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Solved: Unable to See or connect to wireless networks.

Discussion in 'Networking' started by rayfree, Apr 4, 2011.

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  1. rayfree

    rayfree Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 1999
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    The problem is that I am unable from my laptop to see or connect to wireless networks which I know are there. This is so even after doing a fair amount of research in these forums and taking various corrective steps which have not solved the issue.

    Background
    The laptop is very old – almost exactly 7 years. It is an IBM Think Pad Model(Type) 2897-B4U running Windows XP SP3 Build 2600.

    There is a built-in wireless adapter: Intel PRO / wireless LAN 2100 3B Mini PCI Adapter.

    Initially (2004) it worked fine. Over the years though, something happened to make it behave strangely. At one point I had it set up to connect to a particular wireless network using WEP with a certain key. It began not showing that this network was available even though I knew it was. This did not bother me because it continued actually connecting to the wireless network it said wasn’t there.

    At another point I bought a plug-in adapter – An 11a/b/g Wireless Card bus Adapter. This had no effect on the issue.

    Eventually the wireless quit working altogether – either adapter. However for a very long time I didn’t care since I hardly ever travelled with it, and the wired connection worked fine.

    Now, however, things have changed and I anticipate wanting to do a fair amount of travel with this machine.

    Steps Taken
    1. Checked to see that the “wireless switch” was on. Did some research to discover that this should be revealed by (Fn + F5) on my model Think Pad. However, pressing these keys gave some message about “unable to change power state.” More research indicated that I should turn on WLAN transport to correct this. So I did, and sure enough (Fn + F5) now showed the wireless switch was off. So I turned it on, but the only effect of this was that now the antenna tell-tale on the front of the laptop would blink indicating that the adapter was working. Well, progress at least.
    2. One recommended step was to update and re-install the drivers for the wireless adapters. This I did, with no result. (Besides scaring myself by mistakenly also deleting and re-installing the wired adapter’s driver.)
    3. Several posts on this forum suggested downloading and running a program called Xirrus. I did so, and both it (and Net Stumbler which I already had) showed that the wireless network was really there.
    4. Another suggestion in similar cases was to make sure that the WZC service was running. It is.



    Further information
    The wireless network I’ve using for testing has these characteristics: Implemented by a WAP54GPE. SSID is NISnet. SSID broadcast enabled. Channel 10. Security WEP.

    Actual symptoms: green antenna icon flashes. I get a balloon saying “wireless networks detected, click here to see a list and connect. However, when I click on the balloon the resulting window says there are no networks in range. This even though the test network's wireless access point is only about 20 feet away.

    Result of ipconfig /all: (Built-in wireless card enabled.)

    Microsoft Windows XP [Version 5.1.2600]
    (C) Copyright 1985-2001 Microsoft Corp.

    C:\Documents and Settings\Raymond-CTO>ipconfig /all

    Windows IP Configuration

    Host Name . . . . . . . . . . . . : IBMport
    Primary Dns Suffix . . . . . . . :
    Node Type . . . . . . . . . . . . : Hybrid
    IP Routing Enabled. . . . . . . . : No
    WINS Proxy Enabled. . . . . . . . : No

    Ethernet adapter Local LAN:

    Connection-specific DNS Suffix . :
    Description . . . . . . . . . . . : Intel(R) PRO/100 VE Network Connecti
    on
    Physical Address. . . . . . . . . : 00-06-1B-DE-20-DC
    Dhcp Enabled. . . . . . . . . . . : Yes
    Autoconfiguration Enabled . . . . : Yes
    IP Address. . . . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.1.1
    Subnet Mask . . . . . . . . . . . : 255.255.255.0
    Default Gateway . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.1.254
    DHCP Server . . . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.1.254
    DNS Servers . . . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.1.254
    Lease Obtained. . . . . . . . . . : Saturday, March 19, 2011 1:42:27 PM
    Lease Expires . . . . . . . . . . : Saturday, March 19, 2011 2:42:27 PM

    Ethernet adapter Wireless Network Connection:

    Media State . . . . . . . . . . . : Media disconnected
    Description . . . . . . . . . . . : Intel(R) PRO/Wireless LAN 2100 3B Mini PCI Adapter
    Physical Address. . . . . . . . . : 00-0C-F1-06-EA-69
     
  2. TerryNet

    TerryNet Moderator

    Joined:
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    Terry
    You said that you are using WZC, so make sure you don't also have the Intel Proset or any IBM wireless utility running.

    If that doesn't cure the problem make sure you have the latest Intel wireless driver and utility from IBM's (Lenova's) web site and try the Intel Proset utility (making sure WZC is not running).
     
  3. etaf

    etaf Moderator

    Joined:
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    First Name:
    Wayne
    can we also see an xirrus screen shot

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Run Xirrus Wi-Fi Inspector Download and install
    If you cannot access the internet with this PC, then you will need to copy the program across to the faulty PC

    http://www.xirrus.com/library/wifitools.php
    Direct link to the program is here http://www.xirrus.com/library/wifi_download_redirect.php
    Then run and install the program - on a wireless enabled PC/Laptop
    if you get an error - You need NET Framework installed for the WiFi Inspector to function.

    Run the program

    post a screen shot of the program running - if there are a lot of networks showing can you click on "networks" top lefthand area - so we can see all the network information, and also post which network "Adapter Name" (1st column) is yours on the list

    To post a screen shot of the active window, hold the Alt key and press the PrtScn key. Open the Windows PAINT application and Paste the screen shot. You can then use PAINT to trim to suit, and save it as a JPG format file.
    To upload it to the forum, open the full reply window and use the Manage Attachments button to upload it here.
    Full details are here http://library.techguy.org/wiki/TSG_Posting_a_Screenshot

    Note:
    For a reliable (or robust as the Xirrus user guide says) wireless connection you need a signal of about -70 dBm or better.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
     
  4. rayfree

    rayfree Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 1999
    Messages:
    39
    Thank you! TerryNet: after some more research and tinkering prompted by your post I’ve greatly increased my understanding and have also made some progress. See below.

    Etaf: The Xirrus screen shot is attached as per your post.

    First the good news. I can now communicate using the built-in wireless adapter. :) The bad news is that I had to disable security at the WAP (wireless access point) to do this :confused:. Also, the plug-in wireless adapter (the 11a/b/g card) is still not working. Things done in order:

    1. Went to the “properties” of the built-in wireless card and unchecked the box “Let Windows configure ..”
    2. Manually turned off the WZC service.
    3. There was something called IBM Access Connections which said it was running the card. It saw NISnet, but would not connect.
    4. I disabled security on the WAP which implements NISnet, and then the connection worked.
    5. The other card – 11a/b/g plug-in card – still does not work.
    6. After taking these steps, (Fn + F5) now says the wireless card is not configured correctly. I believe this is because WZC is turned off.

    More Information about the laptop and the WAP

    The WAP is running in mixed mode, meaning that it should support both 802.11b and 802.11g communications.

    The built-in wireless adapter is only capable of 802.11b (11 Mbps.) The driver version is 1.1.5.0 dated 3-7-2003.

    The plug-in wireless adapter can handle 802.11 a, b or g meaning that it should be able to run at 54 Mbps. The driver version here is 2.4.1.21 dated 7-3-2003.

    The built-in wireless adapter is being run by “IBM Access Connections”. Supposedly there is some way to set up a location profile with this, but I don’t see how to do it. The version of this software is V 2.62.

    The plug-in wireless adapter has its own utility called the “IBM Client Utility.” This is at version 2.4.1.26 dated 9-15-2003.

    My earlier statement that the drivers were at the latest levels was not accurate. I’ve located on a Lenovo website more recent versions of the built-in wireless driver (V1.2.4.41 dated 5-8-2006) and of IBM Access Connections (now apparently called Think Vantage Access Connections because – I suppose – IBM sold the laptop biz to Lenovo.) The ThinkVantage Access Connections is V5.72 dated 9-24-2010. These have not yet been installed.


    Restated Problem

    Since the built-in wireless adapter is capable of only 802.11b support at 11 Mbps while the plug-in wireless adapter can handle 802.11 a/b/g at up to 54Mbps, it makes sense to keep the built-in disabled all the time and use the more capable plug-in.

    So the problem now is getting this adapter & client utility to work with an actual WEP network and running at 54 Mbps. I will double check if there are any more recent versions of the 11a/b/g card's driver or the IBM client utility.

    Meanwhile, it would appear that IBM access connections (controlling the built-in wireless card) is pre-empting the IBM client utility (controlling the plug-in wireless card.) The IBM client utility presents a window with virtually everything grayed out. How can I get the IBM access connections to “stand down” and let the IBM client utility work?
     

    Attached Files:

  5. TerryNet

    TerryNet Moderator

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    How have you disabled the Intel adapter? If you are not going to use it for sure then disable in the BIOS (Setup) is best. But disabling in Device Manager or Network Connections should also be fine. (I know you said you disabled it, but just want to make sure you did not merely switch it off.)

    Can you uninstall IBM access connections? Or use msconfig to stop it from running automatically at startup?
     
  6. rayfree

    rayfree Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 1999
    Messages:
    39
    I've disabled the built-in adapter in Network Connections.

    Some more testing has led to further results:

    Disabled the built-in adapter and then enabled the connection for the plug-in adapter. The result is that it appears to be working :) but does not , for example, actually download any data when I change to a new site in my browser :(.

    Xirrus shows it up and running at 54 Mbps. Screen shot attached.

    The IBM client utility now does not have grayed areas, but is showing buttons I can click, etc. I have attached Status, Profile Management, Diagnostics, and Advanced Diagnostic screen shots from the client utility.

    These seem to show that all is well except for the Advanced Diagnostics which reveal that nearly all the frames have errors. All this is with security still disabled. It would appear that something really tricky is happening to mess up the frames.
     

    Attached Files:

  7. TerryNet

    TerryNet Moderator

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    Terry
    You now have the latest wireless driver installed, right?

    Does any other computer work with your wireless network?

    Start, Run, CMD, OK to open a command prompt:
    (For Vista or 7 type CMD in the Search box after Start)

    Type the following commands:

    IPCONFIG /ALL

    [Note that there is no space between the slash and ALL.]

    ping 192.168.1.55 (or whatever your current IPv4 address is)

    ping 192.168.1.1]

    ping 8.8.8.8

    ping yahoo.com

    Right click in the command window and choose Select All, then hit Enter.
    Paste the results in a message here.

    If necessary use a text file and removable media to copy the results to a computer with internet access.
     
  8. rayfree

    rayfree Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 1999
    Messages:
    39
    As for the wireless driver, no -- the latest is not installed. For the built-in one, I don't care and all my testing is now with that disabled.

    For the plug-in card, I found a more recent driver V4.0.0.140 dated 3-3-2005 and downloaded it and followed the directions for install. The Setup.exe indicated success and a re-boot necessary :). However, after doing the re-boot, the device manager still shows the older driver in use :confused:.

    I did have some success in defining a profile with the IBM Client Utility that includes WEP encryption. Then changed the WAP back to using encryption, and have a "connection" (that isn't really working.)

    Here is the output from your other suggested actions:

    Microsoft Windows XP [Version 5.1.2600]
    (C) Copyright 1985-2001 Microsoft Corp.

    C:\Documents and Settings\Raymond-CTO>ipconfig /all
    Windows IP Configuration

    Host Name . . . . . . . . . . . . : IBMport
    Primary Dns Suffix . . . . . . . :
    Node Type . . . . . . . . . . . . : Hybrid
    IP Routing Enabled. . . . . . . . : No
    WINS Proxy Enabled. . . . . . . . : No

    Ethernet adapter Wireless Network Connection 2:

    Connection-specific DNS Suffix . :
    Description . . . . . . . . . . . : 11a/b/g Wireless CardBus Adapter
    Physical Address. . . . . . . . . : 00-20-E0-37-27-A2
    Dhcp Enabled. . . . . . . . . . . : No
    IP Address. . . . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.1.55
    Subnet Mask . . . . . . . . . . . : 255.255.255.0
    Default Gateway . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.1.1
    DNS Servers . . . . . . . . . . . : 68.48.0.12
    68.87.96.15

    C:\Documents and Settings\Raymond-CTO>ping 192.168.1.55

    Pinging 192.168.1.55 with 32 bytes of data:

    Reply from 192.168.1.55: bytes=32 time<1ms TTL=64
    Reply from 192.168.1.55: bytes=32 time<1ms TTL=64
    Reply from 192.168.1.55: bytes=32 time<1ms TTL=64
    Reply from 192.168.1.55: bytes=32 time<1ms TTL=64

    Ping statistics for 192.168.1.55:
    Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
    Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
    Minimum = 0ms, Maximum = 0ms, Average = 0ms

    C:\Documents and Settings\Raymond-CTO>ping 192.168.1.1

    Pinging 192.168.1.1 with 32 bytes of data:

    Request timed out.
    Request timed out.
    Request timed out.
    Request timed out.

    Ping statistics for 192.168.1.1:
    Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 0, Lost = 4 (100% loss),

    C:\Documents and Settings\Raymond-CTO>ping 8.8.8.8

    Pinging 8.8.8.8 with 32 bytes of data:

    Request timed out.
    Request timed out.
    Request timed out.
    Request timed out.

    Ping statistics for 8.8.8.8:
    Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 0, Lost = 4 (100% loss),

    C:\Documents and Settings\Raymond-CTO>ping yahoo.com
    Ping request could not find host yahoo.com. Please check the name and try again.


    C:\Documents and Settings\Raymond-CTO>

    It is clear that there is no connectivity. Note that "wireless connection 2"s IP address is set manually along with the gateway IP address.
     
  9. TerryNet

    TerryNet Moderator

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    Terry
    Maybe try uninstalling the wireless driver that is now installed and then again try to install the updated one (although, it's kinda tough to call a 2005 driver "updated" :) ).

    Yes I did note that. Now can we see the same output for dynamic addressing and w/o encryption, please?
     
  10. rayfree

    rayfree Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 1999
    Messages:
    39
    Well, success! :):)

    I changed the network connection for the plug-in wireless adapter to be dynamic addressing, and then was able to connect and actually transfer data with "wireless connection 2".

    Upon reviewing the former manual configuration I discovered that it had an incorrect IP address for the gateway. Correct was 192.168.1.254 (the local router) whereas it had 192.168.1.1 (which was the correct value years ago.)

    Nothing was done to change the WEP, which is in use for my test WAP. So I have what I wanted to get: wireless capability at 802.11g speeds using WEP encryption.

    To summarize the working set-up:

    The 11a/b/g plug-in adapter is using an old driver and the IBM Client Utility. It works with WEP encryption.

    The built-in wireless adapter is disabled in "network connections." Its driver and Access Connections are also backlevel.

    The plug-in uses dynamic addressing. WZC is on. (Fn+F5) says "The wireless LAN adapter is not configured correctly."

    Xirrus does not start correctly (because WZC is on?) but Net Stumbler shows the network NISnet.

    Thanks for the help! This problem is solved.
     
  11. TerryNet

    TerryNet Moderator

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    First Name:
    Terry
    Super! You're welcome. :)
     
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