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Wi-fi card working, Internet access available, but can't get on-line

Last response: in Windows 95/98/ME
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May 24, 2013 1:36:50 AM

Hi, I've got an old laptop running Windows 98SE (required by some custom software) that I've recently installed a PCMCIA wi-fi card to. There might not be a problem at all because I don't really know the first thing about setting up networks, but here's my issue.

First of all, the wi-fi card works great, it picks up great signal, no problems at all. Then, on the day that I installed the card, the Internet worked great as well. Since then, I've used the computer a couple of times, sometimes with the card inserted and sometimes not (I take it out for transport because it sticks out a bit and it could break) but I never got on-line. So my point is, Windows had the chance to recognise that the card is missing, I don't know if that's significant.

Then the other day, I wanted to go on-line again, and I couldn't make it work. My settings, as per the wi-fi card manual, are 192.168.1.2 and 255.255.255.0, with no default gateway and DHCP server specified - this is what worked for me on the day that I installed the card. What could be the problem is that the computer is now trying to access the internet through the ethernet port (which is not connected, but is present among the TCP/IP connections in Control Panel/Network, and works if connected), stops at that and doesn't bother trying to use the wi-fi card. Mind you, used the Release command in WINIPCFG, that didn't work; interestingly, the wi-fi card has the options to release and renew greyed out - I don't know if that's significant either.

Anyway, this is probably beginning to sound like a common thing - again, I've never have to set up a network that wasn't plug and play, and I don't really know what I'm making my computer do with all the IP's and subnets and masks. So I'd be really grateful if somebody could point me to a resource that would explain the basics and possibly help me troubleshoot these things in the future, as well - so far, I've only found answers to specific problems and I couldn't work out the logic behind them myself.

Oh, and pinging 192.168.1.2 and 127.0.0.1 works - but that's maybe only because 192.168.1.2 is set up in the Control Panel as the IP address, I don't know. Also, I've learned that with 192.168.1.x, x doesn't have to be 2 - is there a way to find out if the wi-fi card suddenly expects some number other than 2 there?

Thanks in advance to anybody that might help.
May 26, 2013 4:20:59 AM

OK, I'm rephrasing my question to a seemingly much simpler one, yet also one I couldn't find an answer to myself.

It seems that my problem is not the wi-fi setup at all, but the fact that Windows seems to default to the wired ethernet connection, and stick with it, so if there's no cable plugged in, well too bad, no Internet for me. So, my question now is: how does one choose which network is to be used for Internet access in Windows 98SE? If the procedure can be automated (in my case "use wifi first, if there's no connection, go to wired ethernet"), great, but I can't even figure out a way to do it manually - there just doesn't seem to be anything different about the wired option in the Control Panel/Networks application compared to the wi-fi one to suggest its priority.

Thanks again for reading, and for any help you may provide.
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May 31, 2013 5:12:39 AM

Set your IP configuration to DHCP for the wireless card, sounds like you set it to manual but you probably have not filled in all the info you need like DNS info.

Also keep in mind that many web sites will not work right with your older OS and web browsers.
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May 31, 2013 2:21:15 PM

Actually, the one reason I did not use DHCP until this point is because the manual for the wi-fi card was so adamant that I should use the 192.168.1.2/255.255.255.0 IP combo. Well, I selected the "Obtain an IP address automatically" option (which is how Win98 terms DHCP, I believe) just for the hell of it, and lo and behold, it WORKED - in fact, I'm writing this reply from my laptop using wi-fi like the proverbial boss.

So thank you, Hang-the-9, and for all the owners of LevelOne WPC-0300 wireless card out there, don't do what the manual says, *especially* if you don't know what you're doing.

P. S.: Thank you for your concern regarding using Windows 98 itself, but I am aware of its limitations, especially due to the fact they were my main and indeed only system until March of this year.
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