Solved: Cannot Detect Wireless Card

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jrnetwork

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Aug 10, 2005
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103
Hello,

I recently purchased a used laptop from a local school district and I have been trying to access the wireless internet connection I have at home - but I can't.

It can connect to the internet through the ethernet cable. It came with "IBM Access Connections", a connections managing program that lets me switch between the default "USD XXX Wireless" network (The school district's default wireless connection), "Out of District" (also came when I bought the computer) and "My House", the network I created to connect the laptop to the internet at home (that I'm forced to use an ethernet cable with).

In the Control Panel, an icon "Wireless LAN Settings" is available, that gives me the message "Unable to Connect to the Wireless NetCard. Is it inserted?".

All of these clues of wireless connections that once were lead me to believe that the 'NetCard' that allows for wireless connections was removed before the laptop was given to me. Is there somewhere I can check to see if this hardware exists or is configured correctly?


This computer is an

IBM ThinkPad R31
Windows 2000
Intel(R) PRO/100 VE Network Connection*



*This is, I think, the adapter that lets me connect to the internet through ethernet. When I try to switch to "USD XXX Wireless" configuration, a message of ...

"Switching to another adapter...
Switching to another adapter..."

...appears before the computer tells me that the "Connection Failed".

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks
 

TerryNet

Terry
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Is there somewhere I can check to see if this hardware exists or is configured correctly?
You first look in Device Manager. Does a wireless adapter show under Network Adapters? Seem to be OK?

Any yellow or red warnings/errors or "unknown" devices in Device Manager?

If all is well in Device Manager the next stop is Network Connections. Is the wireless connection there? Is it enabled?
 
Joined
Dec 6, 2003
Messages
1,936
You can also flip the laptop over and unscrew the compartment with the wireless card (it's actually a mini PCI card in a slot with an additional wire that is easily removed). If the card is missing, you have your answer.

Courtney
 

TerryNet

Terry
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Unplug the PC and remove the battery when doing that. If the card is there make sure it is not loose.
 

jrnetwork

Thread Starter
Joined
Aug 10, 2005
Messages
103
Thank you for your responses,

I looked in the Device manager and the only thing there is "Intel(R) PRO 100/VE Network Connection", which I'm guessing is the adapter that lets me connect through the ethernet cable. In the start menu, however, is a program called "IBM High Rate Wireless LAN MiniPCI Combo Card", which also gives me the same "Unable to Connect to Wireless NetCard, is it inserted?" message.

I'm thinking I may have somehow caused the computer to stop recognizing the card as I tinkered with it, since I seriously doubt they took out the card. Is this possible? I will look for a screwdriver in the morning and check. There are two removable 'things' (for lack of a better word) at the bottom of the laptop; one closer to the front and the battery, and one closer to the back and the fan. Any idea as to which one of these it is? (I will check both but if only one is empty I'll need to know if it's where the wireless card should be).

Thanks
 

jrnetwork

Thread Starter
Joined
Aug 10, 2005
Messages
103
Okay, I unscrewed the compartment lids and took a look under them but I wasn't sure whether or not there was a card there or not. I decided to take some pictures and see if maybe somebody here could be of some help. I apologize for the very bad resolution but lighting is horrible at these hours. But I hope something can still be made out.


Compartment One (Closer to the front by the battery)


There's a Texas Instrument logo on it. According to my device manager, I have one Texas Instruments component on my PC and it's a "Texas Instruments PCI-1410 CardBus Controller" - whatever that may be. So I think the Wireless card should be under this next cover:



But I can't tell if there's anything there or missing. Can anyone solve this mystery for me?
 

JohnWill

Retired Moderator
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106,425
Actually, that card in the socket with the large chip on it is most likely the wireless card. Do you see two small cables running to it on individual connectors? Those would be the antenna cables. You need to remove and reseat that card. Do NOT disconnect the antenna cables, they're pretty small and fragile, just move the card out of the socket and back in to insure a good contact.

Note, be SURE to remove the battery from the laptop before doing anything like this!
 
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Is there even a card in that slot? The TI chip is a controller chip. To me it looks like its empty.
 

jrnetwork

Thread Starter
Joined
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103
I looked and I could not find any cables :S
I took a better lit picture to see if you could maybe point them out to me, if I missed them.



Also, I took a picture from the side because I'm not sure that's the wireless card since it has the audio/usb connections right next to it.
 

TerryNet

Terry
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I agree; PCIbus is what the mini-PCI wireless card would connect to.
 

JohnWill

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You're right, with the better pictures, you can see that the mini-PCI slot is empty. You have no wireless capability. :)
 

jrnetwork

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Joined
Aug 10, 2005
Messages
103
Haha, well thank you all for your help. I guess I don't. Since I don't know too much about the internal workings of computer hardware I think I will buy a USB Wireless Adapter for this laptop.

Thanks!
 

TerryNet

Terry
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If you look on the PC manufacturer's web site you may be able to determine the original mini-PCI card and buy an exact replacement. If you can do so that is by far the most convenient and best.

2nd best and convenient is a PCMCIA (CardBus or Notebook) card.

Some people like USB wireless adapters, and they have their advantages, but many find them less reliable and less convenient with a laptop.
 

JohnWill

Retired Moderator
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The problem with USB adapters in a laptop is usually if you move the machine with the adapter plugged in, the USB ports are pretty fragile, and bumping the adapter on something will frequently break the USB port.

I can't tell you the number of times I tell people that, and I'm getting pretty good at taking laptops apart and soldering and gluing the USB and power port connectors together again.
 
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