I'm the currently rather frustrated owner of an XPS M1530 laptop running Vista Home Premium 64-bit with a Dell 1505 Draft 802.11n wireless mini-card, that has been giving me no end of difficulty lately. I've tried calling technical support. I was transferred three times and was on the phone for over four hours, to no avail. The only option the guy said I have left is to re-install Vista (which I do not want to have to do). I'm hoping someone here might be able to help me. Here's my problem:
No matter what I (or the people in the software section of technical support) seem to do, my computer cannot consistently obtain a wireless connection to my home network. Sometimes on startup a good connection will be established that will not fail - I got one the other day that lasted for 24 hours, and I'm actually enjoying one right now. Most of the time, however, the computer can sit for hours trying to "authenticate" the connection to no avail.
The issue is not with the router (a Linksys WRT300N) or our home network, the settings for which were carefully picked over several times by the customer support agent. Moreover, every other wireless device on the network (two other laptop computers and an XBox 360 connected via wireless antenna) works perfectly fine. My computer is the only device to exhibit problems. The issue must be on my system.
Here's the twist: my home network is the only network that has ever presented me with difficulties. My wireless connection works great on my school's network, in hotels, and other public WiFi access points. So the issue must not only be local to my system, but also unique to whatever's going on on my home network.
The agent updated my Dell Wireless drivers to the current version for my equipment, namely 126.96.36.199, version A17. This has not solved the problem. (Although it may have improved things somewhat - beforehand, the connection at home would occasionally be established, only to drop out after 30 seconds or so, and then re-establish for another short burst several minutes later. Again, this behavior was only exhibited at home. Now, when I do manage to get a connection, it is stable.)
The agent also changed the channel used to communicate between my wireless router and the computer, to cut out any possible interference from cordless phones, etc. Again, no real fix. Then he did some fiddling around with the login/authentication settings which I didn't follow perhaps as closely as I should have (it was 11:30 PM and I was exhausted after a long workday, and the agent had control of my computer via remote connection - my ethernet connection works fine). No fix. Each time we though we had found a lasting solution, each time the agent managed to establish a stable wireless connection, we would restart the computer to be sure that the fix would last...and the wireless would go down again.
Eventually, I was informed that the only option I have left is the "nuclear option" of re-installing Vista and restoring my system from a backup I've made. They'll call back in 48 hours to see if I'm still experiencing trouble to guide me through the process. I think I've lost the Vista backup disks that came with the computer, which may prove to be a problem.
However, I'm not confident that even a complete re-install will fix the issue - if I recall, this computer has been giving me this problem since I pulled it out of the box at Christmas 2008. I'm a college student, and I haven't been home much, so I haven't actually had the time or the motivation to deal with the issue until now. If the problem was present on a brand-new computer, what good will effectively restoring my computer to "brand new" status do?
I've taken some notes and done some troubleshooting of my own since getting of the phone with the agent. Here's what I've found:
Also, the agent did something to the way my computer tries to connect to my home network. If the computer fails to establish a connection, the network indicator in the system tray blinks with the red "X" and the wireless symbol, along with displaying the dialog bubble about how "wireless networks are available." However, if I try to connect to our network via the regular Windows tool, an error message is always displayed, telling me that the attempt to connect was unsuccessful, and that the attempt was cancelled. I only hope this doesn't affect the way my computer connects to other networks; I'm not sure what he did or how to manage the situation on my own.
After about 10 hours of fussing with my computer over this one specific problem (and $133 in technical support costs), I can say that I am officially at my wit's end. Either I find something here on this forum to help me, or I call back technical support and have them guide me through re-installing Vista on my computer. As I said, I really, really don't want to have to do that.
Does anybody have any ideas? If you need more information I'll be happy to help however I can. I'm no expert, but I'm certainly not illiterate.
If this is an Intel Card, try checking for new drivers Intel® Driver Update Utility for Intel® wireless adapters
Try this tweak
Go to device manager(right click my computer, left click properties, left click hardware, left click device manager). Click on Network and then right click on your wireless adapter, left click properties, power management. Uncheck the box, allow computer to turn off this device to save power.
Original poster, If you have solved your problem, can you please mark the correct thread(s) with your solution. Thanks
Welcome to Dell Community!
Thanks for the suggestion, PudgyOne, but I've got a Dell, not an Intel wireless card.
Before I called back Dell to go through the re-installation of Vista, I decided to do a little more looking on my own. Eventually I found my way to Linksys/Cisco support, and looked up our router. Turns out our router was well overdue for a firmware update: its firmware dated from 2006. The new stuff is from '07, but its better, and more importantly, my wireless connection seems to be reliable and solid.
I'm thinking of calling Dell back and asking for my $130+ back. If I paid them that much money to fix the computer, shouldn't checking for a router firmware update have been on their troubleshooting list? I didn't pay them to fix this on my own.
I would recommend checking the driver version for the card. I had problems as well and just upgraded from a 4.xx.xx.xx driver to 188.8.131.52 and this appears to have fixed my problems. I saw there was a note detailing an issue with the broadcom driver that affected this card.
In my case I could not use the standard Dell installer since my laptop was not one that was officially supported by the latest driver package. I had to extract the files then use the driver update option to install the driver. It was a little painful, but at least the card connects to my network and runs at the "n" speeds.
Hope this helps.