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What could possibly cause a laptop to time out on wireless?

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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January 8, 2012 12:08:18 AM

Just got a new laptop, and when things are running via the net its blazing and runs great. But the problem im facing is randomly, maybe sometimes when i flip the lid up, or if im browsing and then after a bit...the connection will just time out, it will act as if there is no connection.

Yet all the while ill have full connection bars showing.

And it doesnt appear that im actually losing wireless signals anywhere else although i will check that. But what may cause this? Anything in particular that i may be able to check on or try?
January 8, 2012 1:07:50 AM

try running
ping google.com /t
from command line (have this running in the background. It'll run until you close that window)
When the browser times out, check to see if the link is still up (If the link is down, it'll give some sort of timeout message).
You also might want to try:
run
ipconfig
from command line, and copy the Default Gateway address
then run
ping <Default-Gateway-Address> /t
(replacing <Default-Gateway-Address> with whatever you copied above
and comparing that to the ping of google.
If both fail at the same time, then it's probably a problem with your wi-fi. If only the google fails, then the your wi-fi is working fine, it's the Internet connection to your wireless access point that's the problem
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January 8, 2012 4:36:55 AM

I will give this a try for sure tomorrow.

A bit of a side question i have is this, i bought this from Dell Outlet and it was over 1000 bucks...but it was certified refurb. Have you heard of many having success with these?

I guess im just making sure that if its by chance the machine that i can make my switch is all, but i guess my question to you is this...would you accept that from a machine pretty much right out of the box?
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January 8, 2012 4:48:45 AM

In my experience, the certified refurbs tend to be just as good, if not better than the new ones (I think they have a more stringent test procedure, but I'm not positive).

Since it is a dell, you can download their diagnostic tool and see if that pops anything interesting up (You'll need a cd, it's a boot iso)

Is it just with the web browser that you are noticing the problem?

Also, if by 'flip the lid up' you mean open the laptop and bring it out of sleep mode, a lot of times you'll have to reconnect to the wireless network. That's more of a Windows glitch than anything else.

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January 8, 2012 5:14:40 AM

Ahhh i didnt know that, interesting. Yea thats really the only thing and or time ive noticed...i will have to do some actual extensive testing on when it sort of craps out, but i think coming out of sleep mode may of been the culprit.

Outside of that i feel it really is a nice machine. The only other issue i did have was that i requested a 9 cell battery for it, this thing is pretty powerful and the 6cell was getting absolutely swallowed up for battery time.

Ill check into that diagnostic tool though, its pretty reliable?

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January 8, 2012 4:38:52 PM

I've had relatively good experience with it (although I've never used it to diagnose wireless, I'm not 100% sure it tests that). It may not find everything that's wrong, but if it does find something, Dell will almost certainly fix it as long as you are under warranty.

Yeah the number one way to diagnose anything is to check for patterns. Pattern analysis gets you one step closer to the root cause.

If you paid for a 9-cell, you should be able to contact the Dell Outlet support and swap out your 6-cell for a 9-cell.
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January 8, 2012 5:08:00 PM

One more thing:
A bit of googling got a couple things you could try if it is mainly upon waking that the problem happens:
Configure low-power mode on the driver:
http://www.sevenforums.com/network-sharing/121329-wifi-...
Several sites also mentioned un-installing then re-installing the wifi card driver

If you create a script with the following commands:
netsh wlan disconnect
netsh wlan connect <Insert-your-network-name-without-brackets-here>
and use the instructions given by Habanos here:
http://www.avforums.com/forums/home-entertainment-pcs/1...
your computer will automatically reset the wireless connection on resume.

Oh, and just a random word of advice: If you install lots of random programs like I have the bad habit of doing, back up your System PATH variable occasionally. One of the programs I recently installed (lilypond) decided that rather than appending its path to the end of the PATH variable, it would simply overwrite it. grrrrrr
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a b D Laptop
a b F Wireless
January 8, 2012 5:27:10 PM

I am a big fan of the ping idea, it will show when the loss occurs what is failing(ISP or wireless it self)

One thing to add is that some other devices will mess with wireless. Cordless phones(rare now days with 2.4 not being used as much as good old 1.9[dect 6]) , Bluetooth and microwaves. Those things(microwaves) just slow wireless to a crawl.

If you are in an apartment or campus, this may well be an issue.

If you find it to be this, a dual band N card and router will work wonders.

I have seen some wifi cards(on Acer notebooks) show full strength even when it was not full.

A last guess would be, if you are torrenting, some routers will crash out at the massive number of connections while others will see the high connection count as a issue and start to block the computer thinking it is attacking/being attacked for a short period of time(thus not disconnecting, but still unable to establish new connections). This can happen to wired computers as well

Wireless is fun no?

killersquirel11 said:
Oh, and just a random word of advice: If you install lots of random programs like I have the bad habit of doing, back up your System PATH variable occasionally. One of the programs I recently installed (lilypond) decided that rather than appending its path to the end of the PATH variable, it would simply overwrite it. grrrrrr

Programming at its best.
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January 8, 2012 5:33:46 PM

nukemaster said:
I am a big fan of the ping idea, it will show when the loss occurs what is failing(ISP or wireless it self)

One thing to add is that some other devices will mess with wireless. Cordless phones(rare now days with 2.4 not being used as much as good old 1.9[dect 6]) , Bluetooth and microwaves. Those things(microwaves) just slow wireless to a crawl.

If you are in an apartment or campus, this may well be an issue.

If you find it to be this, a dual band N card and router will work wonders.

I have seen some wifi cards(on Acer notebooks) show full strength even when it was not full.

A last guess would be, if you are torrenting, some routers will crash out at the massive number of connections while others will see the high connection count as a issue and start to block the computer thinking it is attacking/being attacked for a short period of time(thus not disconnecting, but still unable to establish new connections). This can happen to wired computers as well

Wireless is fun no?


+1 one the dual band router. I just got the Netgear N600 and I am a happy panda squirrel. I live in an apartment complex near campus where a typical wireless scan will return over 20 networks (all on channels 1, 6, and 11. The 2.4GHz part of my router is on channel 3 right now). Since everyone here falls into the poor college student demographic, they all just have the cheapest routers possible (hence wireless g). The 5GHz wavelengths are virtually unpopulated.
Since I feel like bragging rights, this is one floor and a hundred feet or so away through multiple walls:


If you have an android, the free WifiAnalyzer app could also come in handy
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a b D Laptop
a b F Wireless
January 8, 2012 5:40:40 PM

killersquirel11 said:
Since I feel like bragging rights, this is one floor and a hundred feet or so away through multiple walls:
http://www.speedtest.net/result/1682330542.png

If you have an android, the free WifiAnalyzer app could also come in handy

Damn MY internet sucks.....19 down/0.9 up on a good day. I can live with the 19 down, but 1 up(I can get a massive 2 up for 10$ more ). that just sucks....
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January 8, 2012 6:07:19 PM

nukemaster said:
Damn MY internet sucks.....19 down/0.9 up on a good day. I can live with the 19 down, but 1 up(I can get a massive 2 up for 10$ more ). that just sucks....


Yeah I live in an apartment with 4 other guys. The basic free internet that came with the apartment was 3Mbps down/up. That just didn't cut it (Anyone playing an online game could instantly tell whenever anyone else started downloading or streaming anything). So we decided that $45 a month (nine bucks a month per person) was worth the 50Mbps download. And somehow I still have lag issues as a host in CoD:Blops..... Torrents are nice and speedy though (Ubuntu desktop in under 5 minutes :)  )

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a b D Laptop
a b F Wireless
January 8, 2012 7:14:21 PM

If you have a QOS(quality of service) option on your router(or gateway if you went that route), it may help games.

Without it all packets get the same priority with it, real time packets like games and streaming media get first go. It does not slow downloads in any noticeable way.

Many routers also let you give priority to certain things(such as your server).
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