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Networking Questions and Answers - Dropping Wireless Internet Connection

John writes in with a networking question

Question:
I recently purchased a Toshiba Satellite laptop with Windows Vista pre installed. I have been having problems maintaining my wireless connection. I consistently lose the connection while in the process of web surfing, e mailing, etc. Each time I have to disconnect from the network (Verizon DSL) and then re connect in order to get a signal back. This occurs on a regular basis. I have lowered the security settings and also tried a different router but the problem persists. I have contacted Verizon and they have reconfigured the modem and still no luck. I have done the same with Toshiba, to no avail. I would appreciate any help/advice you could offer. Thanks! John

Answer: Since you have replaced the router we can most likely rule that out. One common problem with wireless signals dropping is having interference around your computer or router. If you have any 2.4Ghz phones or their bases close by you may want to move them since 802.11G operated at 2.4GHz. Microwaves will even cause problems.

The next question is are you losing connection to router or to the internet? Interference would most likely make you lose connection to the router. If you are still connected to the router but not the internet then it could be computer related. One thing you can try is to clear your DNS cache. Open a command prompt and type in ipconfig /flushdns and see if that helps.

You should also check your IP settings when you lose the connection. After the connection is dropped open a command prompt and type in ipconfig /all and make sure you have an IP address, subnet mask and gateway listed. The gateway should be the IP address of your router. The IP address should be similar to the router's IP address. For example if your router is set to 192.168.1.1 then your computer's IP address should be something similar to 192.168.1.2. If you are getting a 169.254.x.x IP address then your computer is failing to get an IP address from the router. I would then reboot without resetting the Verizon DSL and run the ipconfig /all again to see if you have a valid IP address.

Another test would be to borrow a wireless adapter. If its a laptop you can get a PCMCIA adapter or USB wireless adapter to see if it related to your current adapter. You can always buy one and take it back if it doesn't work.

 

 



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