Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
Dropped WiFi connections are a pain, and hard to diagnose. I look at a few steps to take to solve the problem.
Occasionally when I start up my 8-year-old Dell Inspiron laptop, the Wi-Fi indicator in the sys tray will show limited or no connectivity. When I disconnect and then reconnect to my desired Wi-Fi network, the problem goes away. This happens at both my home network and at my vacation home. This problem first occurred about a year ago. Is this a sign of a failing Wi-Fi adapter in my PC?
In this excerpt from Answercast #41, I look at problems caused by dropped WiFi connections and some possible troubleshooting steps to take.
First, let me say that I feel your pain. I actually have experienced this on a couple of different machines in a couple of different places.
In fact, in many cases, I'm still exploring some of the things that I think might be related to the problem. Coincidentally, earlier today, I ordered myself, a new WiFi access point, thinking that perhaps the WiFi access point is the weak link in my system.
I have seen this on multiple machines. In fact, I've seen it on both my Mac and on my PC based laptops. So I can't really point a specific finger.
To address your question: it is not a sign of a failing WiFi adapter. I believe there's something else going on here.
The additional things to look for would include things like interference – electrical interference in the WiFi signal.
I had a question, just recently, from someone who had a microwave oven that, when they ran the microwave, would cause the WiFi connection between their laptop and their access point to drop. That's a known issue.
So, there are definitely opportunities for various kinds of interference to (well...) interfere with WiFi connections. So that's one place that I would start to look.
I would also make sure that your access points are nearby; that you have a clear, strong signal to and from the access points. And go that way.
But right now, I don't have a really, really clear answer that says, "This is the problem."
All I can really do, right now:
Is confirm that I have experienced this myself;
I have heard the experience from others;
I suspect a weak signal or interference of some sort.
Replacing the access point with one that is perhaps somewhat more powerful,
or more highly rated, or recommended, might be a solution. I'm just not sure
Next from Answercast 41 – Can I install a program to an external hard disk and have it be portable?
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