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Windows 7 - WIFI will only works on channel 5

BRABUS
Grafter
Posts: 660
Registered: 12-01-2010

Windows 7 - WIFI will only works on channel 5

My wife has a Dell studio laptop that was working fine with Vista (appart from the usual Vista issues Smiley ) so I bought her Windows 7 for Christmas.
Before I upgraded her laptop it worked perfectly with our Plusnet router - model etc below
Thomson Gateway  
Information
   

Product Name: TG585 v7

Serial Number: CP0943SFLTP

Software Release: 8.2.6.5

Configuration
   

Service Name: Routed PPPoA on 0/38 (modified by user)

Date & Time: Mon, 03-Jan-2011 18:56:24+00:00



We were at her parents on Christmas day so I installed Windows 7 while we were there.  Now this is a clean install on a brand new hard disk.  The laptop connects to the internet fine at their house via a BT Homehub.
When we come home the laptop won't connect to our wifi despite several attempts to set up a new wifi profile.  I thought the network card must have failed so to double check I put her old hard disk into the laptop and it booted up and connected to the Thomson router right away.  Ok so this shows that the wifi card is fine.
I put the new disk (windows 7) back in and booted the laptop and it won't connect.  It won't even show the network as available and the SSID is set to display on the router.  I even set it (using my XP laptop via wifi) to not display then rebooted the router then set it back to display and rebooted the router again - some times odd things like that just seem to work.
Still no joy.
Anyway, the router has always been set manually at channel 12 to avoid interference from the neighbours, in fact all neighbours have agreed their own channel numbers to avoid such issues - nice to be co-operative Smiley
Just because I was getting fed up with it I set the router to channel 5 as a test and almost instantly my wifes laptop (still as windows 7) spots the network and connects.  I have tried changing it to other channels and the connection vanishes again.  As soon as I set it back to channel 5 it works fine again.

Please, please can anyone shed any light on this?
cheers
Rob
9 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,313
Thanks: 86
Fixes: 3
Registered: 08-01-2008

Re: Windows 7 - WIFI will only works on channel 5

I'm not sure but I have experienced something 'similar' when I used to use my router manually set to channel 13, after a driver update one laptop would not see the router, apparently the driver was forcing the USA channel range (where 13 is not a valid channel), what I'm not at all sure about is whether channel 12 is within the valid range for USA (a lot of drivers, and other software, still assume we all reside in USA).  I would certainly search out alternative drivers, even try some quite old ones as the driver is the main difference in how the WiFi will work with different OSes.
Call me 'w23'
At any given moment in the universe many things happen. Coincidence is a matter of how close these events are in space, time and relationship.
Opinions expressed in forum posts are those of the poster, others may have different views.
BRABUS
Grafter
Posts: 660
Registered: 12-01-2010

Re: Windows 7 - WIFI will only works on channel 5

I am aware that the higher channels are not permitted in some countires so that is when I tried all of the other channels starting at 1 and working my way up.  Took a while but finally found that only channel 5 works.
Thanks for your input though.
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,313
Thanks: 86
Fixes: 3
Registered: 08-01-2008

Re: Windows 7 - WIFI will only works on channel 5

As one channel works the hardware is operational, you've also 'proved' this with the other disk/OS, there is no intrinsic fault with Windows 7 regarding WiFi operation (many think there are plenty of intrinsic faults with Windows but that's a whole other argument) so that still pretty well leaves the driver as the favourite culprit.
In most cases it can be difficult to track down a 'generic' driver for a WiFi chipset, especially for 'built-in' WiFi but if you can find any alternate drivers they are well worth a go (sometimes you cen get the 'chipset' information from device manager and, if you're lucky, a generic (rather than laptop manufacurer) driver will be available - for example my Dell laptop uses an Intel WiFi card and the Intel driver is newer (and better) than the Dell driver.  In the case of the problem I had before it was an Acer laptop which used a Broadcom chipset, I don't think a Broadcom driver was available but I found an older Acer driver which worked for my problem.
- Hope that helps.
Call me 'w23'
At any given moment in the universe many things happen. Coincidence is a matter of how close these events are in space, time and relationship.
Opinions expressed in forum posts are those of the poster, others may have different views.
BRABUS
Grafter
Posts: 660
Registered: 12-01-2010

Re: Windows 7 - WIFI will only works on channel 5

Was chatting with the wife about this and she asked my why it worked at her grandmothers houseHuh  I wasnt aware that she had taken it to the grandparents house.  Anyway to confuse things a little more her grandmother is also on Plusnet and the wifes laptop worked fine at her house apparently.
The only difference we can see is that

  • her grandmother is on a different exchange

  • is on a newer model of router?Huh


Does this help anyone as I am even more confused now  Cheesy - I almost wish she hadn't told me this bit of info  Grin
pierre_pierre
Grafter
Posts: 19,757
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Windows 7 - WIFI will only works on channel 5

I have a V7 on win 7  using Chan 1,  no problems  Not laptop at the moment
Superuser
Superuser
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Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Windows 7 - WIFI will only works on channel 5

Have you tried changing the SSID on your router. The default one is quite long and some systems have problems with long SSID strings.
Try changing it to something shorter, say 8 characters.
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,735
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Registered: 02-02-2008

Re: Windows 7 - WIFI will only works on channel 5

Channel 12 is not a permitted channel in North America (except in certain low-power conditions).
I'd change the router to a different channel, then look at the PC's driver settings for country/region.
BRABUS
Grafter
Posts: 660
Registered: 12-01-2010

Re: Windows 7 - WIFI will only works on channel 5

@ MisterW - the SSID is a customised one that I have always used and is 6 characters in length
@ HPsauce - ok so channel 12 isn't allowed in the US but its not just channel 12 that won't work.  It is in fact ONLY channel 5 that works on our router, yet on her grandmothers router she has no issues at all so it can't be regional drivers surely unless they have become exchange specific Smiley
Community Veteran
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Registered: 14-07-2009

Re: Windows 7 - WIFI will only works on channel 5

Logically either this is a problem with your router or it is a problem with your wireless adaptor or it's a problem with your local environment.  Some of your evidence suggests it is one thing, other evidence suggests something else.
Perhaps the problem is with your wireless adaptor?  When you installed Windows 7 either Windows 7 found and installed software drivers for your wireless adaptor or you did this yourself.  Either way, this process could have gone wrong and you might have ended up with drivers that work a bit but not very well.  If you look under Device Manager, what model of wireless adaptor is shown?  Do you get the same answer if you re-insert your Vista hard disc and do the same thing?  If you can correctly identify your wireless adaptor, do you have the latest Windows 7 drivers for it?