Thursday, June 01, 2006

Wireless Connectivity Problems with the ThinkPad T60p

Preamble: This is probably not the best place to post this information—a ThinkPad forum or Lenovo/IBM support site might make more sense—but I don’t really feel like going to the trouble of registering for an account at such a site. I hope that Google’s search engine will do the hard work of bringing interested users to this content.

Description of the original problem: I purchased a ThinkPad T60p and discovered that my wireless network adapter (Intel Wireless Pro 3945ABG) was not functioning properly. I used the ThinkVantage Access Connections utility to initiate the wireless network connection, as indicated by the ThinkPad documentation, and while the wireless adapter and Access Connections application recognized my home wireless network, the laptop would not properly acquire an IP address via DHCP. Oddly, if I connected an Ethernet cord to my built-in Ethernet adapter first and then initiated a wireless connection (using a Wireless LAN–only location profile in Access Connections), the laptop would successfully connect with my home wireless LAN.

Solution: After hours of fiddling, I finally called the Lenovo ThinkPad support number. The technical support representative I spoke to was cordial and knowledgeable, and after a few failed attempts at rectifying the problem, he instructed me to follow the following procedure. I have no concrete idea why this sequence of tasks proved successful; I simply offer it here for others to try with my endorsement.

Before anything else, I needed to go to the Support & Downloads page for the ThinkPad T60 and T60p. To do so, go to the IBM support site at www.ibm.com/support, and search on the keyword "migr-62928". Click on the first search result, which should be this page. I was then told to perform the following steps in the given order.

  1. Download and install the Hotkey Utility.
  2. Download and install the Power Manager.
  3. Download and install the ACPI Power Management utility.
  4. Uninstall the Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG Network Connection driver. (This can be done by opening the Device Manager, looking under the Network adapters item, right-clicking the aforementioned driver listing, and then selecting Uninstall. The easiest way to open the Device Manager is to right-click on My Computer on the desktop or within Windows Explorer, select Manage, and then navigating to Computer Management > System Tools > Device Manager.)
  5. Download and install the Intel PRO/Wireless LAN 3945bg and 3945abg Mini PCI adapter driver.
  6. Uninstall the Access Connections application by going to Control Panels > Add/Remove Programs. (I went ahead and deleted all existing location profiles to be safe.)
  7. Download and install the Access Connections utility.
  8. Restart the system.

One admonition: Try not to run any applications while performing this procedure. While I was re-installing the Intel PRO/Wireless driver, I tried launching the Access Connections program to check what version I had currently installed, and the program launched but immediately froze. I think I may have interrupted the wireless adapter driver installation because when I first completed the above procedure, the wireless adapter was unable to see WPA-encrypted networks. I repeated steps 4–8, and then the wireless adapter worked fine.

Addendum: Well, after all that, my wireless connection was no less temperamental than before, although the new connectivity failure may have been separate and unrelated to the original one. After connecting to my home wireless LAN initially, if I later disconnected from the network and tried to re-connect, the ThinkPad adapter would authenticate with the network but then fail to acquire an IP address. However, this time I noticed that if I tried to connect to insecure wireless networks available in my building, I could do so successfully. Thus, I believed there was some sort of authentication error between the ThinkPad wireless adapter and my wireless router even though the system tray notifications and Access Connections messages to the user were indicating that wireless authentication was succeeding. I tried changing the wireless encryption scheme on my router (D-Link DI-624) from WPA to WPA2-Auto. (WPA2-Auto tries to authenticate wireless clients using WPA2 first and then falls back to using WPA. I chose this setting because I have another wireless client in my home that supports WPA security but not WPA2.) I then changed the wireless settings on my ThinkPad, by way of the Access Connections program, so that it used WPA2-PSK for authentication. When I did so, the wireless connection from my ThinkPad to my home network started working perfectly.

25 comments:

  1. Hi there:

    I also have a T60p with similar problems. All-in-all I would have a few micro disconnection sessions but sometimes the Intel card would cease altogether, and a reboot would be in order.

    I finally solved the problem by totally uninstalling the IBM Access Connections and running the wireless card with Windows XP.

    Seems to have licked the problem, so that is another option.

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  2. Hey, as a fellow T60 user, i want to thank you for posting this up, saved me alot of trouble going through forums and calling customer support!

    i couldnt believe it when my brand new t60p could not connect to my wpa network. i even thought it was a fault with my router and downgraded to wep for a while. and for the few months until i came upon ur website, i just sufficed with windows wireless connections which was a hassle.

    So thanks again from Singapore!

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  3. Good post. I found it while searching for a slightly different issue, which I'll describe here for other folks to find.

    I have a new T60p-Wide (8741-A11) and am loading XP on it. (Vista is too new for me).

    I had installed the ATI video drivers, the Intel Wireless NIC drivers (3945abg), and then 4.41 of Access Connections. Reboots between each of course..

    When I fired up AC, I was unable to select any security settings. There were no options in the box, same for Wireless mode (A/B/G/Auto).

    Then I remembered that one installed warned about Microsoft dot net (.NET) 1.1 not being installed. I removed the Access Connections and Intel drivers, then installed .NET 1.1 (off a USB drive), and then reinstalled the Intel drivers and Access Connections.

    All is fine now.

    Enjoy.

    Michael in Austin

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  4. This is a great post that solved the same problem for my Z61t that was itching me for over a year. But I would like to mention my experience during the process. I used a Dlink DI-524 wireless router for connection to internet. The wireless connection will work fine on any channel setting of the DI-524 between 1 to 11 but NOT working on 12 & 13.


    micro_1 in Hong Kong

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  5. Funny. I have a Z60t and have recently done the same things troubleshooting wireless problems with my built in wifi. Turns out, if I hop onto a WPA2 network (have tried two) my cpu pins to 100% ANY time I access the network. Opening a local Word doc, just fine. I open a browser, any browser, 100% cpu. I have to use WPA at home now. Funny, eh?!

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  6. My T60P connects fine the first time to a wireless network, but if the system goes into standby then needs to be rebooted before it will connect again. Really annoying. I'll try the driver reinstallation process you describe. Thanks!

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  7. This is EXACTLY what I needed to fix my T60p. There was no entry for the wireless or LAN connections under my "Network Connections". Doing the process described above fixed my problem. Thanks!

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  8. I could kiss you, are you cute? are you rich? answer the second question first....

    Seriously I have arm wrestled with Lenovo support, my laptop and third party PCMCIA cards for months, your solution worked perfectly

    thank you very much

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  9. Work like a charm! Thanks.

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  10. thanks for this page I just drop some words in Spanish so that googlers in that language can reach your page - esta entrada te da las claves para conectar tu wireless o wifi en el lenovo t60

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  11. I think just the access connection is what we needed. If students logged off, the login script wouldn't run for the next student. They would have to restart the laptop to have access to their network folder. Adding the access connection driver seemed to fix this for us. Thank you for pointing me in the right direction! This has been an issue since we had to reimage the laptops (Z60t model) back 6 months ago.

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  12. Served me perfectly. I was perplexed when, one fine day, my T60 just decided that the wireless connection would not work. I tried a lot of tinkering but to no avail. Finally I saw this page and followed the instructions to the letter and hey presto, it works now! Thanks mate!

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  13. "This might not be the best forum" but who could say what's best? Turns out it's the one we're all finding through google with our T60p wireless problems!
    My t60p only fails to connect when it's running on battery. On mains power, not a problem. So I've got a non-portable laptop. Strange noone else mentions this. But pleased to find the patch exists anyhow!

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  14. Thanks for this. My symptoms were that Access Connections was not able to detect the WLAN even though the driver and everything was working with XP. Got all the drivers installed as you mentioned, and voila! Autmagically working now.

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  15. Thanks so much for this post! My little wireless icon at the bottom right disappeared randomly and wouldn't pick up my wireless router signal. I did exactly as you said and it worked perfectly. Thanks again!!

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  16. Thank you very much.
    Your procedure is clear, thorough and works fine.
    My T60 wifi dead suddenly after allowing the ThinkVantage Productivity (?) Center to update the system (January 2009)

    Respectful greetings from Zaragoza, Spain

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  17. I have a ThinkPad R500 with Vista that I just bought. Access Connections does successfully get to my wireless network at system startup but I cannot browse any web pages or send email. If I disconnect and reconnect to the network all is fine until the next reboot.

    Strange problem. I did the uninstall and reinstall of the network driver but this made no difference.

    Has anyone seen anything like this?

    Thanks,
    Loraine

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  18. @Loraine, I'm having the exact same problem with a new R500. Haven't tried any fixes yet, just looking around to see what the recommendations are.

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  19. I will try this out - my T61 regularly loses its wireless connectivity, then Vista tells me I have no wireless devices installed, and so far my only recourse has been a complete reboot. Hugely irritating.

    I can't determine whether it's ThinkPad or Vista at fault - or a combination of the two, so I think ill of both of them!

    If this problem can be resolved by following the steps on this blog, I will be a very happy person.

    I don't see that ThinkVantage offers me anything that I can't

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  20. Pebbles - I have the same issue with my T61p. Sometime this past year the WiFi Link 4965AGN disappeared from the system and can only reconnect through a reboot. Still searching for a solution.

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  21. I had problems with my wirless connection for months and was not able to fix it. Since I followed the instructions in your post I never lost the connection again :-)

    Great Job!

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  22. Even though this is an older post, I just wanted to THANK YOU VERY MUCH! I have a nice old T60 and was trying to get it to work with a new Verizon MiFi4510, and it was just NOT working. My process wasn't quite as strightforward, I hade some trouble around step 5 and had to retry things a few different ways, but I finally got it working! THANK YOU AGAIN!

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  23. I like your post. I would like to add that you can browse through these drivers so that you can find which one best fits you here http://support.lenovo.com/en_US/detail.page?LegacyDocID=MIGR-62928#PM

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  24. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  25. is this problem is only for think pad or other devices as well ?

    wifi apartamentos

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