Wireless Internet quit working!

By lilkruegs7 · 6 replies
Apr 3, 2012
Post New Reply
  1. My wifi connection quit working. For a week or two it worked when it wanted to and now it doesn't work at all. At home my mom can sit right next to me and hers will work fine but it wants me to connect an ethernet cord to get a signal. I also go to tech school with a pretty large system and it doesn't work here either! I'm getting really frustrated and don't know what to do any more!
  2. mike1959

    mike1959 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,034   +55

    Failed wifi connection

    It could be either a hardware fault, so if you are using a laptop with built in wireless card, that could be broken in some way.
    Or it could be a software problem with the drivers for your wireless device are faulty in some way.
    The easiest (and free) thing you can try, is to uninstall your wireless software then reboot the pc and it will make Windows reinstall it again.
    You need to go into 'Control Panel' 'Hardware' and then ' Device Manager',
    then look down the list for the line '802.11'
    Right click on it an choose 'uninstall drivers'.
    Then restart your pc, and you will see a notice 'Found new hardware' etc.
    You might find you now can get a connection to your wireless router.
    If that doesn't fix it, you can try and use a wireless adapter in a USB port.
    There are many makes that work, I have had good results with;
  3. lilkruegs7

    lilkruegs7 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I don't see the '802.11' in the device manager anywhere! Will any USB adaptor work even if I don't have that brand router?
  4. mike1959

    mike1959 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,034   +55

    Ok, not sure which windows version you are using, but in Device manager, click on the arrow to the left of 'Network adapters'.
    If you do choose to use a separate Wireless adapter in a USB port, the brand won't matter at all, but you can get more speed if you are using 'Wireless N' with the router AND the wireless adapter.

    It's more likely you have 'Wireless G' standard, so you can use a 'G' or 'N' USB adapter. I have tried a few brands. but when I tried a 'TP-Link' brand I had no problems at all, in fact I bought 3 of them over a few months for family pc users.
    I tried a very well known brand USB adapter, I won't name, it just failed time and again.
    The adapters have a driver disk in the box, so you just follow the easy instructions to install the files for your Windows, be it XP, Vista or 7.
    But it would be better if you could get the adapter that's built in, to work again, and by uninstalling the driver (802.11g) it will force Windows to install it again from it's own backup.
    If that does not fix it, then the built in adapter is suspect, can be replaced at cost, or then the option is to buy the TP-Link USB version. Hope that makes sense.
  5. lilkruegs7

    lilkruegs7 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I run with windows 7. When I go under 'network adaptors' the only thing that comes up is 'Atheros AR8152/8158 PCI-E FAST ETHERNET CONTROLLER (NDIS-6.20)'. I don't have the '802.11' and whenever I restart it doesn't show up either.
    As far as this USB adaptor goes, could you tell me where I could get that tp-link one or is that something I have to order online. In looking at different brands I have noticed there are three different "sizes". Is there a certain size that I need or will any of them work? Our interenet isn't very fast through our provider but would the larger one make it any faster or would that only work if the internet was better through the provider.
    Also, my computer is only 1.5 years old. would this wireless stuff be covered any type or warranty that you would know of?
  6. Cinders

    Cinders TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 872   +12

    If I'm not wrong the Atheros AR8152/8158 PCI-E FAST ETHERNET CONTROLLER is your built in wired network controller. Removing the driver for that device and rebooting your computer and letting Windows reinstall the device driver won't help in this case not that you've been asked to do that.

    The probable reason you don't have the '802.11' listed in Device Manager under Network Adapters is your wireless network device is broken. I've assumed you have laptop with built-in wireless networking that used to work. I mean it seems to have worked then worked intermittently then died. I don't think you have a driver issue here; I think the device is dead and will need to be replaced with an external device.

    If your warranty period is greater than eighteen months you could have a warranty claim. You'll have to trouble shoot the problem with one of their techs first, and then if the problem isn't fixed ship the laptop back to the manufacturer lock stock and barrel. They'll keep the laptop for a week or two and and then ship it back to you. It may or may not be fixed.

    I try to buy network adapters that match the brand and speed of my router. I do this out of the mostly mistaken idea that the same brands work better together. You have a router at home and an access point at school. I doubt they use the same brand, so when you do buy something look closely at the products reviews for complaints about equipment that breaks quickly or doesn't work fresh out of the box. Keep in mind that many of the reviewers are clueless, mistaken or just plain frustrated.

    I have old Linksys WRT 54G routers at my house that keep going and going. I also have an old Cisco USB wireless adapter that keeps going and going. Cisco bought Linksys a few years back, so they are the same company now, but I've always had good luck with them. I've had bad luck with Netgear and D-Link.

    Many companies put a bunch of money into the products they make, so they cost more. Much of that extra money is spent solving issues with firmware and drivers. I wouldn't buy the lowest cost hardware I could find for that reason. I'd buy something in the medium price range from either Cisco or Linksys.


    I'd try the above. It's cheap and fairly well reviewed.


    This TP-Link is even more well reviewed.

    Yes, you'll have to buy one of these devices. :)

    As far as the sizes go. Size should have no correlation to speed. You can't push your internet speed beyond what your ISP allows with any device. A wireless network adapter should match the speed of your router or better. Your intranet (the network behind your firewall) speed will usually be much faster then than your actual internet speed. For example, I have a very fast internet connection. I can pull in about 3MB a second and push out a little more than 1MB a second. My network (intranet) speed is roughly 3.5MB or (for both input and output over my wireless connection), roughly 54Mb per second. With overhead and other stuff, I get roughly 3.5 MB a second both up and down inside my network over a wireless connection. There is a difference between MB and Mb. MB is eight times as fast as Mb. Internet service providers like to advertise their services in Mb per second because the numbers are eight times bigger when they are measured in MB per second.
  7. mike1959

    mike1959 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,034   +55

    Hi lilkruegs7, Can't really add much more to what Cinders has written, it does sound as if the wireless board has failed, it's not a rare problem. In fact if you do get a USB Wireless adapter such as the TP-Link TN-WN321G as I have, or a more modern one, it will do two things.
    1) Give you connection to your router,
    2) Prove that the built-in board has failed.
    You will get a driver disc with the adapter, which gives you the software for Windows 7, and if my experience is anything, it will give you no trouble.
    It is so simple to get going, a really well thought out design.
    I am in the UK and mine cost £14 so in USA about $22.

    You can certainly get a replacement wireless 802 board, and it would be the neater option, if you don't want the adapter sticking out of the side of your laptop.

    I get a best download speed of 1.4 M bits/sec, so the 'G' adapter is far better than anything I need. But if you get or pay for a much faster speed then go for the 'N' version, as it also includes the 'G' version too.
    Mixing the brands really doesn't matter, as all the makers build their 'kit' to the 'G' and 'N' standards, and I have used TP link with Netgear/SKY routers and Thomson routers too, with no problems. See photo for view of the one I use.

    Attached Files:

Similar Topics

Add your comment to this article

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...