Wireless connection disconnects and reconnects randomly (or, wireless droppings stink real bad)

I thought that this little tidbit might be useful to a few people. My netbook’s wireless connection recently started disconnecting and reconnecting randomly at school. This didn’t happen last year, it only started a few weeks ago. Looking up this problem online didn’t give any conclusive answers, but made me believe that some settings got changed either on my netbook (e.g., an automatic driver update), on the routers’ configurations at school (e.g., an updated credential persistence policy or supporting a new standard like 802.11n), or a combination of the two.

My netbook’s disconnect and reconnect problem was fixed by changing two settings on my netbook. Implementing #1 below made the problem a little better, and implementing both made the problem go away completely.

  1. Change the wireless adapter’s power management setting so that it isn’t allowed to turn off your wireless adapter when it is idle. I think this is what was killing my connection some of the time. This change can be made in Windows 7 by:
    • Go to “Control Panel > Network and Sharing Center > Change Adapter Settings”
    • Right-click on your wireless adapter
    • Choose “Properties”
    • Click “Configure”
    • Click “Power Management” tab
    • UNcheck “Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power”
    • Click “OK” (or equivalent) button on each window opened in this process to save the new settings

  2. Change the wireless adapter’s settings so that it uses wireless 802.11b/g instead of 802.11n. My netbook has an early wireless-n adapter that sometimes can have connection issues with newer wireless-n access points. I don’t remember if my school had -n last year or if they only had -g, but I think this was also part of my problem. This change can be made (once again, for Windows 7) by:
    • Go to “Control Panel > Network and Sharing Center > Change Adapter Settings”
    • Right-click on your wireless adapter
    • Choose “Properties”
    • Click “Configure”
    • Click “Advanced” tab
    • Select “Wireless Mode Selection” in the “Property” area
    • Change the “Value” field to use 802.11b/g (or equivalent) instead of “auto”
    • Click “OK” (or equivalent) button on each window opened in this process to save the new settings

After making these two changes, my connection issues went away! Hopefully this will work for you. However, it appears that there doesn’t seem to be one consistent culprit for all the people that have this problem.

One thought on “Wireless connection disconnects and reconnects randomly (or, wireless droppings stink real bad)”

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