Microsoft Windows XP
Wireless Zero Configuration (WZC) / Wireless Network Troubleshooting Checklist

First version: 10.31.2004 | This revision: 02.26.2005 (GMT+8)

~ Displayed in no order of preference ~

Notebooks or computers with built-in wireless adapters often come with a hardware switch that turns on/off the radio of the adapter in order to save battery power.
Make sure this switch has been turned on before you attempt other checklist items - or there will be no power to the radio and you will not be able to detect any wireless network.
If Power Management option is available to your wireless adapter entry in Device Manager (see below of an example on a wired network adapter), you may turn off the power saving function if you plan to have a wireless network connected all the time to avoid connection issues when Windows turns off the adapter to save power.
This is totally optional as turning off the function will no doubt shorten battery life

Make sure your encryption Key has been entered properly on each computer.
There have been cases where the wrong Key is used and WZC still reports a connection but without a network being established.
Disable QoS Packet Scheduler under Wireless Network Connection's Properties.

You need to re-establish connection for the change to take effect.

Disable IEEE 802.1x Authentication if enabled (if available).

For a more detailed instruction, please see
You need to re-establish connection for the change to take effect.
If you are using Windows XP without Service Pack 2 and you are using WPA-PSK encryption, the ability to disable this setting may not be available.

Make sure your wireless network is the only entry or is at the top of the Preferred network entries.


Try a different wireless channel on the router.
Disconnection can be caused by another radio source (such as microwave oven, household cordless phones, etc.) or wireless networks operating near or on the same frequency as your network.
If your router has one of those auto channel selection, turn it off and try one channel at a time.
To speed up the testing process, and if your wireless adapter is bundled with an application to that can tell you what channels are being occupied by other wireless networks, use it to identify the channels which are the least occupied and with the furthest separation from other occupied channels, and try these channels first.  Please see Wi-Fi Wireless Networks FAQ for a detailed explanation.
Change to a unique router SSID.
SSID identifies your wireless network to your devices.  Think of it as a radio station identifier.
Make sure your router's identification is unique in your neighborhood.  It is recommended to avoid using spaces and symbols if possible, although this may not have a significant effect.

Turn on SSID Broadcast.
This is not a security feature since it can be sniffed from the data packet in plain text form, and can affect connectivity when disabled - see from Microsoft for more details.
If advanced wireless configuration is available on the router, check or change the following settings if they are present on your router.
  • Lower the Beacon Interval to 50ms
  • Set Basic Rate to All
  • Disable CTS Protection Mode
    (enable only if you have both 802.11b and 802.11g devices on your network and you wish to ensure the best possible connectivity between them)


Try using a lower form of wireless encryption, e.g., switch from WPA-PSK to WEP.
Do bear in mind the possible increase in security risk.
If the router has MAC Address Filtering enabled, make sure the MAC Address (also known as Physical Address) of your wireless adapter is listed, or has not been excluded depending on the Filtering mode in use.
Check the location or placement of the router. Make sure it is not hidden under a desk or in a shelf. Place it as high up and as centre of the area to be covered as possible.
If there is a firewall on the wireless client, see whether the firewall is causing disconnection by disabling it.
Don't worry about losing firewall protection - the router should still provide sufficient protection to your network.
If the computer is using Windows XP with more than one network adapter present and it has establish a network bridge, remove or disable the bridge.


Additional Reading (may open in a new window)
Step-by-step Setup Guide To A Secure Home Wi-Fi Network
Connect To An Encrypted Wi-Fi Network With A Hidden ESSID/SSID
Wi-Fi Wireless Networks FAQ
Wireless Networking Overview
Connect to an available wireless network
Configuring Wireless Network Clients



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Disclaimer :
This is an online self help guide created for my family and friends.  It remains under construction and will be modified, refined, and updated continually (when time permits).  While tweaks and applications have been tried and tested extensively on different systems to ensure compatibility and stability, Spymac Network, Inc. and I accept no responsibility for any loss of data as a result of computer failure, so
use at your own risk please.
Remember: Always backup your important data before any modification!