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Greg G
Greg G, Director of Information Technology
Category: Computer
Satisfied Customers: 484
Experience:  Working with computers since '83. Programming since '85. Always worked in the field.
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WNDR4000 drops wireless network and re aquires, over and o

Customer Question

WNDR4000 drops wireless network and re aquires, over and over. Have replaced cables, power supplies, and router. Power cycle many times, set factory defaults many times. Strongly feel it is Windows 7.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Computer
Expert:  Greg G replied 3 years ago.

Greg G :

Hi, my name is XXXXX XXXXX I'd be happy to help you with this. When this happens there are generally 3 possible causes...

Greg G :

There are sometimes compatibility issues between certain network adapter drivers. This often times results in the machine connecting to other wireless signals just fine, but when connecting to a certain model access point it can do exactly as you describe, losing connection and the reconnecting almost immediate...

Greg G :

This can also sometimes be caused by a bug in the firmware of the router and when that is the case it's also often times only displayed when connecting to certain wireless adapters.

Greg G :

Last but not least, it can be an interference issue. There are times when either a neighbor has an access point on the same channel, or especially if you leave the default SSID (network name) on the router when you configure it. If your neighbor has done the same and your laptop sees two signals both with the same SSID it can cause the same issue.

Greg G :

So we'll do a couple of things to see if we can get this resolved.

Greg G :

First of all, lets update to the latest firmware... To do that, you can follow the instructions located here... http://support.netgear.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/19216

Greg G :

Sorry, let me post that as a link... CLICK HERE

Greg G :

Now once you've done that (take your time), come back here and let me know... Then we'll move on to step 2, making sure we get it configured correctly... ;)

Customer:

I didn't think you would answer so quick. I have an important download with 15 min left. Is that OK?

Greg G :

That's absolutely fine! You can come back here any time you like. I'll be around for quite a while, but even if you want to come back another day you can always catch me later. We'll leave this open as long as you need!

Customer:

I can stay right here till download completes

Greg G :

No problem!

Customer:

OK done. This latest router has current firmware according to manufacturer.

Customer:

Only about a month old. Netgear WNDR4000.

Greg G :

Okay great! No, next step... If you haven't already... Make sure you are using a "unique" SSID, (not the default NETGEAR or whatever it is)... Also, obviously you should use security, preferably WPA or WPA2... As for the channel, it's best to find out what frequencies are in use around you... The way these "faster" wireless routers work is that they actually have very WIDE channels... You are selecting the "center" channel, but it actually spreads the signal out across 20-40Mhz.. So you'll run over on to other channels as well.... Generally there are 3 usable ranges... The low range, (i.e. 2) the mid range (i.e. 6) and the high range (i.e. 11). Now as far as trying to determine if you could be getting interference, I don't suppose you have an Android based cell phone?

Customer:

We are on a acre in country so only see one other network, but with no bars on reception. I do have an Android Sprint/Nextel OS 1.5 only though.

Greg G :

great! If you are only seeing one, then it shouldn't be a concern. If you still run in to problems on 11 we may want to switch it down to 2. Coincidentally 2 is a lower frequency which means it penetrates walls, etc slightly better and will give you SLIGHTLY better reception anyway... But we can leave it on 11 for now. As for the phone, I'm not sure if 1.5 will run it or not, but there is a great app called wifi scanner you can download from the market. It will scan and show all wireless and which frequencies they are on, etc...

Greg G :

So the next step, assuming you SSID is unique, is to update the drivers for your wireless adapter. Do you know off hand the make/model of it?

Customer:

looking

Greg G :

Most of the time, especially with windows 7, it will load generic drivers that work, but can exhibit problems such as this. We want to download the OEM drivers (latest) and get those installed... Once you find the make/model I can help point you in the right direction... ;)

Customer:

whats easiet way to look up adapter on win 7

Greg G :

probably easiest is to right-click on "Computer" and select Manage. Then on the left choose Device Manager. It should be listed in there under Network Adapters

Greg G :

(NOTHING is easy in Windows 7... LOL... But it sure as heck beats Vista!!!)

Customer:

DW1501 Wireless-N Half Mini Card on a Dell Laptop. We have 2 identical laptops with same issues

Greg G :

Great! Give me a moment to look the specs up on that...

Greg G :

Can you give me the "Service Tag" number off that laptop please? It's probably on the sticker on the bottom of the laptop

Greg G :

either one is fine

Customer:

if my eyeballs are good enough it is JXQ56PI

Greg G :

Great! just a moment

Greg G :

Close enough... I think it's JXQ56P1 ;)

Customer:

yes

Greg G :

The latest driver is over a year old... It may be the version that's already on there, but let's go ahead and download/install anyway just to make sure... You can download it here... CLICK HERE

Greg G :

And here is the important bit about the install.. ;)

Greg G :

1.Double-click the new icon on the desktop labeled R252537.exe.
2.The Self-Extracting window appears and prompts you to extract or
unzip to C:\DELL\DRIVERS\R252537. Write down this path so the executable (I.e.
Setup.exe) file can be found later.
3.The Self-Extractor window appears.
4.Click OK.
5.After completing the file extraction, if the Self-Extractor
window is still open, close it.
6.Click the Start button and then click Run.
7.Type C:\DELL\DRIVERS\R252537 in the Open textbox and then click OK.
8.Follow the on-screen installation instructions.

Greg G :

(ignore the bit about it being on the desktop if that's not where you put it obviously, or if you just told it to run instead of save)

Customer:

I have it on daownload manger. install?

Greg G :

Yes!

Greg G :

even better!

Customer:

done, asking for restart

Greg G :

That's fine... once it's finished you can come back to JA and log in. You'll see a link at the top for "My Questions" and once you click there you can click the title of the question to come right back here!

Customer:

ok see ya in a few

Greg G :

;)

Customer:

ok

Greg G :

PERFECT! Now....

Customer:

android wifi scanner only shows my network

Greg G :

This may have actually resolved the issue, I suppose we'll know that soon enough... In the mean time, let's proceed as if it hasn't and check a couple of other things....

Greg G :

First, when you scan for networks with the laptop, does it pick up the 2Ghz, 5Ghz, or both SSIDs?

Customer:

scanner shows encryption WPA and almost sure it is WPA2

Greg G :

Yeah, that's pretty normal... generally WPA2 is set with backwards compatibility so most scanners will show it as WPA rather than differentiate between WPA1 and WPA2

Customer:

where do I check 2/5ghz

Greg G :

In the config of the router when setting up the wireless networks there should be TWO places to set it up... One section (the top one) is for 2.4Ghz... the bottom is for 5Ghz. Each should have a different place for SSID, encryption, etc... For example, by default I think the 2.4Ghz is "NETGEAR" while the 5Ghz is "NETGEAR-5G" (for the SSIDs). If you changed the SSID's, whichever one is being shown should let you know which it's picking up...

Customer:

They are set up with different SSID and only see 2ghz

Greg G :

Okay... Hrmmm... Very interesting! That may be part of the problem as well... Let's focus on that... give me a moment to see if I can find some info on where the card settings are for that DW1501....

Greg G :

Okay, click on the Start button and in the search text box type in "quickset" (without quotes) and press enter...

Customer:

Is the DW1501 5ghz capable?

Greg G :

Once there, click on the "Launch" button down at the bottom where it says "WiFi Catcher" (radio control options)

Greg G :

Yes...

Greg G :

Or at least according to it's specs it is...

Greg G :

Once in the WiFi Catcher, click the "Advanced Settings" button....

Greg G :

Now there should be a setting for "Bands to Scan". Can you tell me what it's currently set for?

Customer:

no results on quickset, let me ck my spelling

Customer:

nada

Greg G :

hrmmm... okay, let me check something...

Customer:

oh.. Dell quickset?

Greg G :

Yes!

Customer:

sorry, not on the win 7. must have seen that in XP - seaarching Dell DW1501 help

Greg G :

Okay, nevermind! Silly DELL! Apparently when they released that card they originally spec'd it with 5Ghz support... Apparently if you bought the retail version it even stated it on the box... But it does NOT in fact support 5Ghz and they have since changed their specs and packaging.... Okay, so that was futile.. ;) Let's move on....

Customer:

ok

Greg G :

Before I explain what I want you to do next, I want to explain why it won't make any difference... Which means explaining why when you get right down to it, the "N" wireless standard is really useless to most home users. An internet connection is always limited to it's slowest "pipe". If you were connecting to a corporate network with a high speed network in place, then N can be really beneficial... With a home user however, since all your traffic is typically in or out to or from the internet, and since most people's internet connections are 50Mbps or slower (usually 25Mbps for cable), getting anything higher speed than that is basically pointless... It's still going to transfer at whatever your internet connection is....

Customer:

OK, I thought N helped range and reception is why we upgraded

Greg G :

So with that said, here's what we're going to try... We're going to knock the "N" connection off and try using the "G" standard... It's a much more developed and refined protocol since it's been around much longer... and "G" is capable of speeds of 54Mbps, which should be more that adequate for your internet connection and probably far exceeds the speeds is capable of...

Greg G :

You're right, it does help SLIGHTLY, but the improvements are mostly in the wireless chips and the antenna's, not so much in the protocol.... I seriously doubt you'll notice ANY difference... If you do, we can always switch back and try a few other things... but we'll try this first... ;)

Customer:

We went to 54 with Netgeat support and it eas noticably slower

Customer:

ok

Customer:

Just marketing to sell home users more routers huh?

Greg G :

Really? That doesn't make any sense.. hrmmmm.... well let's start with this then! ;) Click this link: CLICK HERE

Greg G :

Select the closest location and let the test run and then write down (and also let me know) what the upload and download speeds are....

Greg G :

You're exactly right... again there are SOME improvements, but in general most home users should never notice the difference....

Customer:

15 down 3 up

Customer:

I dont think network has dropped since driver upgrade

Greg G :

GREAT! Okay, now, let's go to the configuration of the router, into the wireless settings... For the top (2.4Ghz) settings change the "speed" to set 54Mbps as the maximum... Once you've done that I want you to reboot this computer again... We want it to reconnect cleanly, not think that it lost signal and has to renegotiate...

Greg G :

OH! Well then we may have solved it....

Customer:

I run network magic and the notifications screens have not appeared

Greg G :

SO.... here's what I would suggest....

Customer:

ok

Greg G :

If you want, go ahead and try it for a while... Just do what you normally do.... if it doesn't give you any problems, then viola! We've fixed it! If it does, then we'll proceed with dropping to G and see if that helps... (and if it affects your speed)

Greg G :

Again we'll just leave this open for now and you can come back and update me later on!

Customer:

OK, we will try. for a night.We will upgrade drivers on other laptop, after comparing the rest of the night. If problem re occurs I will change to G on router. Will I need to change security setting when I change to G?

Customer:

encryption rather

Greg G :

Nope, same WPA/WPA2 will work just fine... the biggest difference is just in the amount of bandwidth or how wide it spreads the frequencies... Everything else is pretty much the same... ;)

Customer:

After we are past this, I have a WNDR 3700v2. Can you help me config for repeater upstairs?

Greg G :

And once you've determined if the problem is resolved you can come back here and update me and hopefully Accept the answer... if not we'll continue working to make sure we get it resolved for you!

Greg G :

Absolutely! I'd be happy to help!

Customer:

Thanks for your help. MUCH!! better than Netgear support with a 20 yr old reading from script!!

Greg G :

You're quite welcome! You've been a pleasure! Talk to you soon! Enjoy your evening!!!

Customer:

Problem is not resolved after all. I switched baud rate to 54ghz. We will test.

Greg G :

Well, sorry to hear that, but let's see what happens with just the G enabled and see how that goes. If that doesn't make any difference then we have at least one other option that I can think of. ;) Just let me know!

Customer:

Channel 11 with 54Mbps seems to have helped a great deal. Have to work Monday, wife will test Mon afternoon, Thanks.

Greg G :

Fantastic! Just let me know what you find!

Customer:

It is almost 9pm and I just got home. If you don't mind, we will test tomorrow. Then we can talk about some other things.

Greg G :

Absolutely! No problem at all!

Customer:

The problem still exists, although there is much improvement. Some history I left out. I Google'd the problem extensively before speaking with you. All the common stuff was discussed with many solutions. I did see one blaming Win 7 and NetBui <sp> problems that have exsisted since XP, and many users found a correction when disabling Home Group option in Win 7. We tried that one, and things were much better but only for a short period of time. This problem is so odd because it is so intermittant, and degree of problem varies so much. My first new router D-Link worked for a considerable period of time, then we bought new laptops with Win 7. Worked for a while if I remember correctly, but when we started having problems bought a Netgear WNDR3700v2. Worked well till a power hit and could not get it going again. Put the D-Link back and worked for a month or so. When it srted loosing network, reinstalled the 3700 and games consoles work. But if either new laptop is on network, drops all connections. Wireless printer and entertainment system is on network also when turned on.

Customer:

Also during that period spent endless hours online with Netgear to no avail. As soon as network works, they end session, call back if problem reoccurs, which it always does.

Customer:

Sometimes if Laptop goes to sleep from no activity, when I log back on I have red "X" on network taskbar and have to pull up and hit connect to get back on network, even though it is set to automatically reconnect. Again, this is entermittant.

Expert:  Greg G replied 3 years ago.
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Expert:  Greg G replied 3 years ago.
Okay, I went ahead and switched this out of chat mode. The chat was getting really long and taking a long time to load! LOL. This will be a better format to continue anyway...

Okay, let's start with trying this. Windows 7 does handle networking a bit differently than the systems before it. So we're going to do 2 things.

First, we're going to disable IPv6. To do so you can go into the Network Sharing center (right click on network icon in system tray and choose Open) and then on the left column choose "Change Adapter Settings".

Once you've done that, you'll see the wireless adapter listed. Go ahead and right-click it and choose properties. You'll see several options in the top section, one of them will be TCP/IP v4 and one will be TCP/IPv6. We want to UNCHECK the v6 one.

The next thing we will do is to make a few tweaks to the tcp/ip stack. The main thing I want you to do, frankly I don't remember the command for off the top of my head since it's been so long since I've had to do it! I'm not on the PC I usually use for doing support, so I'll have to update you this evening once I get access to it.

Once we've done that we'll test again and see if it works any better... If not, we'll continue to proceed until we have this issue resolved!
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
OK disabled IPv6 and testing. Thanks.
Expert:  Greg G replied 3 years ago.
Okay finally home! Let's ride out the IPv6 first and see what happens. If that fails to resolve the problem, here's the next step (the one I couldn't remember earlier today.)

Click on the Start button and go to Programs -> Accessories and then RIGHT-CLICK on Command Prompt. Choose the "Run As Administrator" option. Now you'll have a special type of command prompt called an "Elevated" command prompt. Meaning it has special permissions.

Now in that command prompt type in the following command:

netsh interface tcp set global rss=disabled autotuninglevel=disabled

Press enter to run it.

It's difficult to explain what this does exactly, but to give a brief summary, windows 7 (unlike other windows before it) is very "aggressive" about tuning it's packets. Again without getting into the real nitty gritty of the network communications, basically this behavior is SUPPOSED to improve your connections. What it really does typically is slow them down because it spends more time tuning and making changes than it does communicating! It also has a tendency to cause disconnects.

The next step, and actually you may want to do this at the same time you do the above, neither will hurt you in any way, is to disable the IP helper service. Microsoft thought this would be a great thing to throw into Windows 7, when in reality once more it tends to cause more problems than it's worth. To disable it you can do the following:

Click the Start button and in the search box type "services.msc" (without quotes) and press enter.

Scroll down till you find the "IP Helper Service" and right click on it and select Properties.

Select "Disabled" in the drop down box (usually says Automatic or Manual by default).

Now click Apply. Afterwords, if the service was running, the "Stop" button will be lit. Go ahead and click that to stop the service.

No you can OK out of there.

Again, just to repeat, let's let the IPv6 disabling run it's course. If it's still not working, then try the netsh command and at the same time disable the IP Helper service. Let's see if that fixes the issue and if not we'll dig in even deeper!
Greg G, Director of Information Technology
Category: Computer
Satisfied Customers: 484
Experience: Working with computers since '83. Programming since '85. Always worked in the field.
Greg G and 12 other Computer Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Greg G replied 3 years ago.
Hi there! Just wondering if the IPv6 seemed to take care of the problem, and if not if the IP Helper and autotuning helped? Just let me know. If we need to take this even further we can certainly do it! I'm here till we get it resolved for you!
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
the IPv6 seems to have the network stable to 95%. I think we will go with this for a while. Wife laptop is still dropping sometimes. I will disable the IPv6 on hers also. and we will test for a longer period. We can re address if anything happens. Thanks for all your time and effort.
Expert:  Greg G replied 3 years ago.
Great to hear! If turning off the IPv6 made that much of an improvement, I would guess that doing the last step, disabling the IP Helper service as well as changing the auto-tuning would get you to 100% with no problems. I'd certainly give it a try!

P.S. JA terms of service require that any post I make that contains information related to the answer MUST be submitted as an answer and therefore will have an Accept button. Since you've already accepted a previous answer you are obviously under no obligation to accept this one! Thanks again for everything!!! If you ever have problems in the future I'd be more than happy to give you a hand!

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