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My laptop will not connect to my home network and defaults to unsecure, outside network. Why? Answered

For some reason my laptop will only connect to an unsecure linksys network and not my own personal, secured network despite entering the network key and the fact that other devices connect to it seamlessly.  It simply always defaults to this unsecure network.   I've already removed and added my home network as an attempt to troubleshoot the issue, but still no luck.  The laptop simply always reverts back to the unsecure network.  My home network has more bars and is listed on the top of the list for preferred networks.  

The laptop in question is at least 6yrs old.  Runs on WindowsXP.  Is a Sony.  

Is there something I should do with the drivers or how it is configured.



5 years ago

The 1394 is firewire. You probably never use it but it always appears with the network hardware if you have it.
The RealTek is the adapter for a network cable. Its the plug that looks like a phone plug but wider.
There is no point in disabling either of these. They are not really using any resources or causing problems.
The only one you need to uninstall/reinstall is the wireless one.

Thank you for this breakdown as well! Unfortunately, the uninstall/reinstall was originally performed on the wireless one and did not heed any results.

I have seen this happen with a customers with a Win 7 notebook. I was working on downloading some updates for him and asked if his internet was always so slow. He said that it kept switching from his network to an outside one for some reason. When I looked that is exactly what it had done. It was a slower unlocked access point. At one time in the past when his internet went out he logged onto this one until his replacement router came. For some reason his notebook decided that it should stay with that rather than the new one that was secure and faster and stronger.
There should be an option in the network adapter software that allows you to specify to "always connect to to this" one. It will depend on what software you are using. Windows has a wireless manager but many wireless adapters come with their own software that runs in place of the Windows one. For example there is one called "raillink" that comes with my long distance adapter. It has a lot more features than the windows one and I can specify for each SSID what I want it to do. (An SSID is the name of the connection that appears in a scan of available wireless access points.) In what ever software you are using there should be an option for each SSID, and you may even have to go to properties page, that will specify to always connect to that one or never connect to that one. Look at the list of the names that come up in a scan and then see if you can find the options for them. it should be in there somewhere.

If your connection is being refused on the secure connection, the laptop will go down the list of authorized sites and connect to whatever is available. You need to disassociate with the unsecured site to make sure the laptop doesn't default to there.

As for getting a laptop to connect to a particular access point while others CAN connect indicates a problem with the laptop. Consider uninstalling and reinstalling your wireless drivers, and/or updating them to the most recent version from the manufacturer's website. There could be a configuration issue in the router that does allow some connections but not others (such as mac filtering).

Thanks so much for your prompt response! I went through the steps and uninstalled and reinstalled the adapter I assumed needed to be (three to choose from), but it did not seem to resolve the issue. Maybe you can assist me in deciding which adapter to reinstall and maybe which to disable/remove entirely?

These are the three options I have:
1394 Net Adapter
Intel(R) PRO/Wireless 2200BG Network Connection
RealTek RTL8139/810x Family Fast Ethernet NIC

My router is a Linksys and my internet access is provided by Comcast.

Clearly, I don't know the dynamics of all this, thus I figured I'd give you all the information I do know, no matter how inconsequential it may ultimately be to you and your ability to help. Thanks so much!

1394 is the firewire port (which can be a network device)
RealTek Ethernet NIC (network interface card) is the wired RJ45 port physically on the computer

Intel PRO Wireless -- THAT is the wireless connection. When you look at your adapters in the connections list, right click and properties should bring up a bunch of settings - virtually everything in there should be set to 'default' or 'automatic'. The fact that you CAN connect to other networks means its functioning, but something in the config of your personal secure access point is causing the problem.

Consider a factory reset of your linksys router - you can do this from in the router options, or by holding the button on the back of the router (pinhole) for 5-10 seconds. You will need to wire in to configure the router again after doing a full reset.

Because all the other devices in my house are working properly, do you think that this reset could/will ultimately mess with their connectivity in some way? Or, is the above referenced solution fairly simple. I don't want to mess around with the whole of it if I could find myself in greater straits.

If you reset the router to factory then yes you will probably have to set it up all over again, unless it is already working on default. If everything else is working then its probably not a problem.
Something that you should do is log into the router from one of your computers and go through the settings and either write them down or if it has the option, print them out. Many routers can generate a document that has all the setting. This way when/if the router fails it will be easy to program a replacement.