How does WiFi Catcher work? - Networking, Internet, Wireless Forum - Networking, Internet, Wireless - Dell Community

How does WiFi Catcher work?

Networking, Internet, Wireless

Networking, Internet, Wireless
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How does WiFi Catcher work?

  • I have a new Inspiron 1420 with WiFi Catcher.  I have looked at the owners manual and it does not sufficiently explain how it works or should be used.  I would expect it would since "Wi-Fi" catcher is being touted on the product.  I just need to know exactly what it does and how it does it.
    I found a very old post regarding this (see link and image and comments at the bottom of this post) from someone else.  It was not helpful to me.
    My question are:
    1. If I want to turn off my wireless card, do I set the slide at "O"?
    2. If I want to turn on my wireless card, do I set the slide at "|"?
    3. What exactly does the ">>" do?  It brings up a Wi-Fi Catcher Network Locator Available Networks dialog box when the computer is ON.  When the computer is OFF, sliding the slider to the ">>" does not do anything (and I am in the vicinity of a wireless network).
    4. Wireless Activity Indicator - I assume it should show something when a wireless network is nearby or if you are connected to a wireless network.  This light has not come on at all.

    Can someone help?


    To enable the radio for all integrated wireless devices, perform the appropriate step:

    • Slide the wireless radio switch or WiFi Catcher to the enable symbol (>>) located on the side of the notebook.
    • If the notebook does not have a wireless switch, press the <Fn> and <F2> keys at the same time.


  • See if the following helps answer you questions:
    <ADMIN NOTE: Broken link has been removed from this post by Dell>
  • After multiple times with Dell's Wireless Hardware support, they are putting up resistance in acknowledging that my Wi-Fi Catcher switch and LED indicator is defective.  I know this now since I tried a Wi Fi Catcher switch on a Dell unit at a Staples store.  I have determined that the proper way the Wi Fi Catcher works is that when the laptop is OFF and when you slide the switch to the double arrow >>, the spring should slide easily and spring back.  If there is a wireless network in the area, the LED will light up solid green.
    The first Hardware support person I talked to indicated that if there was no wireless network in the area, the LED should come on RED. If there is a weak wifi network, the LED should come on yellow.  If the Wi Fi Catcher is still searching for a network, it will blink green.  I have not confirmed this to be the function since I can't get my LED to come on or stay on. My switch is also difficult to move.
    Dell's Tech or Hardware support seems to stall and does not want to acknowledge that the switch or LED is bad.  They said they've elevated my ticket to Level 2 who will call me back the next day but L2 didn't. When I called back the third day to inquire, the new Level 1 person was asking me all of the same questions. I told her that YES, I have already gone into Quickset and the BIOS to confirm that the Wi Fi Catcher is enabled.  This time, the second call to L1 said that a different L2 will call me back but would not commit to a date. She said there is a more advanced BIOS setting to make the Wi Fi Catcher work properly.  I don't believe her but have no choice.
    As much as I like my new Inspiron 1420, I can see why Dell's Support ranks pretty low in surveys.  That is because it takes hours for you to talk to them and they "fight" you to prove that everything is either working as designed or there are additional settings (which they don't know but will have to get back to you on).
    If a Dell Moderator reads this post, I would be glad to discuss this issue further (and in private).  My verdict one week into my 1420 ownership (I am not a novice computer user) is that I love the 1420 and I love Dell's order fulfillment and delivery speed (6 days) but Dell support leaves a lot (a lot) to be desired.  Oh, I also purchased Dell on Call for 30 days and they are no better (not being able to resolve a separate issue after a 3 hour call the first day my laptop arrived except to say that the only option left is to re-image my computer to factory state. I told them "no" since my computer WAS in factory state (i.e. I have not installed or uninstalled any other hardware or software except trying to set up mail).
  • Just a few minutes back I posted a message having problems with my Dell 1390 WLan minicard connecting to my wireless network.

    After reading your post, I think I might have the same issue. I cannot get my WiFi Catcher to light up either green, yellow or red. PERIOD. I'm thinking my problem is the same as yours. Will someone from Dell please respond please ?!?!?!
  • I have a brand new Inspiron 1720 and the LED has never turned on. The software runs and shows the available networks but the LED Never comes on. Even when I am connected to my wireless it still remains off
  • Hi Java,
    I didn't have any problems with my Dell 1390 G minicard.  I was able to connect to my wireless network without any problems.  My problem was that my WiFi Catcher LED does not light up (like yours) when the computer is off.  I know the LED should come on because I went to a store that sold Dells and flipped the WiFi Catcher switch to the >> position and the Green LED light came on and stayed on (solid). That is when I knew my LED light was bad.
    Dell sent a technician to repair my problem. However, they sent him the bottom case of my laptop where the WiFi switch was attached to. After he took my 9 day old laptop apart (I mean everything), he realized that my problem was with the LED that was connected to the Motherboard, not the switch.  He told me to request a new laptop replacement since mine was so new. Dell will be sending another one and I am to send the one I have back. 
    I will see if the replacement laptop works any better.
  • ger9
    This is exactly how my 1420's WiFi Catcher works (no LED light). You would figure that if the LED is not suppose to light up for any reason, they wouldn't have put it in.  Let's even assume that this IS how it is suppose to work, then how (I would ask Dell) is the WiFi Catcher supposed to tell you if there are any wireless networks when your computer is off?  Maybe it is telepathic.  Maybe they shouldn't advertise the WiFi Catcher as a feature at all and people whose LED light doesn't come on won't know any better and accept it as "normal".

    Message Edited by bubbadubba on 11-23-2007 12:58 PM
  • Okay so I gather that LED lighting on or not is not a big deal.
    So if someone has the 1390 on inspiron working wireless with Vista, can they please post the link to the driver  they are using and I can give that a shot?
    Thanks much.
  • Inspiron 1720, with Dell 1390 WLan Minicard.
    Windows Vista Business
    Router : ActionTec M1424WR (I don't think this matters at all)
    Driver : R157040 (currently the last but one driver on the Dell site for the 1390). The one that came installed R151522 did not work for me. The latest driver  on the dell site as of now, R169067 also did not work for me.
    Hopefully this helps someone else.
  • Java,
    My Inspiron 1420 with Vista Home Premium came with a Dell 1390 g card and has been working fine (except for being a little slow connecting to a previously connected wireless network after boot up or resume after hibernation).  If your wireless switch is turned ON, have you tried refreshing the IP address?  Have you also tried to connect to a different wireless network?  I've had trouble connecting to my company's wireless network but am successful connecting to my own at home. 
  • No issues now. Except that when I boot up it does not remember to connect back. I know there's a setting somewhere to make it do that. Now I have to manually connect to my network after I boot up. Not a biggie. But if anyone can help me out by pointing to the place where I cant "automatically" have it connect to the wireless network, I would appreciate it very much.
  • Mine takes anywhere from 20 - 40 seconds to re-establish the wireless connection. Don't know why since my old Inspiron 600m connects almost immediately (same network).  If it is indeed a setting (I don't believe it is - since it would mean a setting in my case would have to say "connect immediately or wait half a minute or so"), it certainly wouldn't make sense.  As for your network, I am sure that you have set it to remember your Key (if your network is secure). 
  • To connect automatically: Go to Network sharing Centre View the status of your wireless network connection Then Wireless properties and check Connect automatically when this network is in range.
  • ger9,
    Someone suggested that I check for the latest BIOS software from the Dell Support site.  For my Inspiron 1420, there was an update A03.  He suggested I update my BIOS since it worked for him to turn his Wi-Fi Catcher LED light ON.  I did so and it worked.  Although my 1420 was new, my BIOS driver was A02. The latest available BIOS  driver was A03.  After I installed the A03 BIOS driver, the Wi-Fi Catcher LED light does come on now when the computer is off. 
    The LED blinks green once (does not stay on solid green) if I have a strong wireless network.  It did at one point come on solid orange.  Although this is not exactly how the LED light works as it was explained to me but at least it comes on now.
    Open your Quickset and select System Information. See if your BIOS is A03.  If it is not, go to the Dell Support site, select the Inspiron 1720, select BIOS, download and Install.
    See if this works for you.
  • I just buy a inspiron 1720, I have it since 4 days. I found that WiFi Catcher LED only blink 1 time when I put my computer on sleep and push the button. When I'am in windows vista or the computer is off and the button is push there are no led who blink. I have read the owner manual at the page 28 we have this note: The wifi catcher network locator light appears only when the system is switched off and wifi is activated in bios. I already try this without success, has I said the only time the led blink is when the computer is on sleep mode. is that normal? I have contacted dell technical support, for them it's normal. I have the lattes Bios the A04 Thanks