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No Wireless Networks Detected in Range

Last response: in Wireless Networking
September 16, 2010 8:32:33 PM

I am setting up a batch of 5 IBM ThinkPad T41 laptops. They have integrated wireless network adapters that are Intel PRO/Wireless 2200. The users of these machines are logging onto a domain at the office with certain network folders synced to the laptops for use away from the office.

On initial setup, Windows detected my wireless networks just fine, and I joined them to the network with no problems. After a day or two though strange things started happening.

When logging on they are not being logged onto the network. Then sometimes after this it will connect to the network but sometimes not. When I try to view the available networks the list is empty and refreshing the list doesn't find any networks. Sometimes if I click on repair to fix the connection it will fix it but most of the time not. Even in those instances where it spontaneously connects to the network after log on or can be repaired to connect, the list of available networks remains blank even though it has connected and I can surf the net or browse our network and sync files just fine.

It does not seem to be the wireless adapter that is the problem. It appears Windows is the problem (surprise, surprise :sarcastic:  ). I installed a USB wireless adapter to see if it would connect. That one will connect as long as I use the adapter vendors software but it will not connect with the Windows utility. I don't really have a problem with using a vendor's software vs. Windows (aside from the fact that then the client doesn't connect to the network until after logon but that is tolerable in favor of stability). The problem with using the vendor's software in the case of the integrated Intel adapter is that when I install the Intel software that claims it is for my adapter the software tells me that I have no compatible adapter installed and therefore won't do anything. :pfff: 

I found the exact same problem in another couple threads here but the solutions are stuff I've tried. Strangely the threads are both worded almost identical but appear to be posted by different people.

Can anyone help me?
September 16, 2010 8:40:00 PM

I don't know why Windows is having problems with your wireless adapter -- but there may be a clue in the fact that Intel's own utilities can't find the adapter. Is it possibly you've used the wrong driver ? I found the Intel site quite confusing. In fact I didn't even find the utility for my Intel card.

An alternative is Lucidlink, a free wireless utility that seems to work with my Intel device -- I only installed it today but it seems to work and the download site reviews suggest that it's a decent piece of work.
September 17, 2010 12:20:39 AM

I hear you that Intel's site is confusing. However, I got the driver from IBM/Lenovo's site and verified it is the same one as is available for that adapter from Intel's site.

I don't know what I'm going to do. My users need these things to work in a reasonably seamless manner. :( 
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September 17, 2010 12:38:16 AM

I forgot to add that Windows doesn't seem to have a problem with the adapter per se. It recognizes the adapter just fine and says it is working properly. Windows just won't discover the wireless networks and it does that with either the Intel integrated adapter or the USB adapter stick I installed while troubleshooting. The USB stick works fine with the mfg's software but not Windows. The Intel adapter won't work with Windows and it won't work with the Intel utility that Intel claims is for it. Since neither works with Windows I can only surmise that the problem is Windows and not the Intel adapter. Why the Intel adapter won't work with Intel's own software (which seems like it should be the answer to my problem) is a mystery but not of critical importance unless someone can tell me how to make it work.
September 17, 2010 7:22:15 AM

So, it's clear that the USB wireless adapter works but only with its own utility, not with Windows. The Intel adapter won't work because the above issue applies -- and the the Intel utility doesn/t detect the adapter.

You would prefer to use the Intel adapter -- in which case I would suggest you download Lucidlink and give that a go.

Otherwise, go with the USB stick. There may be some mystery reason you're having this problem -- and maybe a reinstall of Windows might fix it -- but presumably that would be a last resort.

October 10, 2010 3:53:09 AM

I managed to stumble upon the answer to my question myself the other day while trying some other possible solutions. It seems the solution involves 2 steps:

1) Re-install Service Pack 3 for Windows XP. Available at . Restart the computer.

2) Install Windows Installer v 4.5. Available at . Restart the computer.

About the only thing I can figure out is that somewhere in a Windows Update (done automatically at shutdown) one of the updates overwrote a file that was vital for Windows to actually display the wireless networks when you click View Available Wireless Networks. This would explain why my laptops initially saw wireless networks and I connected to them but then suddenly no longer listed the available wireless networks one day (although would still actually connect to the ones I had initially configured). Hope this helps someone else.