How come I cannot get online?

by on July 8, 2009

Q: I am having serious problems with my laptop getting online. I have a Toshiba laptop running on Windows XP. In my home I have Verizon DSL, the modem (Westell model 327W) which I am told is the most up to date modem for Verizon. I also have a Westell PC card. The laptop is at least 5 years old, and I have had DSL service for over 10 years.

Because of the problems I am having, about a month ago, I called Verizon and they sent me a new modem and updated my connections. I still have the same Westell PC card that came with the original modem. I believe that my modem is working properly; the DSL light and the wireless light is lit on the modem. When I turn my laptop on, there is an icon at the bottom that tells me whether or not I have an internet connection and the strength. I know the lights on the PC card are suppose to light up to let me know that I have a connection. That is my problem. Sometimes the icon states that I have a excellent signal but I still cannot get online and my PC card is not lit. A screen comes up saying “Internet Explorer cannot display the webpage.” In the past, I have right clicked on the icon that is telling me that I have no connection and clicked repair. A Repair Wireless Network Connection message box comes up and sometimes I can get online AFTER it says “renewing IP address.”

I thought that it was my PC card so I purchased a compatible Dynex PC card. I downloaded everything and still, I can’t get online but this card tells me that I have a good signal and it lights up!! However, when I try to connect, it says no signal.

I used to be able to go on my back porch or in the basement and get on my laptop. Now, I am about 20 feet away from the modem and can’t get online at all!!! There are no obstacles in the way of the signal and weather, time of day nor phones ringing have no effect on connection.

Please, please can anyone tell me what is the problem? Is it the modem, PC cards or laptop?

13 Responses to “How come I cannot get online?”

    Can you try connecting to your DSL modem directly by using an Ethernet cable and see if that works for you?


      Yes, I tried that after sending this email and nothing. The light on my Westall PC card will not light up at all and on the Dynex PC card, one light comes on but on the laptop it shows that there is no signal.


    Does your laptop have a Ethernet plug on the back of it, independent from the Wireless PC Cards?


    Yes, it does have a separate plug. The PC card plug is on the right side and the Ethernet plug is in the back.


    Okay, turn off the laptop, and unplug the DSL modem.

    Try unplugging the PC Cards and getting them out of the way. Take an Ethernet cable and plug one end in the back of the DSL modem, and one end in the back of the laptop.

    Plug the DSL modem back in, wait 60 seconds, and turn the laptop on. Ignore the wireless stuff, and see what Network information you get from the built in Ethernet card.

    If the internet still doesn’t work

    – Are the correct lights lit on the DSL Modem?
    – If you go to Start> Control Panel> Network Connections, what are you able to see about the status of your Ethernet connection?


    I’m not sure of what “Network information” you were looking for but I was able to get online. I went under Start, Control panel, network connections. I see nothing that says Ethernet on this screen. At the top under “connection mananger” it shows MSN (name), connection manager (type), status (disconnected), device name (Toshiba software modem). Under Dial up, NationalAccess – BroadbandAccess(name), dial-up (type), disconnected (status). Under”LAN or High-Speed Internet” it has 1394 connection and local area connection (name), LAN or high-speed internet (type), 1394 net adapter and Realtek RTL8139 family. Hope this helps.


    Okay, so your wired connection is working correctly?


    Yes, I was able to get online with my laptop plugging the Ethernet cord to the laptop and taking out the PC cards.



    Thanks for your assistance. I was wondering if you were able to determine whether or not my problem is the PC card, laptop or modem? I still can’t get online unless my laptop is wired.


    In this case it could really be any of these. In instances where you’ve confirmed the wired connection is working, have you tried unplugging the Ethernet cable from the laptop and then trying to connect via Wireless?

    What kind of signal strength do you get? Are you able to get to any web pages?


    I unplugged the cable from my laptop and plugged in my PC card but did not have a signal. Remained on website I was on when I unplugged the cable. Icon at bottom has red “X” on it. I am approximately 3 feet from modem; wireless light on modem is lit up (not blinking) but I still can’t get online wirelessly. I right-clicked icon and selected “repair” but message box comes up stating that it couldn’t connect the the wireless network. Once or twice doing that in the past, it repaired itself by “renewing IP address, cleaning cache,” etc and I had a strong signal and could get online. Under View available Networks, my network is not even in range, even after hitting refesh. I recently scanned my computer for viruses, turned off Windows Firewall, ran a disk clean-up and still no signal. Under network connections, it states that my wireless connection is not connected. I have 512 of memory. Can my laptop be so slow that it can’t connect to the internet wirelessly? Although my orginal modem was replaced and connections upgraded by Verizon, I still use the PC card that came with the 1st modem. Is it possible that PC card needs an upgrade or replacement? Can the internal adapter (structure where PC card fits) need repairing? Any help is greatly appreciated.


    It could be almost anything. Here is a complete walk through from microsoft on setting up a wireless network. I suggest you work your way through the whole thing and double check to make sure you haven’t missed any steps:


    Thank you soo much for your assistance.