Windows 7 loves to drop wifi

I’m looking for a little help here with Windows 7. I’ve just got a new laptop with it installed, and it drops my wireless signal pretty often. I think the problem is that it keeps picking up other (neighbors’) signals, and is trying to auto-connect to them, even though they’re weak and often encrypted.

What seems to bear this out is that if I click on the wifi icon in the system tray, I can see these other networks there. As soon as the signal drops out, I can go to this window, click on any of the offending signals, and uncheck “Connect Automatically”, and my wifi starts working again. However, the checkbox won’t stay cleared- in a few minutes, it will appear in the list with the autoconnect option checked again.

None of these signals appear in my preferred networks list, so it’s not a matter of deleting them, and deleting them from the wifi icon’s list isn’t an option.

I’ve read something about disabling IPv6, which I’ve tried (not that I fully understand what it would do), but that didn’t help. The drivers for the internal wireless card are up to date.

Any suggestions would be hugely appreciated. I don’t have this connection issue with any other device in my house, including another laptop that runs XP.

It is possible that the new laptop has a card which includes N wireless, while the rest of your older equipment just has B/G cards. That could explain why only the new laptop sees those other networks.

I don’t know why those other networks are winding up in your preferred network list, though. One thing to try would be to install a wireless utility that will display the network mode (A/B/G/N) and channel of each visible network, and to move your wireless base station (which could be either a router or an access point) to an unused channel. That may help prevent the new laptop from dropping the connection to you and hunting for another network to connect to.

Me, I’m the annoying guy in my neighborhood who is on channels 1, 6, and 11. That’s how I solved a similar problem here. :smiley:

To clarify, the other networks DON’T seem to show up on the actual preferred networks list, only the list I get from clicking on the wireless icon. I’ll look into the utility, but one reason I haven’t gone down the channel-switching route is that all the other devices work fine. But if, like you say, it’s a matter of n vs. g/b that could indeed be it.

Thanks for responding.

Any suggestions for a utility, by the way?

Have you tried updating the firmware for your router (and your wireless card)? What kind of laptop is it? I had a similar problem with Lenovo and uninstalling a particular installed program solved it.

What was the program? I’ve also seen something like this on a Win 7 lenovo. It managed to knock out all the other computers’ connections to the wireless router somehow.

It is in fact a Lenovo t410s. The wifi card is up to date, but I haven’t tried updating the router yet.

Try changing your router’s channel.

arseNal, I finally got around to taking care of this, and found a program called inSSIDer, which is pretty neat and easy to use. It’s more up to date than the other leading option that I came across.

Anyhow, not sure yet if changing the channel will fix this, but my channel was set to auto, and the majority of the other networks in range are on 6. There’s one each on 1 and 11, so mine now goes to 11. I’ll report back in a few days if this clears it up.

Well, that didn’t solve the problem. I started intermittently losing wireless again today. I started inSSIDer up right away and I can see that there’s one other router on channel 11, but it’s weak. However, the other routers that appear, though they have no channel overlap, are still getting picked up by windows. I’m not sure what to try next- any other ideas? Is there any way to get windows to ignore networks unless I say so, or is that likely a red-herring?

Changing channels won’t hide the other networks from your laptop; it just spreads out the traffic being exchanged from Point A to B so that a given channel doesn’t get overstuffed with competing devices.

I’m not a network geek, but I’ll note that IME different laptops often have wi-fi cards of differing quality, a/b/g/n aside. For example, my first-gen MSI Wind netbook has a POS Wi-Fi card and will often drop the connection while my Dell Studio XPS can be sitting right next to it chugging along merrily – and both are in the same room as my router.

An additional possibility might be that there’s some RF interference near where you are that’s messing with your network if you have something like a cordless phone, microwave, or what have you near your router. Link to Cisco whitepaper on common issues that talks about Wi-Fi interference.

Duh. Sorry about that, I know better. I’m not sure why I got that mixed up. Thanks for the link. I upgraded my phones a year or two ago to 5.8Ghz models because of interference with the router I had at the time. More digging is in order I guess.

Well, maleinblack said that he was able to solve his problem by uninstalling something, but never said what. I haven’t been able to figure out thru googling what he may have meant, so let’s hope he comes back to this thread.