laptop dropping wifi connection every 5mins

Discussion in 'PC and I.T support/Advice posts' started by wemorgan, Jul 13, 2011.

  1. wemorgan

    wemorgan MB Enthusiast

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    My newish laptop has recently developed a fault. Every 5 mins or so it drops the wi-fi connection. I beleive that's what's happening as all web pages time out and I can not even log in to the router.

    The wifi icon shows connected throughout though.

    No messages are left in the Event Viewer log.

    All drivers on the laptop are up to date as is the firmware on the router.

    My other laptop works all OK.

    Any pointers much appreciated. Thanks.
     
  2. markmifsud

    markmifsud MB Enthusiast

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    a few things come to mind. check you have no power saving modes enabled that allow the wifi to be controlled.

    bring up a cmd window and type the following
    ping 8.8.8.8 -t

    then press enter, it should start to ping and reply non stop, check if this stops when your web pages die, or even if it now stops the error
     
  3. John

    John Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    There could be a number of reasons so it is trial and error job.

    Assuming you've tested your other laptop exactly at the same time your other one is dropping out, you've ruled out a fair bit (including the router).

    If not, ensure you do try that.

    If still OK when the duff one is playing up, then depending on how new your laptop is, it could still be duff WiFi drivers.

    I've seen a situation where a brand new laptop with a not technically-new Intel Wireless chipset has had problems dropping out and newer drivers fixed so I would start there. This was made worse by the fact it was only with some routers and not in say hotels. ARGH.

    If there aren't newer drivers, there could be some in the near future. Worse-case, use drivers from the manufacturer if they have a newer set.
     
  4. OP
    OP
    wemorgan

    wemorgan MB Enthusiast

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    It's been running ok for 15mins now. :) Most pings are 30-40ms but then every 50 pings or so the time is 100-300ms for a couple of pings then back to normal.

    Interesting side effect is that I am now not always able to log on to my router 192.168.0.1.

    Does this mean anything?

    Thanks

    edit: my wifi is failed again now. The ping 8.8.8.8 -t came back with a few time out lines then carried on.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2011
  5. markmifsud

    markmifsud MB Enthusiast

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    ok, try the ping with the router ip address. what we know so far is that its not a temp loss of dns, but a loss of connectivity. also, I doubt its any power saving issues as the ping would have kept the connection open.

    If you see the same dropouts pinging your router, then as above, try newer, older or base drivers for your card
     
  6. Tan

    Tan MB Enthusiast

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    I have a similar problem, but mine is with all laptops Mac or PC and iPhone and iPad. Virgin came out and said it was the signal being fed into the router and put a filter on it. But still the same so they are coming out again to replace the router. Funnily enough, things are ok if I am am close to the router.
     
  7. Sp!ke

    Sp!ke Administrator

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    Most modern laptops have a power save option in the advanced driver settings which could produce similar sounding symptoms.

    Maybe worthwhile checking this.
     

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  8. The G.F.P

    The G.F.P MB Enthusiast

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    ring your isp and ask them to change the channel

    if someone has new wifi in your area on your channel this sort of thing happens all the time
     
  9. Sp!ke

    Sp!ke Administrator

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    Much easier to use a wireless sniffer (free) to see if this is the case yourself and then if needs be make the changes yourself.

    Worthwhile installing the sniffer on a different device to see if the problem is replicated at the same time to multiple devices or not, that way you can see if the fault is at the router side or client side very quickly.
     
  10. markmifsud

    markmifsud MB Enthusiast

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    He has already said its just this one laptop that has the problem, so I doubt its channel interleave issues.
     
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  11. John

    John Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    The timing of the testing of the working laptop is important which is why I highlighted it.

    If the working laptop is tested day1, and then day2 the non-working laptop is used, it could still be a channel issue.

    However, if the pattern of drop out continues with one and not the other, while both are connected, this would definitely rule out channel issues.

    Most modern routers have an auto-channel option to solve that.
     
  12. dickchailey

    dickchailey Active Member

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    Do try turning off power saving on the wireless device. I do support in a school one day a week and about a third of the laptops suffer the same problem unless we turn off the feature. Depends on the make and driver. Dells with the Dell wireless manager are fine, Intel wireless cards seem to give most problems.
     
  13. OP
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    wemorgan

    wemorgan MB Enthusiast

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    Thanks everyone. I'm trying some different drivers for now. We'll see how it goes.
     
  14. The G.F.P

    The G.F.P MB Enthusiast

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    fix it with the big hammer

    wireless is a never ending pain

    more often than not it will work when it wants

    i run ...

    ps3 - ethernet
    360 - ethernet
    pc - ethernet
    ds - wifi
    sony vaio - wifi
    evoke internet radio - wifi
    intempo internet radio - wifi
    other internet radio - wifi
    3 or 4 mobile phones - wifi

    never more than 2 or 3 at the same time but always find my internet radios are the most easily disturbed and just need turning off then on

    the 360 is a pain too for cod as regularly says strict which means resetting router

    i hate all things electronic
     
  15. OP
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    wemorgan

    wemorgan MB Enthusiast

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    I tried an older driver - no result
    Rolled back the router firmware - no result
    Changed DNS addresses - no result
    Removed the wifi WPA security - so far no drop outs :)

    One slightly odd thing though. All web pages load fine, but still from time to time I can not log in to my router. Does this give an indication to the problem? Also, not having security is not a long term plan. Any thoughts?

    Thanks.
     
  16. st13phil

    st13phil MB Enthusiast

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    Whenever I've had flaky Wi-Fi connections that drop at random and the problem seems to be solved by opening up security on the router I've ended up just changing the router. Most likely there's some obscure chipset compatibility issue that you'll chase around forever without ever solving.

    In the past I've ended up wasting so much time chasing around changing drivers and everything else I might as well have spent the £80 —£100 at the start.
     
  17. ghummy

    ghummy Active Member

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    your not by any chance using the virgin media superhub with built in wifi router?
     
  18. OP
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    wemorgan

    wemorgan MB Enthusiast

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    I'm on BT standard broadband using a Netgear DG834G router/modem.
     
  19. jepho

    jepho Active Member

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    If it is a newish laptop it ought to be covered by some sort of warranty, rather than waste your own valuable time, let the vendor deal with the issue if the issue is really exclusive to this newish machine and does not happen with your other wiFi enabled hardware.

    One solution, if you want to solve the issue for now without involving the laptop vendor, is to hard wire the router and laptop together. Have you got access to gigabit ethernet and some cat 5 or 5e network cable?
     
  20. John

    John Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    In diagnosing this myself, if you are saying you cannot always logon to the router, then it still sounds to me like the wireless is dropping out.

    If we start at the beginning, your other laptop works fine, I presume via wireless.

    This rules out everything from the Internet connection all the way up to the router (but not including the router).

    So, on the duff laptop, I would open up another cmd (START > RUN > 'CMD' > [OK]).

    Then type ipconfig and look for the Default Gateway. With the router you have, it should be 192.168.0.1.

    Whatever the Default Gateway is, type in the following command and leave it running and then use the laptop as you were:

    ping -t 0.0.0.0

    (where 0.0.0.0 is the Default Gagteway e.g. ping -t 192.168.0.1)

    Then see what happens. You should get something like this repeating down the page:

    Reply from 192.168.0.1: bytes=32 time=1ms TTL=255

    If not, wait for a while until you do as it could have dropped out at that moment.

    Once you get the reply from, then carry on using the Internet as normal.

    If you notice it stops working, have a look and see what the ping window is doing.

    If it is not saying 'Reply from 192.168.0.1: bytes=32 time=1ms TTL=255', it might be saying:

    Request Timed Out

    If so, wait and see what happens. The reply should return and then it should be working again.

    I am still in the 90's% certain it is your drivers, except that if a rollback to a previous version did not work, you need to find even more up to date drivers than those you were running when you first had the issue.

    This might mean going to the laptop vendor or even the WiFi adapter manufacturer (e.g. Intel).

    It could be the chipset in the router but I have the same router and have yet to find a WiFi adapter which doesn't work.

    You can turn off wireless and plug in with a network cable to see if you get any outage as suggested. If not, you know you are most likely dealing with a wireless adapter or router wireless issue.

    PS: No, you do not want WPA turned off, and ideally you want to use WPA2.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2011

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