acer Aspire One netbook, a little oldie but goodie, that I use once a week or so to run a couple of programs that I've been running for years. The rest of the week, the computer is shut off.

It has a Windows XP operating system.

Occasionally, I do a quick download or upload from the Internet to my website. I have a cable hooked up between my modem and the computer and the connection is just fine.

BUT I've stumbled across a problem I can't figure out (and please keep in mind I AM NOT A TECH). I tried to connect to the 'Net using a wireless network set up in my house rather than the cable plugged in from my router. The computer "sees" the connection but will not connect, no how, no way.

I took it to a local repair shop today and the tech on duty checked and confirmed that the computer could see the shop's wireless network but also could not connect. He further explained that because the OS was XP, that's the problem, and that's that.

But I have had too much experience this year with finding successful solutions to problems after having been told "you can't do that." I've found that it boils down to asking the question the right way, and to the right person.

This problem strikes me as a straightforward one. Either the tech with whom I spoke is on target OR there's a more experienced tech out there someplace who has a different take.

Is that you?

Thanks for your time and attention.

PS - No, I'm not using the Acer as I write this. My main unit is a Toshiba with Win 7, just FYI.
Question by:RadioGeorge
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LVL 95

Accepted Solution

John Hurst earned 250 total points
ID: 41837591
Try TCP/IP Reset and DNS Flush

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
Then restart the computer
LVL 27

Assisted Solution

by:Dr. Klahn
Dr. Klahn earned 250 total points
ID: 41837651
imo, blaming XP is always an easy way to get rid of a problem that may be difficult or time-consuming to chase.  XP may be long in the tooth but it can connect to standard B/G/N/ac networks with WPA encryption.

a) It's possible that the adapter built into the laptop is not capable of WPA encryption.  This is common in older laptops.  Solution, spend under ten bucks and buy a USB adapter that can do WPA.

b) If XP does not have Service Pack 2 installed, then it can not do WPA encryption.  Solution, hang the system on the network by the wire and install Service Pack 2.  Run "winver" from a command prompt to see what the service pack level is, example below.

Winver on XP
c) Check the network protocol in use on the router, the encryption mode (should be WPA / WPA2), and double-check the encryption key.

Author Comment

ID: 41837742
Experts: a new wrinkle has been tossed into the mix.

I decided to check the service pack and it returned the screen that showed service pack 3.

For some reason, probably just an impulse, I decided to view the available wireless networks, and re-entered the username and password (are those the correct terms?) for the house wireless network.

Bingo! I had wireless access.

Then, I decided to change the network to the ATT Mi-Fi I use while traveling, and it also connected, although access was  low or limited (which strikes me as unusual here at home). I then clicked on a link I have on my home page toolbar at the top to a website I own,, and got a "cannot connect" message but what REALLY hit me was the address, which showed as

And then the connection was broken.

Hijacked? Or what?
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LVL 95

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 41837744
That link says the site / domain is for sale and it does not break Wi-Fi.

Did you try the resets I suggested?

Author Comment

ID: 41837767
John, not yet. Long day here--will give it a shot tomorrow and report back.
LVL 27

Expert Comment

by:Dr. Klahn
ID: 41837774
If you live in a large city -- or even in a not so large city -- I'm surprised anybody gets any WiFi service in the 2.4 GHz band.  Everybody and their dog has one or more WiFi access points, and each of those access points is either sitting on channel 7 as the as-shipped default, or is jumping all over the band ("frequency agile") fighting over the 11 (overlapping) channels.

Going to the 5 GHz band will alleviate that temporarily, at least until those channels fill up too.

Author Comment

ID: 41842996
Gentlemen, sorry for the delay. Got sidelined with a nasty surprise hit of cellulitis!

John H - I was able to follow your instructions for TCP/IP Reset and DNS Flush. Rebooted. The computer says "There is no Internet connection. Your computer is offline," while the icon at the bottom right says "Connected" and shows 5 bars.

Tried turning off Webroot's security settings and that made no difference.

Dr. Klahn -  As I said, I am not a tech. I have no idea what your comments are talking about (no insult intended whatsoever).

So I'm back to square one. I will get one of the USB adapters mentioned tomorrow and give that a shot.
LVL 95

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 41843411
Please let us know about the USB adapter.

Dr. Klahn is saying that other sources of Wi-Fi near you could prevent you from getting your own Wi-Fi because of interference.

I understand the statement, but I am not bothered by interference in the dense metropolitan area were I have my consulting business.

Assisted Solution

RadioGeorge earned 0 total points
ID: 41845947
I bought a TP-Link 300 Mpbs Mini Wireless N USN Adapter, which came with CD and simple installation instructions.

But after installation, it's back to the same old recognition of the wireless network, showing it is connected except that no browser will connect to the Internet. Tried turning off Webroot, that didn't make any difference.

Regarding the other sources of Wi-Fi possibility, I don't think so. his is a suburban neighborhood and only 4 other local network connection show in the list.

Any further thoughts?
LVL 95

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 41845949
Try the laptop in a completely different area with completely different access point.

Consider the possibility where you are that any interference is affect your own access point.

Author Comment

ID: 41846017

John, you called the shot! The netbook at the center of this little electronic drama usually resides in my office and is used to connect to the Internet only infrequently. However, there are 4 other machines (Windows 7 and Windows 10) and the router for my Google Fiber connection as well as probably a few other electronic fields from other assorted peripherals.

I took the Acer Aspire One (unit that caused this inquiry) into the kitchen (a ways away) and tried to connect as usual. Then I plugged in the little USB wireless adapter Dr. Klahn suggested, and the computer picked up the Mi-Fi signal from my portable wireless unit, and I was rolling.   Nice, strong connection.

So another great example gets added to the list of "you can't do that" stuff that got done, thanks to smart guys with common sense, like you. Many thanks to you both.
LVL 95

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 41846020
Thanks for the update and I was happy to help.

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