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Dell Inspiron B120 Network Challenge

Discussion in 'Networking' started by SatDoug, Apr 19, 2008.

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  1. SatDoug

    SatDoug Thread Starter

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    Hi All:
    I am posting this to the best brains on the Net, because I am at the end of my rope on this one.
    My wife has a 4 year old Dell Inspiron B120 laptop with a built-in mini PCI Dell branded NIC. The PC is running Windows XP/SP2 and has 1 gig of RAM. Ever since we bought it new, it would sometimes not see my home network, but after doing a refresh of the network list, it would see it and allow it to connect with no problem. Lately, it has gotten MUCH worse in that I am ready to throw the laptop out the window. I am using an SMC wireless router with WEP turned on. I recently flashed its firmware hoping this may solve the problem (it did for about a week). My other two laptops, PSP and wired desktop see my network and have never had a problem connecting, so I am pretty sure it is not the router. Of course I tried power resets and tried turning off WEP, but the problem with the Inspiron still exists. Now, the interesting part...the B120 sees other networks, and if they are not protected, I can get on with no problem (my other laptops see them as well), though they are a low signal and I don't want to take someone else's bandwidth. As I have another Dell from work, I tried to exchange the NIC, but that model will not work in the B120 (figures). I am thinking of buying a used NIC on eBay as it's only $20 shipped, and might be worth a shot...I really don't want to replace my router as everything else works fine, including other laptops that I provide the key to when friends come to visit. And of course, as I post this, I am doing it on the stupid B120 that for this morning, is staying connected to my network!!! A final note- I am allowing Windows to manage the connections; if I change it to the Dell utility, the same problem exists. Any suggestions?!?!?!?!?!
     
  2. JohnWill

    JohnWill Retired Moderator

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    Well, I hate to suggest the obvious, but have you tried changing the channel on the router? What does the signal strength look like when you connect?
     
  3. SatDoug

    SatDoug Thread Starter

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    Hi there...thanks for trying to help. Yes...I tried changing router channels (twice!). When it sees the network, it is full strength (5 of 5 bars). That's what is weird...sometimes I will be next to the router, then go in to refresh list on the laptop, and it does not see the network at all. If I do it three or four times, it may eventually see it. I have also seen it disappear from the list right in front of me. I am thinking it may be some weird electrical/RF interference (maybe my neighbor got a new cordless phone?!?!), so maybe installing a new NIC card would behave better.
     
  4. JohnWill

    JohnWill Retired Moderator

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    I doubt a new NIC is going to solve this issue unless this NIC is actually dying and not experiencing interference. The new NIC will be in the same environment. :)
     
  5. TerryNet

    TerryNet Moderator

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    When you use Windows' WZC or Dell's wireless utility are you sure that the other one is not running? If multiple wireless utilities are running they can cause a variety of symptoms, including the ones you are experiencing.
     
  6. SatDoug

    SatDoug Thread Starter

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    Well, TerryNet just may be on to something...
    I took your advice and uninstalled the Dell wireless LAN utility & did a reboot. Laptop entered windows and saw my network, and has been connected with no problem (as well as faster than ever).
    We'll see what happens in a day or two. You just may be a genius! :).
    Thank you!
     
  7. JohnWill

    JohnWill Retired Moderator

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    Don't do that! His head is big enough already! :p:p:p
     
  8. TerryNet

    TerryNet Moderator

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    My "genius" is my 3-part secret to success:

    1. If it doesn't connect, say "firewall."
    2. If it disconnects, say "multiple wireless utiilities."
    3. Let John handle all the others! :D:D:D
     
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