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Old 08-10-2019, 02:30 AM
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New laptop, or just a long ethernet cable?


Something on my laptop gave up the ghost tonight. It was probably the transmitter. I'm currently connected with an ethernet cable. But it means I have to be downstairs on the main level of this place, rather than upstairs in my room.

So should I buy a new laptop or just get a long ethernet cable? A 100 foot long one should do fine. One consideration is that I hate Windows, so I have Ubuntu on this box. So I'd have to go through the installation process again. I'm not looking forward to that.

Any thoughts?
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Old 08-10-2019, 03:29 AM
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Wireless network adapters to plug into a USB port are very common and fairly cheap. Here's somewhat north of a thousand from Newegg.

...oh, Ubuntu. H'm. Last time I messed with Ubuntu on a laptop, wireless networking was a freakin' nightmare. Hopefully by now it's better - it's been about five years. I'd suggest you check the specialty forums as well, for specific advice.
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Old 08-10-2019, 06:01 AM
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There's a bunch of standard WiFi dongles that work under Linux. Look for any that work for a Raspberry Pi, for example, and it should be straightforward.

E.g., this one seems insanely popular on Amazon. "Supports ... Linux." 9000 reviews.

Last edited by ftg; 08-10-2019 at 06:02 AM.
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Old 08-10-2019, 12:29 PM
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Thanks for the replies. I'll look into one of those. As for that particular adapter, not all those reviews are positive; some are extremely negative. Apparently it doesn't work on all laptops.
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Old 08-10-2019, 12:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by galen ubal View Post
...oh, Ubuntu. H'm. Last time I messed with Ubuntu on a laptop, wireless networking was a freakin' nightmare. Hopefully by now it's better - it's been about five years. I'd suggest you check the specialty forums as well, for specific advice.

FWIW I put Ubuntu on a laptop a couple weeks ago and the first time I tried to connect wifi it just did it. So maybe it's bettr now, or maybe I just got lucky.
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Old 08-10-2019, 12:40 PM
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You could also swap the wifi adapter for your laptop. I've done it on several laptops, and it's usually not a big deal. Search for the maintenance manual for your machine, read the instructions and decide if you're able to handle it.
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Old 08-10-2019, 01:09 PM
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Make sure you actually have a problem before you do anything. Many laptops have a small switch that turns off the wifi transmitter for "airplane mode". Sometimes you can bump the switch and not realize it.

A windows update may have also switched your wifi off in software, or may have accidentally broken the driver. Try googling your particular laptop and its specific type of wifi adapter to see if there are any known issues that could be causing your problem.
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Old 08-10-2019, 02:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by engineer_comp_geek View Post
Make sure you actually have a problem before you do anything. Many laptops have a small switch that turns off the wifi transmitter for "airplane mode". Sometimes you can bump the switch and not realize it.

A windows update may have also switched your wifi off in software, or may have accidentally broken the driver. Try googling your particular laptop and its specific type of wifi adapter to see if there are any known issues that could be causing your problem.
That's good advice. I had a laptop with Puppy Linux, and somehow the hardware wifi switch always got deactivated by software. I had to create a small start up script to toggle it on. I don't have much experience with Linux other than with that laptop, but wifi was always wonky, but only on the software side and with drivers.
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Last edited by EinsteinsHund; 08-10-2019 at 02:00 PM.
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Old 08-10-2019, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by dtilque View Post
Thanks for the replies. I'll look into one of those. As for that particular adapter, not all those reviews are positive; some are extremely negative. Apparently it doesn't work on all laptops.

Oh, well. But there's lot's of links on that page to similar ones you can explore.
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Old 08-10-2019, 06:00 PM
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It definitely was not an accidental airplane mode switch. Right now I have it in airplane mode because I'm using an ethernet cable. The computer is 3 or 4 years old and for most of that time, it was also in airplane mode for the same reason (the router was right near my desk, so I used the cable). About 3 months ago, I had to move and started using the wireless connection. A short time ago, the section of the box where I put my right hand started to get warmer than usual when I used it. So I pretty sure it was burning out.

Anyway, I tried to find one of those network adapters at brick-and-mortar stores today, but with no luck. So looks like I'll be ordering from amazon.
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Old 08-10-2019, 06:32 PM
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Those USB WiFi adapters are ubiquitous and definitely worth trying first. Second, you can try powerline networking instead of running a super long cable and tripping over it everywhere. Lastly, you can probably pretty easily replace your wifi card in your laptop unless you have a Mac or one of those ultrabook type deals that are really hard to repair.

Last edited by Reply; 08-10-2019 at 06:32 PM.
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Old 08-11-2019, 08:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtilque View Post
Thanks for the replies. I'll look into one of those. As for that particular adapter, not all those reviews are positive; some are extremely negative. Apparently it doesn't work on all laptops.
With any computer accessory, you're going to see negative reviews from people who bought the wrong item, or doesn't know how to set it up. But this particular wifi adapter is about as standard as it gets. If this doesn't work, there's probably something else wrong with the computer, and buying a different wifi adapter probably won't help.
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Old 08-11-2019, 10:31 AM
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The WiFi card that is in a laptop is usually just under a cover on the back and you can get the OEM one for five bucks on eBay usually.

But most of them just don’t go out.

I had one that did in a laptop I got for free. Turns out it worked loose and I took it off and put it back on.


It’s been a year and it works great.
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Old 08-11-2019, 10:33 AM
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You can check the status of the card in Device Manager if you can boot it into windows. I’m not sure of the device manager equivalent in Linux. I have had great luck with Linux and never needed it. But I ran Mint and it comes with all the drivers usually.
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