Wireless laptop connection weak

I was given an old Dell laptop by a friend which worked pretty well on my wireless network until recently. The signal was generally strong but is now very weak unless I move the laptop close to the router. I've tried pulling the WPC54G card from the computer and reinstalling it and found that the exposed plastic top is broken and can be removed from the card exposing the metal frame below. The plastic top was broken before I received the laptop.

What could be the reason for the sudden drop in signal strength? Could it be a software problem or is is more likely to be related to the broken plastic top?

Reply to
Bob L
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"Bob L" hath wroth:

Any particular model Dell laptop?

Well, the WPC54G card is probably broken inside. Might as well try removing what's left of the plastic cover and looking for anything obvious. I doubt that you'll find anything that's repairable, especially if the circuit board has been flexed sufficiently to break an internal trace. However, if it still works, there might be something obvious in the antenna area that can be re-soldered. Look for cracked solder connections at the edges of components.

Broken antenna.

Sure it could be a software problem. However, I don't know of any softare problem that is induced by mechanical damage, so I think you should probably concentrate on the hardware damage.

Reply to
Jeff Liebermann

Inspiron 4000

I usually connect the laptop to a Linksys router which worked well until I tried to connect to a Siemens 6520 modem/router. I couldn't get a reliable connection so I tried some changes to some advance wireless card settings such IBSS Channel Number, etc. At some point I removed the wireless card and noticed the plastic cover was broken. Somewhere during this period (changing settings and removing the card) I noticed a sharp dropoff in signal strength. When I tried to reconnect to the Linksys router the signal strength low where it had been very strong in the past.

In looking closely at the card with the cover removed, I don't see any broken connections or area where the card is damaged but I suppose I would need microscope to tell for sure.

Thanks for your help.

Reply to
Bob L

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