09-26-2011 05:33 PM - edited 09-26-2011 05:34 PM
My computer has gradually been getting worse about connecting to wireless internet, and now it seems to have completely stopped. Perhaps it is a hardware issue and the wireless card has just become broken, but I don't know how to check whether that's the case. I don't know whether these are typical symptoms, and I don't know the correct terminology to search the internet for, because for everyone else asking about similar things it seems to be correlated with some change in software, whereas mine just seems spontaneous.
The computer is a Lenovo T61 Thinkpad from 2008, running Windows XP SP2.
Until the past couple of days, the computer would usually connect to the internet fine, but sometimes (and in some physical locations almost all the time; this started a few months ago, but was primarily associated with one physical location until a few weeks ago) the green wifi indicator light icon thing right below the screen would be off. When that happened, sometimes restarting the computer would fix it, but probably not most of the time. Sometimes I could right-click the wireless-icon in the system tray (a little computer monitor with green waves coming out of it) and click "Repair", and that would fix it maybe half the time (though sometimes it would take a few tries). When I would click "Repair", it would go through the "disabling wireless network adapter", "enabling wireless network adapter" (at which point the wifi indicator light almost always would turn on), "connecting to the wireless network", "renewing your IP address" (at this point the indicator light would sometimes turn off again; if it didn't turn off, then the connection would work, but often only for a few seconds or a few minutes before breaking again), "clearing the [DNS?] cache", and "registering with the DNS". Then it would say that it had repaired the connection, it would show that it was connected to the network, but (if the indicator-light had turned off) the system-tray icon would not be flashing back and forth between blue and gray, it would just stay gray. When I right-clicked on the system-tray icon and clicked "View Available Wireless Networks", it would show all the networks, and label the one I'm connected to as "Connected", but there wasn't any network traffic, web pages wouldn't load, email program said it failed to connect, etc. If I tried to connect to a different network, it would say that the network was no longer available and I should refresh the network list, but refreshing the list didn't change anything.
Occasionally the wireless-icon in the system tray would be completely absent. In those cases, sometimes I could go to Control Panel -> Network Connections and there would be an icon for the wireless connection, and when I would double-click that, it would say "Enabling ..." and then "Connection Failed!" (this method was never able to enable it). Other times, the wireless connection isn't even listed there.
Anyway, as of yesterday, the indicator light never turns on, and as of today, the system-tray icon and the "wireless connection" listing under Network Connections are also gone. The wireless adapter is also not listed in the Device Manager (I don't know whether it was before, I didn't check).
I called Lenovo tech support, and they said they weren't allowed to give me specific help because the computer isn't under warranty anymore, but they said it was likely a hardware issue. They advised running the ThinkVantage System Update as a first step, which I did, and that had no effect.
So, should I just buy a new wireless card, or is there something else I should try first?
09-26-2011 07:00 PM
Welcome to the forum!
To help us assist you better, could you please post the 7-character model number located on the sticker found on the bottom of the machine, should read something like 7661-ABC...
09-26-2011 07:37 PM
Nothing for you to be sorry for.
Since you have a CTO (configured-to-order) machine, I'm clueless on what your wireless card is...
That being said, could you please go here:
Download the file, and burn the CD in the ISO (bootable) format, then boot from the CD in question.
Check how your wiereless card behaves within Linux.
If it works fine, we'll be looking at a driver issue within Windows.
If it's flaky, we'll be searching for replacement options.
10-03-2011 01:49 PM
10-03-2011 06:51 PM
This sounds like an issue with your router, not your computer. When you reconnected to wireless, you just got a more stable connection this time. Many routers will assign a random channel, and recommend you try changing it if you get poor range/connection. If that happens again, check your router settings and FAQs.
Also to clarify, the previous member didn't ask you to install a different operating system, simply boot from the Live CD and see if your wireless worked better, to eliminate software problems in windows.
10-03-2011 10:45 PM
10-04-2011 11:58 PM
Ok, it's most likely not your router then, but offering this info in your initial post would have reduced the potential causes we can offer.
If the problem is definitely in your laptop, then it's either hardware or software. Installing a second windows installation is a good option to consider. I always install at least two operating systems on all my computers, then a simple reboot will tell me if any problems are hardware or software.
If it is hardware, then it might be intermittent, and difficult to reproduce, but odds are it will return, with increasing frequency. If it'ssoftware, it may have fixed itself, when you deactivated the wireless in windows so you could use the ethernet, then reactivated th wireless again. I've seen stranger things happen, so there is hope that this problem is over and won't resurface.
10-18-2011 12:44 AM
I wonder if the ThinkPad T61 downloaded any updates while it was on the wired network? If so, perhaps one of them was a device driver update for the wireless network card.
Share your input on the Retro ThinkPad Time Machine