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The system: ThinkPad T41, with Intel Centrino (PRO/Wireless 2100), WinXP/32 SP3

The problem: Windows XP does not show all wireless networks.

Usually, I have to click "Refresh network list" a couple of times until I see the network I want to connect to. My assumption is that Windows does not wait long enough to collect all SSID broadcasts. So:

Is there some timeout that I can adjust?

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You need to make it clear whether you are using Windows' Zero Config or ThinkVantage Access Connections. –  paradroid Oct 3 '10 at 16:43
    
I'm not using ThinkVantage Access Connections. –  feklee Oct 3 '10 at 17:30
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1 Answer

up vote 2 down vote accepted

First remark: If you are not on SP3, you should upgrade.

Second remark: When the network finally shows after several refreshes, how strong is its signal?
If it is very weak, then you should first improve the quality of the reception, before trying other measures.

Third remark: Use the latest drivers from the manufacturer. Intel's Update Intel® Wireless Adapters will let you download or automatically install the drivers and software. If it installs another wireless detector, then use it instead of Microsoft's built-in wireless neighborhood (you can always choose to go back to it).

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Yes, it's SP3. And, that happens even if the signal strength is very high. In other words: the problem simply doesn't seem to be related to signal strength. –  feklee Oct 3 '10 at 16:04
    
Added 3rd remark. –  harrymc Oct 3 '10 at 17:49
    
Just discovered that I indeed wasn't using the latest wireless driver. So, I just did an update from version 1.2.4.41 to version 1.2.5.37. I'll find out in the upcoming weeks, if that improves things. To my excuse: I believe that I installed the wireless driver as part of a package with other Intel drivers, and the latest version of that package includes an outdated version of the wireless driver. –  feklee Oct 4 '10 at 9:13
    
For perhaps a year, I am now using Intel PROSet 7.1.4.7. As far as I know that's the latest version that supports my wireless adapter. Connections are noticeably more reliable than before, though not perfect. As a backup solution, I have an external USB Wi-Fi adapter, which can also be used for security audits with BackTrack. –  feklee Nov 20 '11 at 14:06
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