Wireless playing dead, wired NIC gone

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Wireless playing dead, wired NIC gone

Postposted on Wed Jan 06, 2010 5:40 pm

Recently started to have problems with my notebook's networking hardware.

Sometimes after a cold boot, the wireless NIC (Intel Pro 3945ABG) refuses to connect to any network. Jiggling the wireless on/off switch has absolutely no effect--the only way I can get it to work is by rebooting. Although the Device Manager never seems to think that anything's wrong with the WLAN, I've noticed that whenever the WLAN acts up, my wired NIC (Yukon 88E8038 PCI-E) disappears from the hardware list. Rebooting corrects both issues.

So I've updated the drivers for both NICs and have even reseated the mini-PCI card. The problem is less frequent now (happens every 5 cold starts), but none of my troubleshooting really fixed the problem.

Acer support is clueless, Google seems to have no answers, and the OS is Win7. Flaky hardware?
A8N32-SLI, S939 Opteron 185 @ 3.2GHz, 4GB CL2 PC3200, GeForce GTX 460 1GB, 1TB, Blu-Ray/HD-DVD, Antec P182, X-Fi Ti Pro, Win7, and a partridge in a pear tree.
jackbomb
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Re: Wireless playing dead, wired NIC gone

Postposted on Wed Jan 06, 2010 10:33 pm

The 3945 is older hardware, so I imagine your laptop did not come with Windows 7 preinstalled. Could be hardware that is compatible* with Windows 7, or like you said, flaky. If you have a spare drive, you can test both scenarios by attempting to duplicate the fault with a fresh install of whatever OS you were using earlier. If it fails, it's a hardware issue. If it works, try it again with Windows 7.
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Re: Wireless playing dead, wired NIC gone

Postposted on Fri Jan 08, 2010 3:18 am

It is an older notebook, one of the original C2D platforms released in late 2006. It originally ran XP Pro, was upgraded to Vista, and then to Win7 the day it was released.

For the first two months (running Win7), it was working properly. The NICs started acting up just a few weeks ago, so it's unlikely that this is a Win7-on-old-hardware issue. Unfortunately, I don't have any spare drives that I could use to test XP/Vista.

Because the wired (Marvell) NIC vanishes from Device Manager whenever the wireless acts up, could it be a motherboard problem? Then again, the Marvell NIC is on PCI-E, while the 3945ABG is on the standard PCI bus, so I don't know how they could both be going out without affecting any other PCI and PCIe devices. USB, sound, video, flash reader are all working 100%.
A8N32-SLI, S939 Opteron 185 @ 3.2GHz, 4GB CL2 PC3200, GeForce GTX 460 1GB, 1TB, Blu-Ray/HD-DVD, Antec P182, X-Fi Ti Pro, Win7, and a partridge in a pear tree.
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Re: Wireless playing dead, wired NIC gone

Postposted on Mon Jan 11, 2010 3:35 am

Both going out could be related, but it could also be that you only check the LAN adapter's presence when the WLAN is acting up. Either way, I don't have a recommendation for stopping the problem. Further troubleshooting suggestions would be more along the line of investigation, which may not yield a feasible solution. Purchasing a cheap USB Wi-Fi adapter may be an acceptable workaround.
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Re: Wireless playing dead, wired NIC gone

Postposted on Mon Jan 11, 2010 8:36 am

What happens if you remove the wireless card, does the LAN connection work 100% of the time?

Have you tried booting an Ubuntu live CD and see if the hardware works all the time in that?
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Re: Wireless playing dead, wired NIC gone

Postposted on Mon Jan 11, 2010 8:37 am

WiFi card on my main PC (Windows 7) had a very similar behavior after I upgraded to GTX260. Basically it doesn't see any networks at all, under rare circumstances it detects 1 network, but all in all it doesn't work anymore.

Could be some IRQ conflict or something, but since you have the same problem, it might be a W7 issue as well. Networking does have few bugs it seems. Like undisableable homegroup, not being able to set network as home network if its a network with static IPs and no DHCP (unidentified network). So who knows. I'm looking on hot to make XP act as a router now... :roll:
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Re: Wireless playing dead, wired NIC gone

Postposted on Tue Jan 12, 2010 1:50 pm

It seems to have fixed itself. I must've booted it at least 15 times since my last post, and the WiFi connected every time. I wonder if the bumpy car ride on Friday whipped it into shape...lol.

Thanks for help guys. If it goes out again, I'll definitely try the Ubuntu live CD as notfred suggested.
A8N32-SLI, S939 Opteron 185 @ 3.2GHz, 4GB CL2 PC3200, GeForce GTX 460 1GB, 1TB, Blu-Ray/HD-DVD, Antec P182, X-Fi Ti Pro, Win7, and a partridge in a pear tree.
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Re: Wireless playing dead, wired NIC gone

Postposted on Wed Jan 13, 2010 2:42 am

Maybe WiFi card in my main PC will fix itself the same way? :lol:

Symptoms are exactly the same :roll:
Core 2 Duo E6300, MSI P45 NEO-F, Club 3D GTX 260, 4Gb DDR2-800Mhz, Audigy X-Fi Fatal1ty Champ1on ed., 0.5Tb+1Tb Seagate Barracuda 7200.12, 630W AXP, Samsung SyncMaster BX2450, ViewSonic VP171b
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