Wireless connection keeps dropping out

  br1anstorm 21:43 31 Aug 08
Locked

I have a laptop running XP Pro, with (usually) a wireless connection to my NetGear DG834Gv2 router which is right beside it on the desk. The wireless connection is WPA-secured. There are no other networks/routers within range.

This wireless connection has worked flawlessly for oh, more than a year. Just in the last few days it has started misbehaving. It tries to connect, but fails. Occasionally the connection seems to last a minute or so, then fails again. And this evening, for the first time, the systray icon briefly showed a balloon saying the laptop was connected to my (identifiable, named) network, but showed the SSID name followed by "(unsecured)". Then it dropped out again.

I have connected a wired Ethernet link and logged in to the router. All the settings appear to be correct. And I can connect to any other website with the wired connection - so the router connection to my ISP seems OK.

I have shut down overnight and switched off the power to the router, then powered it up and tried again. Same behaviour.

The only other recent changes I have made were to load the latest update (7.0.483) to ZoneAlarm Free firewall, and to install the latest bunch of Microsoft updates. And I have AVG 8.0 Free Edition antivirus.

Can anyone advise on how to check/troubleshoot my wireless connection - or post a link to a step-by-step guide?

  brundle 22:49 31 Aug 08

You've done the basics. Check for new or updated drivers for your wireless hardware. Remove and re-install your current driver if you haven't already.
Even considering there are no other wireless networks in range, try changing the wireless channel to 1,6 or 11 and remove the profile for your current wireless connection.
Change or re-enter your wireless encryption passphrase.Re-establish the connection as if you were setting it up for the first time. Disable ZoneAlarm while troubleshooting.

  br1anstorm 23:27 31 Aug 08

Thanks, brundle. Just one or two simple questions (my tech expertise is limited!). Should I do all the things you suggest, and in that order? Or is that a menu from which I should select? And how exactly do I check for "new drivers for my wireless hardware" (is this for the Netgear router, or for the wireless modem thingy (Broadcom ....) inside my laptop?

FWIW, I have just tried to make the wireless connection with ZoneAlarm disabled. Same behaviour, same problem.

I have also tried the "Windows repair" option when that popped up. Didn't help, though I now have the resulting diagnostic log (which I fear means little to me).

And incidentally the wireless setting is on channel 11.

If I have to re-set it all up from zero, so be it. But at the moment I have half a loaf (wired connection and good ADSL to the Internet). I'm a bit concerned that if I start messing with the settings I may end up with no loaf (no connection) at all... Is it just a matter of re-entering the wireless settings (only) in my router login screen?

  brundle 23:55 31 Aug 08

Yes do them in the order I listed them - your wired connection is safe, there is a clear division between a wired and wireless connection in logical and practical terms, even though it all appears to be one and the same thing. Changing wireless settings/passphrase/channel won't affect your wired connection to the internet.
Look for device drivers at the manufacturer's site
(your laptop manufacturer) - what's the make/model?

You don't need to completely the wipe the wireless setup on the router, but it would be best to change the passphrase. You would benefit from deleting the wireless connection from XP itself - are you using the a wireless management program that came with the laptop, or is it Windows built-in one? The Windows one is almost always the best option. If/when you re-install the Broadcom you may be asked if you want Broadcom software to manage the wireless connections or let Windows do it - choose the latter.

  chaudha 00:04 01 Sep 08

so what is your wireless router connecteD to? is it a moDem? normally there is a main pc which is connecteD by a wire to the router, which is connecteD to a moDem (proviDeD by your isp).

i woulD suggest powering everything off, Disconnecting the power sockets too. leave them off for 5 minutes then turn on your moDem anD let it loaD up. next power up your router. after that has loaDeD power up your pc/laptop that is wireD to the router.

log onto the router settings page anD check all the settings, applying them again as you go. maybe Disable the security until things start working. if things go ok then enable it again, this is just to make it easier while you are troubleshooting. hopefully things will be working now.

otherwise as brunDle suggesteD you shoulD try upDating the firmware. to Do this you must go to the netgear website, search for your netgear moDel anD DownloaD it:

click here

go into your router settings page again anD to the firmware part anD browse for where you saveD the upgraDe. these upDates are release to resolve common issues that people have since purchasing the router anD proviDe more features.

you can also try Different channels. you Don't neeD to worry about what these are, but Different routers work better on Different channels. 11 is quite a common channel that works for most people. but you can try going through each of them anD see what happens. other than this, maybe contact netgear technical support anD see what they say.

  br1anstorm 00:15 01 Sep 08

brundle... your latest answer is hugely helpful and reassuring. In fact it now looks as if I may have cracked it without going through all those steps. While I was waiting and thinking, I deleted and re-entered all the wireless settings in the relevant screen/page of the Netgear router login. Then I shut down laptop and router, paused for a few minutes, then booted up again. Hey presto, wireless connection made automatically straight away, and (touch wood) it's holding firm, strong signal, 11.0 mbps speed as normal!

Witchcraft, I reckon. But I'm happy and relieved, and for the moment I'm not planning to uninstall/reinstall/update the Broadcom device driver, on the grounds that "if it ain't broke..."

PS - in case others read this thread,maybe I should add that my laptop is a Dell Inspiron 8600, and that if I recall correctly the wireless was originally set up using the Windows (Zero Configuration) manager.

Thanks again,brundle - I really appreciated that you took the time to offer such help - and i'm bookmarking and printing off this thread in case there's a next time!

  brundle 00:24 01 Sep 08

No problem, glad it's sorted.

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