Tip & How-To about Computers & Internet

Troubleshooting Laptop WiFi Connectivity Issues

Most laptop manufacturers provide an external switch to switch on/off the WiFi functionality. As a result, the first problem most new laptop owners encounter with trying to connect to a wireless network is that their WiFi has inadvertently been switched off. So, if you have a WiFi connectivity issue, the first thing to make sure of is that your laptop's WiFi external switch is on.

The next most common problem when it comes to WiFi connectivity issues is that the signal strength is too weak to hold a connection. This can be extremely confusing if the network is working fine for a person sitting at the next table. This could be due to several reasons. This person's laptop might have a more sensitive WiFi receiver, be set in just the right location where the signal strength is maximum, or even be accessing a different WiFi network other than the one you are trying to connect to. When you're troubleshooting a wireless connection, make sure to get as close to the router as you can, certainly in the same room if it's in your own home, so you can eliminate signal strength as a possible issue.

In order to prevent every stranger who walks by from accessing any network with WiFi capability, there are a number of security options that can be set on WiFi routers. The most common of these is simply enabling password protection, so that any laptop trying to connect to the network will have to provide a password for the initial connection (after that the operating system remembers the password). In order that you be able to connect to a WiFi network, you will have to set up your laptop's WiFi connection with the correct key. First, try the key printed on the router label, but if a custom password was created when the network was set up, you'll either have to find the piece of paper where it was written or chase the person who set up the network. If the password absolutely can't be recovered, search the Internet for how to reset the router (varies with brand), create a new password and enter it on all the computers that use the connection.

In some cases, it's easy to reset the password or turn the security on and off by connecting directly to the router with an Ethernet cable and typing the fixed IP address for the router into your browser.

Connecting directly by cable to the router is an important troubleshooting step for wireless connectivity even if you don't have a password problem. If you can't connect to the Internet even after plugging directly into the router, neither the wireless adapter in your laptop nor the wireless transceiver in the router are at fault.

If you plug directly into the router via the Ethernet cable and you gain access to the Internet, you can continue troubleshooting wireless issues. Check Device Manager to see if it's complaining about the network hardware. If not, and you still can't gain access at this point, the problem is either with the high speed modem and ISP, or a networking software issue within the operating system.

High speed modems, often called routers if they include a built-in router, are equipped with a series of status LEDs that can be used to diagnose many connectivity problems. Whether you have a cable modem connecting to the cable company, DSL via the phone company or one of the more esoteric high speed modems, they should always include an LED that tells you if the connection between the modem and the Internet has been established. If this link light is out, or has changed colors, say from the familiar green to an ominous red, power down the modem and turn it back on again. This hard reset will usually fix dropped connection problems caused by storms, power surges or signal interruptions, providing the modem hasn't been damaged. A modem/router will also include a status LED to show whether an Ethernet cable connection to your laptop is good, and your laptop will have a little status/activity LED for the network connection as well. While color coding isn't universal, solid green usually indicates a good connection, and blinking green or orange usually indicates activity. Some modems include an LED to tell you if the DSL or cable link to the ISP is good even when the Internet isn't functioning.

Operating system issues affecting connectivity can include firewall (security software) settings that prevent your computer from establishing communications with the Internet Service Provider (ISP), or the failure to install the software that ISP requires. Unfortunately, there are also more complicated problems that will require drawn out conversations with the ISP's technical support department to troubleshoot.

If you're adventurous, or desperate, you'll find all sorts of third party software online that will reset the Windows stack or change registry settings back to defaults, but you're better off trying the tech support route first if a software glitch is at the bottom of your problems.

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M. Omran

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connect external monitor to laptop - how do you do this - ie which keys to press to convert it over to the external screen once connected?


Almost all laptops, especially those made within the last few years, have the ability to connect an external display, such as a CRT monitor, flat panel display, or Projector, and have the display sent to that device instead of to the laptop display.
Connect the monitor, flat panel, or projector to the laptop's 15-pin video connection on the back of the computer as shown to the right. Once connected, your laptop may automatically switch to the new external display or you may be required to press a sequence of keys in order to switch from the laptop to the external display.
The key sequence can vary depending on laptop, however is often either: Fn + F3, F4, F5, F8, or F9. This means if you were fore example to press and hold Fn + F3 at the same time it'd switch between your laptop display to your external display. The function key will often be labeled as CRT/LCD or have a picture of a monitor on the key or close to the key. Unfortunately, the keys pressed to switch displays is dependent on the model and manufacturer of the laptop. If none of the above key sequences work, consult your laptop documentation or consult your laptop manufacturer.
Some laptops also have the ability to have the display on both the laptop and external display or a single display at a time. Laptops with this ability can switch between these modes by continuing to press the same function keys until in the mode the user wants

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Oct 03, 2011 | Toshiba Satellite Pro L300 Notebook

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how to set up a wifi to my laptop.


If you do not have built in WiFi you will need an internal or external WiFi card. Most newer laptops have them built in. Go to you computers manufacturers we site and find you model number, It will tell you if you have built in WiFi, You can also downland an owners manual or search http://www.youtube,com for a video on how to set it up.

Hope that helps!

Sep 03, 2011 | Toshiba Computers & Internet

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Both of my dvd players fail to play ANY and ALL movies...can I get my money back from the manufacturer because I wasted it on these worthless dvd players?


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Mar 11, 2011 | Cyberhome CH-DVD 300 DVD Player

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I need to turn the wireless function on so my laotop can access the internet


For most laptop, the laptop switch is just in front of the laptop just below the palm rest but other have it either on the right side where the ports are like USB ports and other on the right side where VGA port is. So just try to check where the switch is located then when you got it you just need to slide it to right to turn the your wireless on.

If the above doesn't work then you can try to use a Function key:
1. Press Fn + F2 - this is a function key to turn wireless ON for most laptop

I hope this information will be helpful. Thank you for using FixYa

Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

Mar 04, 2011 | Computers & Internet

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