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Troubleshoot Wireless Issues

Verify that the network adapter is being seen by the operating system:

Go to Device Manager (Right click My Computer/Manage/Device Manager) and look for “Network Adapters”. Make sure your wireless adapters are Enabled and working correctly. If the card has a exclamation mark over a yellow background, then this is an indication that the card is experiencing a problem.

It is possible to disable the transmitter of the wireless card without Device Manager showing any problems. Most wireless cards will put an icon in the system tray (the line of icons in the lower right corner of your screen). Right click this icon and it may have a menu option to enable/turn on the wireless radio.

Check for association to an Access Point:


If you click the network system tray icon, the configuration utility of the wireless card will appear. This utility will be able to show the status of the wireless card, showing what channel the card is using and what signal strength is being received. It may be difficult to maintain a connection if signal strength is low due to either interference or distance. For example, interference can be caused by 2.4GHz cordless phones, other Access Points in the area, and physical structures such as load bearing walls or metal partitions.

Note: The utility can be used to configure the wireless card settings, but if using Windows XP Zero Configuration or Access Connections, you will need to use those programs to actually configure the wireless card as they will overwrite the setting of the utility.

Check the SSID (the Network name of the wireless network you are trying to connect to) and security settings:

Note: The SSID and WEP key are case sensitive.

The connection will fail if the SSID is incorrect.
The most common security setting is the use of a WEP key. This involves using a 5 digit alphanumeric key for 64bit encryption or 13 digit alphanumeric key for 128bit encryption. Some systems will only allow a hexadecimal (0-9, A-F) key of either 10 (64bit) or 26 (128bit) characters. It may be necessary to convert your alphanumeric key to a hexadecimal one in order to connect properly.
Note: It may also be necessary to temporarily disable the security features in order to check for basic connectivity.

Verify that the most recent driver for the adapter is installed.

Verify the hardware compatibility with the Access Point:

Often, vendors of Access Points will add features to improve their product. Unfortunately, these extra features are not always compatible with all hardware. Consult the product documentation for the Access Point about the possible need to disable these features. Also, there are often new firmware updates to an Access Point that may solve some issues. Again, consult with the Access Point manufacturer for updates.

Verify that TCP/IP (or other appropriate protocol) is properly installed:

Right-click the My Network Places icon and select Properties. The wireless card should be present as Local Area Connection.
Right-click the appropriate Local Area Connection and select Properties. In the Properties window, make sure that the Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) is installed.
If TCP/IP is not installed, click Install, click Protocol, and then click TCP/IP.
Once installed make sure that Obtain an IP address automatically, and Obtain DNS server address automatically are checked (if using DHCP). To verify this, highlight the TCP/IP protocol, and select Properties.
Note: Only use a Static IP Address if your network/Service Provider requires one.

Verify the TCP/IP address:

Click Start, select Programs, select Accessories, and then click Command Prompt.
Type the command, ipconfig. This will list the IP address for the local machine.
If this returns a 169.x.x.x or address, then type the following commands, ipconfig /release and then ipconfig /renew. You should then receive a TCP/IP address appropriate to your network, along with a Default Gateway address.
Try to communicate with it by typing this command ping x.x.x.x where x.x.x.x is the IP address of the Default Gateway.
If this does not give a reply (see the example in step 9) or you did not receive a TCP/IP address, go to the next step.
Ping the loopback address:

Click Start, select Programs, select Accessories, and then click Command Prompt.
Type the command, ping This will send a message to the internal network stack on the machine. You should see a response like this:
Pinging with 32 bytes of data:

Reply from bytes=32 time Reply from bytes=32 time Reply from bytes=32 time Reply from bytes=32 time

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

Verify that the hardware is functioning using diagnostics.

Right click the network system tray icon and click “Diagnose Problems” or “Troubleshoot Problems”¬†diagnostics on the wireless card.

Install latest Service Packs for Operating System or Network Client:

It may be necessary to install Service Packs for either the operating system or for any additional network clients that may be installed. Contact the software vendor for these updates which are usually free downloads.