Computer won't recognize any wireless signal over 10 ft. away

By Sandra
Jun 15, 2009
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  1. Hey everyone. I've been reading these forums for a long time but have never posted before, and now I've got a big head-scratcher I don' t know how to solve.

    I have a Toshiba laptop that's almost three years old. It has internal wireless, and used to pick up signals from anywhere without a problem, even two stories away. Suddenly it stopped being able to connect properly to any wireless signal that's being transmitted from over 10 feet away. I know it's not my router because I have roommates whose computers will connect to our router everywhere in our house. And I don't think it's a software problem because I reformatted a few months ago and it didn't fix the problem.

    Interestingly, if I'm in a far-away room of the house, it will acknowledge our wireless signal, and even those of our neighbors, I still can't connect to our, or any network. The same thing happens when I'm at other people's houses: As long as I'm in the same room as the router, I can connect fine, but not from any further away. I also tried connecting via an external wireless card, but that didn't work either.

    I'm a freelancer who works from home, and it's killing me that I have a laptop I can't take out of the house. I'm getting some major cabin fever. Is anyone familiar with this kind of problem? I'm ready to take it somewhere to get fixed, but I just don't know where to start. It would at least be nice to maybe have some direction in terms of repair.

    Thanks, guys!
    Sandra
  2. Coxis

    Coxis Newcomer, in training Posts: 33

    I was gonna say that maybe the antenna wires got disconnected off of your wireless device, but if the problem persists even with an external wireless device then it really is a strange problem.

    Did the external wireless antenna work on the same premise? Connecting succesfully if in the same room of the router but not more than 10 ft. away?
  3. Sandra

    Sandra Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    The following might be completely irrelevant, but here's what I found.

    I just re-tried using a new external card, and had a completely different situation: No connection near the router at all, and a faint, workable connection in the far room where I usually never get a signal. When checking which network I was connected to, it says the network was called "default", which I'm guessing is my own network, even though my network is called 70b7, since there are no others in the network list by the name "default". It also says the very last digits of my IP address are different in the faraway room. (For example, if my regular IP address is 111.22.111.22, the IP address in the faraway room with the faint signal is 111.22.111.19. I don't know if that means a thing.
  4. raybay

    raybay TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    Upgrade the internal wireless card, through the door in the bottom. $16 to $22 on eBay.
    You are not going to make me believe this 22 and 19 are on the same machine.
  5. ComputerGuy55

    ComputerGuy55 TechSpot Maniac Posts: 530

    Ok well, if you have named your network 70b7, I'm guessing you have been into your router settings? If so, when you edited the settings you might have seen something called SSID, this is your network's displayed name on the network list, some routers have a function to not display this name, so other people cannot connect unless they know the name of the network.

    You could try setting up a manual Wireless connection, put the name as 70b7, then try and connect. Or if you want, go into the router settings and tell it to display the SSID, if you do this, I suggest adding a security key that you need to put in to connect to your network, to stop others from accessing it, and place it under the highest security your router will handle (WPA-PSK is recommended if you have it, good for home networks)

    Your IP on the network establishes which computer it is, each with its own number, your network would go 111.22.111.0 then 111.22.111.1, 111.22.111.2, each computer going up one number, usually, not always, sometimes its random. And after one is disconnected another computer can take that number, as long as it is not in use. If your IP is switching from room to room it is because you do not have a Static IP, which means, everytime you disconnect and reconnet you get a new IP, usually only after a restart of the router or machine, but maybe after you disconnect from the router.

    Your faint signal could be because you are connecting to an unsecure network close by, not the one in your house. If you happen to go into your router settings and change stuff, please make note somewhere, on you computer, write it down, have all the information incase something goes wrong, this way if you need to contact your ISP you will have information.

    One last thing to add, make sure you have the right drivers for your network card, search up your laptop model and get the drivers from the toshiba website.

    Hope any of this information helps.
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