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My Dell Latitude ST tablet stopped detecting any wireless networks. The card is enabled and the newest drivers are installed but Windows shows that there are no available networks.

The Windows network troubleshooter suggests turning on the radio switch or pressing a function key to enable the wireless card. Unfortunately, it's a tablet, so there's no keyboard to press Fn+F2 (the standard Dell wireless enable keystroke if I remember correctly). USB keyboards don't have the Fn key because it is computer specific. Looking around the edge of the tablet, there aren't any buttons or switches that do anything remotely related to wireless connectivity.

The card is made by Atheros, and in the Atheros folder in Program Files, there is a diagnostic utility, which also reports that the wireless card is "Hardware disabled". There's a button to enable WiFi in the Windows Mobility Center, but it is grayed out. There's also a button to enable Bluetooth, but it gives an error and requires enabling WiFi with F2 (incorrectly, I believe, omitting the required Fn).

I've tried resetting the card, restarting the computer, and reinstalling the drivers. Nothing seems to make any difference. USB wireless cards work perfectly, but the USB port they require is a high price to pay as the computer only has 1 USB port.

I even bought a new wireless card, thinking that possibly the card was damaged and unable to start and that it was reporting this damage as being switched off. The new card didn't work either.

What is wrong with the wireless radio? Is there anything I can do other than use a USB WiFi adapter?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 1 down vote accepted

There aren't any settings in the BIOS that appear to be related to WiFi, but somewhere hidden, there is one. A small note in the manual under the section about replacing the wireless card says:

Optionally if the Latitude ST unit is shipped from the factory without a LAN driver and the driver is installed manually, you will be prompted to turn on the WLAN. The following steps need to be performed to successfully install the WLAN card.

a)Connect a USB keyboard to the computer and restart the computer.

b)Press the F2 key at the Dell logo to “Enter Setup”.

c)Select F9 to load defaults.

d)Select F10 to Save settings and Exit.

WLAN will connect automatically after windows starts up.

This resets the hidden Wireless Radio Enable setting, and removes the Hardware Disable setting.

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The answer is simple. In The Atheros Wireless Network Connection Manager, select Action, then Enable Radio. The application is installed together with the driver from the CD. I do not know why there is not in the applications on Dell Support.

[IMG]http://i.imgur.com/fJ3bhtK.jpg?1[/IMG]

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The Latitude ST didn't come with a CD. It doesn't even have a CD drive! I remember seeing that program but it wasn't working. At some point when I reinstalled drivers while trying to fix the problem, I think I screwed it up. –  0xFE May 8 at 3:12

First this I would do is run osk.exe and try the FN+F2. If that does not work, plug in the USB keyboard and enter BIOS. Then reset BIOS to default.

Also, assuming that you bought an Atheros card, instead of using the Atheros config tool use the Windows tool. It works better.

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I thought you might be on to something here. The onscreen keyboard does indeed have the Fn button, but it appears that it behaves differently. Pressing Fn turns the numbers into the F keys, so Fn+F2 is the same as F2 on a normal keyboard. It's a bit of a misnomer it seems. –  0xFE Aug 16 '13 at 17:46

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