Windows 7 / Networking

How to Troubleshoot Wireless Networks

Wireless networks are now very common. However, users often have problems connecting to wireless networks, because these networks are more complex than wired networks. To troubleshoot problems connecting to a wireless network, follow these steps.

  1. Verify that the wireless network adapter is installed and has an active driver. From Network And Sharing Center, click Change Adapter Settings. If your wireless network connection does not appear, your network adapter or driver is not installed.
  2. If a wireless network adapter is installed, right-click it in Network Connections and then click Diagnose. Follow the prompts that appear. Windows might be able to diagnose the problem.
  3. Open Event Viewer and view the System Event Log. Filter events to view only those events with a Source of Diagnostics-Networking. Examine recent events and analyze the information provided by the Windows Troubleshooting Platform for the possible source of the problem.
  4. Verify that wireless networking is enabled on your computer. To save power, most portable computers have the ability to disable the wireless network radio. Often, this is controlled by a physical switch on the computer. Other times, you must press a special, computer-specific key combination (such as Fn+F2) to enable or disable the radio. If the wireless radio is disabled, the network adapter will appear in Network Connections but it will not be able to view any wireless networks.
  5. If the wireless network adapter shows Not Connected, attempt to connect to a wireless network. Within Network Connections, right-click the Network Adapter and then click Connect. In the Connect To A Network dialog box, click a wireless network and then click Connect.
  6. If the wireless network is security enabled and you are prompted for the passcode but cannot connect (or the wireless adapter indefinitely shows a status of Identifying or Connected With Limited Access), verify that you typed the passcode correctly. Disconnect from the network and reconnect using the correct passcode.
  7. If you are still unable to connect to a wireless network, perform a wireless network trace and examine the details of the report for a possible cause of the problem, as described in the section titled "How to Troubleshoot Performance Problems and Intermittent Connectivity Issues" earlier in this tutorial.

If the wireless network adapter shows the name of a wireless network (rather than Not Connected), you are currently connected to a wireless network. This does not, however, necessarily assign you an IP address configuration, grant you access to other computers on the network, or grant you access to the Internet. First, disable and re-enable the network adapter by right-clicking it, clicking Disable, right-clicking it again, and then clicking Enable. Then, reconnect to your wireless network. If problems persist, move the computer closer to the wireless access point to determine whether the problem is related to signal strength. Wireless networks have limited range, and different computers can have different types of antennas and therefore different ranges. If the problem is not related to the wireless connection itself, read the section titled "How to Troubleshoot Network Connectivity Problems" earlier in this tutorial.

Note This section focuses only on configuring a wireless client running Windows 7; it does not discuss how to configure a wireless network infrastructure.

[Previous] [Contents] [Next]

In this tutorial:

  1. Troubleshooting Network Issues
  2. Tools for Troubleshooting
  3. Table-1 Network Troubleshooting Tools
  4. Arp
  5. How to Identify a Problem with the ARP Cacher
  6. How to Clear the ARP Cache
  7. Event Viewer
  8. IPConfig
  9. Nblookup
  10. Nbtstat
  11. Net
  12. How to View Shared Folders on the Local Computer
  13. How to View Shared Folders on Another Computer
  14. Netstat
  15. Network Monitor
  16. Nslookup
  17. Verifying that the Default DNS Server Resolves Correctly
  18. Verifying that a Specific DNS Server Resolves Correctly
  19. Verifying Specific Types of Addresses
  20. Using TCP for DNS Lookups
  21. PathPing
  22. PathPing Output
  23. Routing Loops
  24. Performance Problems
  25. Possible Connectivity Issues
  26. No Connectivity Issues
  27. Performance Monitor
  28. Data Collector Sets
  29. Windows Resource Monitor
  30. Ping
  31. PortQry
  32. Identifying the TCP Port for a Service
  33. Windows 7 Testing Service Connectivity
  34. Determining Available Remote Management Protocols
  35. Why PortQry Is Great
  36. Route
  37. Task Manager
  38. TCPView
  39. Telnet Client
  40. Testing Service Connectivity
  41. Test TCP
  42. Windows Network Diagnostics
  43. The Process of Troubleshooting Network Problems
  44. How to Troubleshoot Network Connectivity Problems
  45. How to Troubleshoot Application Connectivity Problems
  46. Default Port Assignments for Common Services and Tasks
  47. How to Troubleshoot Name Resolution Problems
  48. How to Verify Connectivity to a DNS Server
  49. How to Use the Hosts File
  50. How to Troubleshoot Performance Problems and Intermittent Connectivity Issues
  51. How to Troubleshoot Joining or Logging on to a Domain
  52. How to Verify Requirements for Joining a Domain
  53. How to Troubleshoot Network Discovery
  54. How to Troubleshoot File and Printer Sharing
  55. How to Troubleshoot File and Printer Sharing from the Client
  56. How to Troubleshoot File and Printer Sharing from the Server
  57. How to Troubleshoot Wireless Networks
  58. Network Diagnostics
  59. How to Troubleshoot Firewall Problems