I received an email recently from a subscriber who was having problems with his wireless networking from his computer, but his wife’s computer was working fine.
Unfortunately, that’s all too often the type of problem that happens with wireless networking. When it works, it works nicely. When it doesn’t work, figuring out what’s going wrong is a challenge.
My first step would be to open a command window and try
which is the IP address that I get for www.google.com.
Sometimes the networking problems are specific to particular protocols – you may not be able to use your web browser or email, but find that ping actually works. That would be a hint that your software was part of the problem.
You can try disabling the firewall and see if you can connect to your router (since your router acts as a firewall to block incoming connection requests, this isn’t as dangerous as directly connecting to the Internet without a firewall).
a) if it does connect to your router, check the firewall settings to make sure that your wireless network is set up as a trusted network/zone (assuming you want to trust the other computers on your home network);
b) check the "untrusted networks" just to make sure that your network isn’t listed there, too
c) if it doesn’t, try uninstalling your antivirus and firewall software and then reinstalling them
You can also try uninstalling your wireless adapter device driver and then reinstalling it
Is there another wireless router you could test with – perhaps visit a neighbor or friend who has wireless, and connect to their router with your notebook.
Check the "available networks" — is there another one using the same SSID as yours? If so, that would probably be the issue.
What about signal strength of the routers, as perceived by your wireless adapter? If your neighbor’s router is using the same channel as your router is using, you’ll get interference that affects your networking.
Other radio interference could be the problem, too, whether it’s a ham radio next door or a microwave "leaking" noisy signals in the frequency used by your network.
If your notebook is in a different room than the router, take it into the room with the router to test. This could resolve signal strength/blockage issues, whether they are because antennas got repositioned or whether your computer is too far away (and getting low signal). It could also reduce interference.
Make sure you’re using the right password on your notebook for the router.
Make sure your notebook’s wireless connection is looking for the right SSID (if you have it coded instead of selecting one of the available ones).
Make sure your SSID on the router is a relatively unique one. If you’ve left it at the default “Linksys”, your wife may be connecting to your router, but you might be trying to connect to a neighbor’s. Often, I’ve seen wireless computers connect to a neighbor’s router, but then not be able to do anything further.
Make sure your MAC Address of your notebook’s wireless interface is in the list of allowed MAC Addresses in the router.
These are a few things that might help you solve a networking problem. If they don’t, then it’s time to get a friend to come over and help you solve it, or to get a housecall from your local computer shop.
There are just too many ways that wireless network connections have difficulties. Wireless works nicely when it works, but when it doesn’t…