Saturday, April 26, 2008

Why does my Wi-Fi have limited or no connectivity?

The built-in Wi-Fi on my Toshiba notebook computer is fairly decent and reliable, but every once in a while I get this little popup message that informs me that I have:

Limited or no connectivity: The connection has limited or no connectivity. You might be unable to access the Internet or some network resources.

The Wi-Fi status shows that I am "Connected" and maybe even that the signal strength is "Good", "Very Good", or even "Excellent" (or maybe simply "Low"), but email and web browsing simply do not work.

I happen to be running Windows XP (still).

Sometimes the problem occurs after my computer has been sitting idle for some time. Sometimes the computer may have gone into suspend mode. Hard to say. Who knows.

Disconnecting and reconnecting my computer to the wireless network does not seem to help.

Turning the Wi-Fi switch on and off does not seem to help.

Powering down and back up may work, but I am always in the middle of doing something and do not want that hassle.

What to do...

Now, I do not know precisely what the technical problem is, but it has something to do with "stale" IP addresses, I think. In any case, the fix or at least the workaround is simple...

Whenever you get that "Limited or no connectivity" message, do the following quick and easy steps:

  1. Turn your computer's Wi-Fi switch OFF. This may not be required, but do it just to be sure.
  2. Open a Windows Command Prompt window.
  3. Enter the following command at the command prompt:

    ipconfig/flushdns
  4. Turn your computer's Wi-Fi switch back ON.
  5. Wait a few seconds, and connectivity should be restored, unless there is an actual connectivity problem

If you ever run into this problem, trust me, I can feel your pain.

-- Jack Krupansky

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