All the tips/hints/fixes/other information posted here are at your own risk. Some of the steps here could result in damage to your computer. For example, using a Windows registry editor like RegEdit could result in unintended serious changes that may be difficult or impossible to reverse. Backups are always encouraged.

07 October 2007

How I Fixed My Wireless

I have a Lenovo laptop with a Intel 2915abg wireless adapter, and I started getting several dropped connections. Troubleshooting a situation like this is difficult, because there are many places things can go awry. I tried several things before it started working well, but here's a full checklist if you want to go whole-hog to fix your wireless:

First of all, if you use a wireless utility like Intel PRO/Set or ThinkVantage Access Connections, make sure Wireless Zero Configuration is disabled in Run-services.msc -- it conflicts.

1) If multiple devices on your network drop their connections, there might be interference. Change the wireless channel and enable interference robustness (an Apple Airport feature, but it might be on other routers).

Ok, here's the intense regimen in case you suspect it's your PC that's whack:

2) Reset Winsock (Instructions) including restarts
3) Fully uninstall your wireless software (utility & driver) as well as antivirus, 3rd party firewall, other programs that may monitor your network and do the necessary restarts
4) Reinstall your stuff from step 3 (updated versions, if available)
5) Turn off power management (more info for Intel wireless) for your wireless adapter and instead decrease the transmit power (in advanced settings in Access Connections or hit the Configure button in Wireless properties if you use Windows XP to manage your networks) for power savings. I find a 25% (5 mW) transmission power to work very well (this is set in individual wireless network profiles in my setup, but you may have to just specify instead a global setting in the device properties. Your wireless utility might override device properties, so check out that area first).
6) If you have problems and you are using a particular encryption method, look for an update; e.g.: WPA2

Unless you have a special need for it, I recommend avoiding Microsoft TCP/IP Version 6. I can't prove it, but I don't think networking drivers for XP are quite ready for it. Maybe if you use Windows XP to handle all networking, it'll be ok, but stay away if you're still using XP-only 3rd party networking software or drivers.

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