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No connectivity with aftermarket WiFi card on HP Pavilion ze4125

Last response: in Wireless Networking
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August 2, 2010 6:15:01 PM

A coworker gave me her old HP Pavilion ze4125. It didn't come with WiFi when she bought it, so I bought an old card (a Broadcom BCM94306MPSG REV 6) plus antenna on Craigslist and installed them. I installed the driver and Windows recognizes it, but it gets next to no connectivity. At home, if I have it in the same room as the wireless access point (like 20-30 feet away), it gets a low-strength 5Mbps signal. Otherwise nothing, either at home or at work. If I plug in my USB WiFi adapter, it gets a good connection and I'm all set. But hooking up the USB one is a hassle and I want to use the internal card. This is a fresh install of XP SP3 with all the latest updates, and Windows Update found an updated driver for the internal card--but the connectivity hasn't improved. What gives?

I have unplugged and reseated the card, I've disconnected and reconnected the antenna leads, I've moved the wires (antennas) around inside the back of the LCD--I even took them out of the LCD altogether and laid them out on either side of the computer. Still I get no signal. Anyone have any ideas? Do some laptops interfere somehow with WiFi signals or something?
Anonymous
August 3, 2010 9:12:14 AM

HP have gained a nasty reputation for BIOS blocks on their laptops to stop users adding non-HP versions of otherside apparently identical equipment. But if you've got the Broadcom working this doesn't sound like the problem.


Instead, I would look at ensuring compatibility between the Broadcom and the router you're trying to connect to. Set the router's wireless to mixed mode and disable wireless security and Access List (MAC ID filter) options.
August 3, 2010 4:10:10 PM

Hey, thanks for the reply! I don't see anything in the BIOS that might be relevant. Then again, it's an old machine and in any case, as you say, since it does seem to work under certain conditions, that probably wasn't it anyway.

Wireless security here in the building is unsecured (it's public-access WiFi). I assume it's set to mixed mode, but not certain. At home, I have security enabled, but I know my router is in mixed mode and I'm not filtering MAC IDs. I could try turning security off at home, I suppose, but it does connect to my router successfully if it's in the same room. But if it's in another room (or here at work, or anywhere not right-damn-next-to the router), it doesn't even see the wireless networks that are around. Like right now I can see five networks in range (inc. the building's) with my USB WiFi card, but none show with the internal card. So frustrating!
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Anonymous
August 3, 2010 9:06:20 PM

"I don't see anything in the BIOS that might be relevant." You wouldn't -- it's just there blocking stuff on some machines, can affect CD drives too.

However that doesn't appear to be the problem. From the failure to detect wireless networks, most likely the wireless adapter is faulty. Though I would definitely try disabling wireless security on your home router and experiment with wireless mode and wireless channels.
August 3, 2010 11:24:26 PM

lol! Ya got me--I probably should've known you didn't mean something visible in the BIOS.

You may very well be right about the card being faulty, or no longer working right. It's an old card that was pulled out of an old laptop, so it may well be dying. I can play with the settings too. Thanks fihart!
August 4, 2010 3:28:33 PM

Hm, that's strange. I pulled it out and put in a card from an old laptop here at work that had been disassembled. It doesn't see any networks either. We-eird! Well, too bad--I guess I'll just have to stick with the USB adapter. I just hate to do that when this is supposed to have built-in WiFi capability. Guess I'll just have to make do for now.
Anonymous
August 4, 2010 6:22:07 PM

Well, you've checked the antenna so I'm as puzzled as you.
August 4, 2010 10:06:05 PM

Yeah...I disconnected the antenna I had installed in my LCD, and instead hooked up the antenna from this parted-out old laptop, just letting the wires stick out to either side of the laptop. And at that point I actually do see the building's WiFi (but none of the others around), and manage to get a low-strength connection. So even with a different card, and antenna, I'm still getting poor signal. It's probably something to do with the laptop itself, which means I'd be best off just forgetting this internal WiFi idea and use the adapter.
!