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Intel Utility & Win7 Diagnostics report different wireless adapters


CONFUSION--Which Intel wireless adapter on my Inspiron 15 R???

My laptop is: Dell Inspiron 15R 5537 (Intel i5, 6 GB RAM, 500 GB Hd), Windows 7 SP1, still under warranty. It is on the same home wireless network with three non-Dell computers that have no connectivity or access problems. They are on a D-Link router. I was unable to use the laptop when new until after Dell replaced a defective touchpad. So, I am late to the party, and am a newbie here.

Like many other Inspiron 15R laptop owners, I have had daily random "limited access" notice disconnects.

In troubleshooting, I've now encountered a weird mystery: internal conflict as to which Intel wireless adapter is installed on my Inspiron 15R!

1. The built-in Windows network troubleshooter and "fixer" (offical name: "Windows Network Diagnostics") that runs on prompt after access fails ALWAYS identifies the installed wireless adapter as an Intel Wireless N - 7260, in accord with the Inspiron 15R specifications, and "Version 16.1.31."

2. Microsoft Windows 7's =SystemInfo.exe= concurs. It reports 5 NICs installed on the laptop, including an Intel Wireless N 7260 -- AND a "Blue Tooth" device.

3. Then I went to the Intel website to explore what troubleshooting options might be there for its wireless adapter. There was an option to have Intel sniff the laptop and identify the installed wireless adapter. Yikes! It identified the adapter as an Intel. Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260 Intel PROSet/Wireless Version! Different adapter, different version!

4. What explains the differences in identifications and versions? Which wireless adapter is actually installed on my Inspiron 15R? This affects the choice of updated drivers to try, of course. Also, does anyone know whether a verified solution to the widely reported Inspiron 15R connectivity problems has been posted?

Thank you for any help you can offer.

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2 Replies

Hello Marooned,

Let me help you with this.

The easiest way to check what the Wireless adapter in your computer is, is to see the information under Device Manager. You just need to access device manager under Network adapters.

There are some possible causes for Limited Connectivity; hopefully these suggestions will help you:

  1. The modem and router may need to be restarted, or do not have the IP address set up correctly, or the modem is not transmitting internet connection from the provider. This can be discarded if other computers are connected without this issue.
  2. The wireless security/encryption type was setup incorrectly.
  3. A firewall, antivirus or other security software is interfering. The best option is a complete uninstall of the program.
  4. TCP/IP stack needs to be reset.

How to reset TCP/IP by using the NetShell utility:

  1. Flush and reset a client resolver cache using the ipconfig command: Domain Name System(DNS)
  2. This driver version now offers the option to disable uAPSD in the adapter properties, which improves compatibility with some APs.

Kevin, Thank you for the response and offer to help.

However, you failed to address my question: Why would the official Intel wireless adapter identification and update tool misidentify the adapter in my Dell Inspiron 15R 5537? (And the installed driver as well!?)

Might the confusion between the Intel and Microsoft adapter identification tools be relevant to the many connectivity problems on the Inspiron laptop?

This is the tool on the Intel site that I ran in response to Intel's advice: "The easiest way to identify your wireless adaptor...."

http://www.intel.com/p/en_US/support/detect/wireless http://www.intel.com/p/en_US/support/detect/wireless

This was its finding [I made a screenshot; below is the text copied from it]:


Product Detected: Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260.

Current Driver Installed:


The Tool also offered to download the latest driver:

"Newer Intel PROSET/Wireless WiFi

Connection Utility Available: 17.0.3"


Of course, I chose not to download it! That's because (a) the Dell specs advertise the Inspiron 15R as having an Intel Wireless =N - 7260= adapter, (b) the built-in Windows 7 "Windows Network Diagnostics" tool and troubleshooter also says it is an N 7260 with a "Version 16.1.31" driver (NOT an Intel =AC 7260= with a version "," and (c) Win 7's Device Manager and systeminfo.exe show the same N 7260.

Before I go further, I'd like to know who or what to believe: the

official Intel wireless adapter identification and update tool, OR the Microsoft identification tools in Windows 7??? (If the Intel tool we ordinarily would rely on is flawed, an Intel tech supervisor ought to be informed, I would think.)

All of my troubleshooting so far implicates the installed Intel adapter hardware and/or firmware as the source of the connectivity problems. Remember: we have three other computers on the same wireless network, properly configured, working with no connectivity problems. That would exclude the router, AP, and other considerations from the list of suspects.