Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Troubleshoot problems finding wireless networks

Microsoft has understood to provide automatic networking capabilities for the platform. Still when it comes to integrating Windows Vista-based computers into a network, or establishing an Internet connection, the operating system does not always "play well with others". If your computer has a wireless network adapter, Windows will automatically detect wireless networks in range of your computer. You can see a list of wireless networks that Windows has detected in Connect to a Network.

Open Connect to a Network by clicking the Start button , and then clicking Connect to.

If Windows does not detect a network that you think is in range of your computer, it could be because of one the following reasons:

The wireless switch on your computer is turned off.

Many mobile PCs have a wireless switch on the front or side of the computer. Check your computer for a switch. If you do have a switch, make sure it's turned on. Some computers also use a function key combination to turn the switch on or off. Check the information that came with your computer for details on locating the wireless switch.

Your computer is too far from the wireless router or access point.

With 802.11b or 802.11g routers and access points, the maximum range is up to 150 feet (46 meters) indoors and 300 feet (92 meters) outdoors. With 802.11a routers and access points, the maximum range is 50 feet (15 meters) indoors and 100 feet (30 meters) outdoors. These ranges are in optimal conditions with no interference. Make sure that your computer is within this range and as close as possible to the router or access point. If the computer is portable, try moving it around to determine the range of the wireless signal and the best place to put the computer.

If you are unable to get closer to the router or access point, you might want to consider buying and installing an external antenna to your wireless network adapter. Many wireless network adapters are set up so that you can attach an external antenna to them, which will provide you with better reception than the built-in antenna. Check the information that came with your wireless network adapter to see if you can install an additional antenna.

The wireless router or access point is turned off or is not working properly.

There are two things to try:
• Make sure the router or access point is turned on and that the wireless signal light is illuminated.
• Reset the router or access point by turning it off, waiting at least 10 seconds, and then turning it back on.

If you don't manage the access point or network, contact the network administrator.

Windows is not configured to connect to the right type of network.

Check the information that came with the router or access point to find out what connection mode the device is set to. The mode should be either ad hoc (when devices communicate directly without going through a router or access point) or infrastructure (when devices communicate by going through a router or access point). Make sure the setting in Windows for this network matches the setting on the device. To check this, follow these steps:

1. Open the Command Prompt window by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking All Programs, clicking Accessories, and then clicking Command Prompt.
2. Type netsh wlan add filter networktype=network type.

Where network type is either adhoc or infrastructure.

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