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Wifi Catcher!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Discussion in 'Dell' started by val23, Oct 17, 2007.

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  1. val23

    val23 Notebook Consultant

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    HEy,
    Has ANyone gotten their WIFI catcher to work? WHAT's supposed to happen when it is working?
    I've enabled it in QUICKSET already, but when my computer is OFF and I use it, All i get is ONE BLINK of a green light, and that's it. IT works when I'm my computer is ON (when im in vista)... but doesn't work when it's off. Is it defective? I'm using the DELL broadband card (not the wirless N one), just the b/g one.

    Please help.
     
  2. Zigby

    Zigby Notebook Guru

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    I'll be following this thread....

    The point of the WiFi catcher is to allow you to quickly tell if there's a WiFi network around without powering up the laptop. AFAIK, it's just a simple blink-if-present sort of thing.

    I tried the catcher on Monday when I received the laptop, and it worked just fine. With the 1520 off, it blinked when I pulled the switch forward, indicating that there is a Wifi signal, as it should. Then I tried it again this morning and lo-and-behold, no blinks. It doesn't do anything now. Wifi is working fine on the laptop and in my home, and the only difference is that I went through a whole slew of windows updates over the past few days.

    Not sure why it just quit on me. It's not a big deal as I'd rarely use the feature anyway, but it kind of sucks that it just quit on me. I'll have to tinker with drivers and BIOS settings tonight and see if I can get it working again.
     
  3. vostro1400user

    vostro1400user Notebook Deity

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  4. Hiker

    Hiker Notebook Deity

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    So, I take it they're coming built into the laptops now? Good idea. I got a Iogear Wifi hotspot finder I use quite a bit before I pull out my laptop.
     
  5. Hiker

    Hiker Notebook Deity

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    From a search that led to the Dell website...

    Dell™ Wi-Fi Catcher™ Network Locator

    The wireless switch on your Dell computer uses the Dell Wi-Fi Catcher™ Network Locator to scan specifically for WiFi wireless local area networks (LAN) in your vicinity.
    NOTE: For more information about the wireless switch, see wireless switch.

    To scan for WiFi wireless LAN, slide and hold the switch in the "momentary" position for a few seconds. The Wi-Fi Catcher Network Locator functions regardless of whether your computer is turned on or off, in hibernate mode, or in standby mode, as long as the switch is configured through QuickSet or the BIOS (system setup program) to control WiFi network connections.

    Because the Wi-Fi Catcher Network Locator is disabled and not configured for use when your computer is shipped to you, you must first use Dell QuickSet to enable and configure the switch to control WiFi network connections.

    For more information on the Wi-Fi Catcher Network Locator and to enable the feature through QuickSet, see the Dell QuickSet Help. To access the Help file, right-click the icon in the taskbar.
     
  6. Zigby

    Zigby Notebook Guru

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    I don't believe this is correct. I tried the catcher before I even powered the laptop on for the first time. It worked as expected. I have a WiFi network (WPA) in my home and can also detect a couple of the neighbors AP's too. The catcher LED blinked a couple of times when I pressed the switch, and no fans.

    Now, two days later, it doesn't work. Sleep,Hibernate, or totally off, plugged in or on battery, I get no green light. No blinks, no fans, no nothing. WiFi works perfectly when it's powered up. The only differences are that now the notebook has been used on a WiFi network, Vista downloaded and installed a couple dozen updates, I've disabled UAC, and installed a handful of applications (Office, Picasa, antivirus, etc). One (or several) of those things changed something in the configuration.
     
  7. Devedander

    Devedander Notebook Evangelist

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    I have intermittant use of my wifi cather both in windows and while shut off...

    Sometimes in windows it brings up that network display box but sometimes it doesn't. I get the feeling it tends to be after resuming from a low power state but haven't really tested it much... not sure how much I will be using it but I am rather unhappy with how unreliable it seems to be.

    Seems odd to me that any windows setting or software could effect how it works in hybernation or sleep mode...
     
  8. Zigby

    Zigby Notebook Guru

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    Amen to that. It seems to me that the button should do nothing more than what a $20 keychain WiFi finder does. It should be entirely hardware based, and OS changes should not have any affect on it what-so-ever.

    It is totally bizarre that power states, administrator-account shutdowns, and Vista drivers seem to alter the functonality of that button when the notebook is powered down. :rolleyes:
     
  9. SoMuch2S@y

    SoMuch2S@y Notebook Consultant

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    My WiFi catcher has worked flawlessly since the day I received my lappy. It works when I have a low battery, in all modes of power state and even after I disabled UAC.
     
  10. billcsho

    billcsho Notebook Deity

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    If you think that brief blink is how the WiFi catcher supposed to work, I am sorry to say you are wrong. The WiFi catcher should show a green light for good signal and yellow for weaker signal that sustains for quite a few seconds. My Vostro has gone through from the non-working blink (sometimes not even blink), to working after administrator shut down, to finally fully functional in over a month. When it was not working, the tech support told me to re-install the WiFi driver and Quickset. Then I got it to work only after shutting down from administrator account. It stayed that way for around 3 weeks with multiple test. More than a week ago, I have re-installed the chipset driver, Notebook System Software, etc. Then I suddenly found it is now working when it is hibernated or power off in any condition.

    Log-on using the real administrator account would create an extra token and that may affect the pre-boot status in certain security setting. That may affect the function of the WiFi catcher under certain condition.
     
  11. Zigby

    Zigby Notebook Guru

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    Then I stand corrected. I had assumed the blinking green light meant that it found a WiFi signal. Perhaps this new user needs to go check their software settings. Another case of RTFM. :eek:
     
  12. billcsho

    billcsho Notebook Deity

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    I think the OP has the non-working half second blink instead of the steady green/yellow for >3-5 seconds (which you may still consider as a blink). If yours only blink for half second, it is not working properly.
     
  13. Zigby

    Zigby Notebook Guru

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    Indeed, then mine was never working correctly (or simply not enabled properly) because when it did blink, that's all it did. :(

    Since I haven't touched any of the 'QuickSet' software, I suspect that very well may be the problem for me. A big thank-you to both you and Hiker for pointing this out. I'll take a look at that software this evening and see if it helps. :) Thanks.
     
  14. Devedander

    Devedander Notebook Evangelist

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    In that case my wificatcher does not work... it blinks on one of the vostros I have (which is being returned today) and the other only rarely blinks. Never holds solid (even when I am near wifi) and never has been anything but a quick green blink...

    Seems these things are pretty unreliable....

    I have checked the BIOS and have the latest quickset.
     
  15. billcsho

    billcsho Notebook Deity

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    I know how frustrated it is. Dell has not been very helpful in solving this mysterious problem. I guess my problem occurred after re-installing the OS. I suggest you to first try shutting down from the real administrator account to see if the WiFi catcher works. A user account with administrator right is not the same. What version of Vista do you have? The administrator account can be activated in all versions but in different ways.
     
  16. Devedander

    Devedander Notebook Evangelist

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    I am using a Dell OEM Vista Ultimate I bought off someone... so there is no reason I should be having any issues as all the stuff is from dell (drivers, OS and obviously hardware) other than apps I have installed in windows which also should make no difference.
     
  17. billcsho

    billcsho Notebook Deity

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    I just check for you guys, my WiFi catcher when triggered showed a green light for ~7-8 seconds before it came off.
     
  18. billcsho

    billcsho Notebook Deity

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    I am using the same OS and had the same problem for a month. It is still not clear to me how it was finally fixed. It may be the order of driver/apps installations.
     
  19. billcsho

    billcsho Notebook Deity

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    For your reference, here I cite the paragraph in the Vostro1400 support training document:

    begin quote>>
    The LED indicates the presence of a network as follows:
    *Flashing green - The system is searching for a signal.
    *Solid green - The system has detected a wireless signal and has good strength.
    *Solid Yellow - The system has detected a wireless signal, but it is moderate to weak in strength.
    *Flashing Yellow - An error has occurred while trying to detect a wireless signal.
    *Off - The system failed to detect a wireless signal.
    <<end quote

    Interestingly, the same button can be used to determine a no-POST situation if there is a problem with the power button.
     
  20. Devedander

    Devedander Notebook Evangelist

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    Interesting, the only driver I don't have is the bluetooth driver because it screws my sleep function... it may be somehow tied in as I think the bluetooth and wireless are tied together (using dell wireless not proset).

    billscho are you using the dell bluetooth driver? There are only a few downloads I didn't take from dell, I think dell system utilities and intel matrix driver (matrix driver I didn't becuase the dell OEM disc has it built in)

    This is the kind of thing that pisses me off... I don't really need it, I probably will hardly ever use it if it gets working, but it should work and it annoys me that it doesn't :mad:
     
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