Q: I have a Lenovo Ideapad Z710. Ever since the Microsoft Windows 10 “upgrade” I’ve had an ongoing issue with my Qualcomm Atheros AR9485WB-EG Wireless Network Adapter (driver v10.0.0.318). My Settings indicate I’m connected to the internet, confirmed since I can send and receive email.
But when I try to access various websites (random pages – the site itself doesn’t matter) the browser will suddenly hang and show an error message that there is no internet access. Sometimes it happens when I’m actually on a page, and sometimes when I’m trying to navigate to a page. The error instructs me to check my internet connection, the proxy and firewall and run Windows Network Diagnostics (which comes up clean). I can sit right next to my router and get this message … it’s not a signal issue.
All I can do is to (a) reset the network adapter, (b) disable/enable it or (c) use the Fn+F5 to wake it up (I do not have Power Management enabled for the adapter, so the PC isn’t turning it off.) This happens regardless of the browser I’m using (either Chrome or Firefox). There’s no predictability.
If you can point me in the right direction, I’d be appreciative.
— Debbie Shafer
A: If your computer wasn’t right next to the router, I’d suggest that you move it closer. And I’d suggest that you look for sources of radio frequency interference, such as microwave ovens. But since you’re right next to the router …
The most common cause of losing Wi-Fi internet connectivity when you’re right next to your router is that the router is set to use a Wi-Fi channel that is overloaded with other traffic. It may be that you and a few of your neighbors are using the same channel.
Your router’s manual will give you details about how to select a different Wi-Fi channel. Some routers will scan for channels with little usage. If yours doesn’t, you’ll just need to use trial and error. Or you can download an app that scans channels and measures how busy they are. I use Netgear’s Wi-Fi Analytics, which is available for download at the Google Play Store.
Q: I just read your recent column in which you gave advice to Harry M. Reichenberg on his laptop connectivity issue. I feel the need to offer a more likely cause to Harry’s problem. However, I don’t know all of Harry’s details, so this is still a possible solution.
You see, I have had the same problem. Only my router is only 4 feet away. I have a Netgear Orbi Mesh router setup. One of the satellites is 4 feet from my laptop.
Here is what I have found fixes the issue. The issue is the laptop going to sleep with Wi-Fi turned on. If I allow the laptop to be connected and then I am away from it for extended times and it goes to sleep on its own with Wi-Fi on, it has a problem with internet connectivity when I return. My solution that works is to either turn off the Wi-Fi before the laptop goes to sleep, or when I wake up the laptop to turn off Wi-Fi, wait a minute, and then turn on Wi-Fi.
Give this solution a thought. It unfortunately is what I need to do to have a happy connection when the laptop has been sleeping. Maybe you know something more that would preclude this issue altogether?
A: I wish I had a better answer for you, but this is something Microsoft needs to deal with.
Some network adapters won’t reboot after the computer goes to sleep. Previous versions of Windows allowed users to specify that specific devices, including Wi-Fi adapters, would not switch off when the computer entered sleep mode. I have just checked on several devices with different Wi-Fi adapters and I no longer find that option.
I’m reaching out to Microsoft to see if they are working on a solution and I’ll let you know if and when I get an answer.