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 Post subject: Laptop shows low wi-fi signal strength
 Post Posted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:47 pm 
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I have a Dell Inspiron 2200 Laptop that is showing low signal strength from the router. This is a friends machine that I fixed and it was working perfect when I gave it back to him.

Then he said about 3 months later that it was dropping connection to his router, an a freebie from verizon FIOS. So I brought it back to the house where I have a brighthouse router (RCA) on Roadrunner. Sure enough it was showing a very weak signal. My Toshiba sitting right next to it showed very strong signal. Suspecting to Wireless card I put a Netgear USB adapter on it with the same results. I have run the virus scans, MalwareBytes, Search and Destroy Spyware remover.

Today I took it down to the family History Center and accessed their Network. BUT even though I was in the same room with the NetGear Router it STILL showed a weak signal even though it did stay on the network. I have this nagging suspicion that it's a card setting but I can't find it. I have Googled it and really read your boards pretty thoroughly. All Drivers are up to date

About the only thing I havn't done is re install system. It is WIN XP SP3 all updates installed


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 Post subject: Re: Laptop shows low wi-fi signal strength
 Post Posted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 12:45 am 
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Quote:
I have a Dell Inspiron 2200 Laptop...

When asking about systems from major OEMs...

Quote:
This is a friends machine that I fixed and it was working perfect when I gave it back to him.

So the signal strength has changed? If so, what was changed on the system since then? Whatever was changed will likely be the cause.

Quote:
I have this nagging suspicion that it's a card setting but I can't find it... All Drivers are up to date

What network adapter exactly? What drivers exactly? Please provide links. I believe the setting you are thinking of relates to power management. Most wireless adapters have a "Power Save Mode" setting that can be changed in the device manager; adapter properties; Advanced settings. Try setting this to disabled or off, which will force the adapter to run at full power. Note that this will normally affect only the transmitted signal, while the receiver and therefore access point signal strength will remain the same. Even though the received signal strength remains the same, the greater transmit power can often reduce or eliminate intermittent dropouts.

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About the only thing I havn't done is re install system. It is WIN XP SP3 all updates installed

How does it work when you boot it from a clean reload on a temporary drive? Scott.


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 Post subject: Re: Laptop shows low wi-fi signal strength
 Post Posted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 10:51 pm 
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http://support.dell.com/support/topics/ ... rue#Issue4

The adapter is " Dell Wireless 1370 Wlan Mini PCI Card Rev4.12 "
Chipset BCM4318
Driver3.100.35.0 built by WinDDK Dated 11-27-2004

The Machine is Dell Inspiron 2200 Model PP10S Service Tag 3KV5X81

I did find a new driver dated 2006 AFTER I started a complete restore. I did bring mthe machine into my computer room and had it 6 feet from the router. It was showing 2 to 3 bars. It should have been off the charts. I'll update after the Restore and Driver update. Thanks.. Love your books. I have about 6 of them. I like the concept. Buy my book and you get on the board...Cool :)


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 Post subject: Re: Laptop shows low wi-fi signal strength
 Post Posted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 10:36 am 
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The Machine is Dell Inspiron 2200 Model PP10S Service Tag 3KV5X81

The Drivers & Downloads page for that system is here.
Quote:
The adapter is " Dell Wireless 1370 Wlan Mini PCI Card Rev4.12 "
Chipset BCM4318

That card uses a Broadcom WLAN chipset.
Quote:
Driver 3.100.35.0 built by WinDDK Dated 11-27-2004

That driver is pretty old, and Dell currently offers Broadcom's version 4.10.40.0 driver for that system, which isn't much newer (11/02/2005).

Unfortunately Broadcom doesn't provide wireless chipset drivers to end users, so you must get them from an OEM or alternate source instead. As of this writing, the latest Broadcom wireless chipset driver for XP is version 5.100.82.15 (10/12/2010), which you can get from Lenovo. Let me know if anything changes after installing the latest driver.

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Love your books. I have about 6 of them. I like the concept. Buy my book and you get on the board...Cool :)

Thanks for your support! Scott.


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 Post subject: Re: Laptop shows low wi-fi signal strength
 Post Posted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 11:08 pm 
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Downloaded the Lenovo Driver for the wireless card but it would not install.

Is there a service that monitors the incoming radio signal???

Next step is a complete WIN XP install Sigh.........


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 Post subject: Re: Laptop shows low wi-fi signal strength
 Post Posted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 12:19 am 
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bohicaotter wrote:
Downloaded the Lenovo Driver for the wireless card but it would not install.

I'm guessing you haven't manually installed drivers before. That's OK, many people don't know how. The truth is that many executable driver packages include extra files or applications that are completely unnecessary (and possibly even detrimental) to the actual operation of the device. In that case you will want to be familiar with how to manually install or update just the drivers while bypassing any of these unnecessary applications.

For example, I recommended that you download the IN6WLN49WW1.exe file from Lenovo since it contains the latest Broadcom WLAN drivers. Unfortunately you won't be able to run that executable to install the drivers because Lenovo included a pre-install check for only two specific Broadcom-based adapters (ones that Lenovo sells), even though the actual driver is universal and supports over 40 different Broadcom-based adapters (including the Dell 1370 card).

In order to bypass any pre-install applications, you will want to extract and install the driver directly. Since this type of .exe is basically a .zip archive in executable form, you could just rename it with a .zip extension and then use Windows built-in Zip functionality to open the archive and extract (copy) the desired folder. Or you could use something like 7-Zip to extract the folder without renaming the archive. In either case, if you are running Windows XP then the driver files you want are in the BROADCOM01\Driver\XP folder contained in the archive (everything else is completely unnecessary). There are also folders for 7/Vista in case you needed drivers for those OS instead.

Once the desired folder is extracted (copied) from the archive you can manually install/update the driver. To do this, in the Device Manager right click on the wireless network adapter device and select Update Driver..., this will open the Hardware Update Wizard. Where it asks Can Windows connect to Windows Update to search for software? select No, not this time, then click Next. Then where it asks What do you want the wizard to do? select Install from a list or specific location (Advanced), then click Next. Make sure Search for the best driver in these locations and Include this location in the search: are checked, then click Browse, then browse to the location of the BROADCOM01\Driver\XP folder you previously extracted, then click OK. At this point the driver should install.

Let me know if the latest driver helps. If not, then perhaps the WLAN adapter is defective or there are other problems involved. In that case try a different (known-good) WLAN adapter or a fresh reload. Scott.


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 Post subject: Re: Laptop shows low wi-fi signal strength
 Post Posted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 3:57 am 
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Location: Stowmarket, Suffolk England
Might be worth checking that the push fit Wireless antenna have not come loose inside the machine, after perhaps a drop or possibly something like a drink spill corrosion.


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 Post subject: Re: Laptop shows low wi-fi signal strength
 Post Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 12:15 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:48 pm
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Location: USA
It's a shame we never heard back from this post. Scott gave some great instruction on how use drivers.

Just out of curiosity, is this a normal practice with driver exe files (like MS Office 2007 and latter file types?)

Evan


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 Post subject: Re: Laptop shows low wi-fi signal strength
 Post Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 12:29 am 
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It's not what I'd call "normal", but it happens... Scott.


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 Post subject: Re: Laptop shows low wi-fi signal strength
 Post Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 12:55 am 
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So I guess it's just a trial and error approach. Change the extension to *.zip and try it? I guess a "relatively" large *.exe would be a giveaway, but that's *relative*.

Evan


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 Post subject: Re: Laptop shows low wi-fi signal strength
 Post Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 10:07 am 
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Many .exe files are self-extracting archives. If you use a proper archiving program like 7-Zip you don't even need to change the extension in order to view or manually extract files from them. Scott.


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