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XPS Laptop detects no wifi networks despite recognizing wifi card?

Computer is running Windows 10 Pro 22H2.

I think I have the same or similar question to here: Laptop Wifi Shows No Network connections

However, that thread was 5 years ago and no solution was reported there, and I don't want to necro a dead thread. Also, for all I know it is similar symptoms but different cause?

The laptop cannot see or connect to any network, despite other devices detecting and connecting to those networks. Even when it is within 2 inches of the router.

What I've gone through, in more or less chronological order:
Network troubleshooter is worthless. There is no physical switch and there are no networks that appear under the list (yes, wifi is turned on).
I can try to manually input the SSID and network password and still cannot connect.
I have tried reinstalling drivers, both Windows standard drivers and those available on the Dell support site.
I have completely disabled the device in Device Manager and restarted to automatically detect it again.
Tried manually removing all Wifi networks and resetting all network settings.
Used CMD in Admin mode to run ipconfig commands. (Everything reads "Media disconnected". All DHCPs are enabled. Refresh/Renew give "media disconnected" related errors, flushDNS is successful but doesn't help anything.)
Completely wiped and clean reinstalled the OS.

I have removed the physical wifi card and tested it (it works) in another system, as well as installing a new wifi card (that also works) and the new wifi card does not work in this system.

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The Wifi Card also handles bluetooth, and bluetooth can both detect and successfully connect to other devices.

I have not yet attempted an ethernet connection. I was troubleshooting when I realized that I do not have an adapter compatible with this computer. I have one on order but it has not arrived yet.

Any ideas or solutions would be greatly appreciated. About out of attempted solutions to try that the Google or the linked thread above have recommended.

Thanks Jayeff for going through all the steps and helping me try things I didn't think of. After much, much more troubleshooting, the answer seems to be that this laptop, sometime over the course of updates over time, became incompatible with it's stock wireless card, even if that card still works, and using a different wifi card with similar capabilities addressed the issue.

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Hi @erelectronics

I don't know the answer but looking at the service manual, taken from this support webpage for the laptop, the antennas are connected to what is called an antenna module (see p.65) and from there to the WiFi card.

Just wondering if there's a connection problem between the antenna and the module or the module and the WiFi card. Wouldn't be the first time a cable (antenna or video) was damaged where it passes through the hinge to get from the lid to the case

I realize that you said that the BT worked OK and assuming that you checked for WiFi networks operating on the 2.4GHz band that you should detect them also as BT works on the same band. I think that there are at least two antenna connections on the WiFi card (is this correct?) so maybe the WiFi needs both to function correctly and the BT only one, but this is nothing but a guess.

Did you try checking for 5GHz WiFi networks just to see if there are any detected or not?

Also try downloading, installing and running this free WiFi sniffer program and check if it shows any WiFi networks being detected.

The reason I suggest this is to see if it shows if there are any networks out there at all, even if they have a weak signal strength of say -85 to -100dBm. Normally networks of this strength (usually too far away) can't be connected to as their signal is considered too weak so maybe they're not even being shown as an option by Windows. If any do show up it proves that in the main the WiFi is detecting the signals but for some reason the signal may not be strong enough. Does your network SSID show up in the sniffer program network list?

You've checked the card and the software so that leaves hardware - antenna or motherboard

FYI usual WiFi signal strength values are as follows, the levels are expressed in -ve dBm. i.e the higher the number the weaker the signal:

-30 dBm: This is the maximum signal strength. Signals having this level can sometimes also cause problems as it can be too strong and can overload the WiFi card

-50 dBm: excellent signal strength.

-60 dBm: good signal strength.

-67 dBm: reliable signal strength.

-70 dBm: not a strong signal strength.

-80 dBm: unreliable signal strength.

Just some thoughts.


To summarize the comments below on how to troubleshoot the problem to prove whether it is software or hardware related and in this instance solve a compatibility problem between the card, the laptop and Windows OS, try the following:

Try downloading, installing and running this free WiFi sniffer program and check if it shows any WiFi networks being detected.

If none shown, try starting the laptop with a "live" version of a Linux OS e.g. Ubuntu Lite etc. This allows you to preview the OS before installing it and check if the WiFi works OK.

If it does, you may have to try a different WiFi card. (example only as the post shows that it worked, at least in their laptop).


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Thank you for your thorough and well-researched response.

For reference, I have added a photo of the wifi card in this system to my main post. It has three antennas.

To troubleshoot the antenna module, I have shut down, removed all but one cable, and powered on. The device broadcasts BT signal and receives BT signal anywhere in my shop. I have repeated this with the second and third cable to equal results. To be sure, I disconnected all 3 cables and the device does not broadcast a signal at all, and can only pick up a BT signal from a test device that is within about 10 meters (maybe 1/3 the detection range with any cable plugged in).

I think that definitively proves the antenna module is working as intended? All three cables can broadcast and improve detection range.

Second suggestion: The card has no option to set a preferred band, nor to disable the 2.4g band. But this card (DW1830) is rated for both 2.4g and 5g bands.

Third suggestion: I will try to download the sniffer program and report back.


(Character limit on previous comment, sorry.)

I should add that the "show available wifi networks" does not have a searching animation. I've worked with previous wifi problems where the searching animation plays (series of dots running across the top of the window) even though it does not find any network. The searching animation does play when searching for a BT signal (even with all antennas removed), but there is no animation when searching for a wifi signal. Could Windows somehow simply be refusing to search for a wifi signal? Unless that animation was removed in this build of Windows and I simply did not know it.

Sorry, this is a "duh, I'm stupid" moment, but it only just occured to me that I do have access to a USB wifi adapter (TPLink AC1300). If I plug that in and then I can manually select "wifi 2" in the "available networks" list and it can see nearby networks. I'm not sure what that means about the rest of this issue.


I have tried the wifi sniffer program. "All Networks are Currently Filtered" and it has nothing on the screen. Both the 2.4 GHz graph and the 5 GHz graph are completely blank.



Here's a link that may help with the sniffer program problem.

Just curious as to what icon (if any) is showing on the taskbar for the WiFi?

If there's the standard curved radiating signal bars showing, when you click on the icon do you get the option to turn on/off airplane mode? Just wondering if the WiFi may be stuck in airplane mode for some reason.

Are there any WLAN setting options in BIOS at all?



Yes that link is unrelated. There are no filters applied. Even the sniffer program to detect even weak signals cannot detect anything. To verify I plugged in the wireless TPLink dongle and a few seconds to process and all the signals popped up, and on the "learn" page it had both adapters listed. But with just only the built-in adapter installed even inSSIDer doesn't detect any signal.

I have all the regular icons and have tried every combination and order of turning them on/off to no avail.

In BIOS, there is Wireless > Wireless Switch, which has two options, WLAN and Bluetooth (both enabled), and Wireless > Wireless Device Access, which has two options, WLAN and Bluetooth (both enabled). There is also Security > Non-Admin Setup Changes, which has an option "Allow Wireless Switch Changes" which is also enabled. That is any and all settings in bios that mention wireless/wifi/WLAN in any way.



What is the model number of the motherboard?

It may come down to a board problem, although since the OS (and the BIOS) it seems can communicate OK with the card, you wouldn't think so.

Just to finally eliminate a software problem and I'm not sure that this will work or not, try starting the laptop with a "live" version of a Linux OS e.g. Ubuntu Lite etc. This allows you to preview the OS before installing it.

Again I'm not sure if the WiFi will even work but I know that the Ethernet does when trying this.

You can also look online to see how to start Windows in safe mode with WiFi as again WiFi usually doesn't work in safe mode, only Ethernet as the specific drivers aren't loaded but there is a workaround apparently


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