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Wireless network adapter "disappears" intermittently

Dell wireless network adapter

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#1
ph1290

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My daughters Dell Inspiron laptop has developed a quirk where the wireless network adapter intermittently drops and disappears.  It does not show up in device manager nor network adapters in Network and Sharing Center.  It will only come back with a reboot.  This happens both both with her college's wi-fi network and her at home.  Other computers using the same router do not have this problem.  She is running Windows 7 32 bit


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#2
phillpower2

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Hello ph1290,

 

What you describe suggests that this is a hardware as opposed to a software issue, this because the device disappears from the Device Manager meaning that it is not detected, it is possible that a connection to the wireless card has come loose which would explain it connecting and disconnecting intermittently, this is easier to check on some notebooks than it is on others so if you can post the exact Inspiron model number we can take a look at the maintenance manual.


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#3
ph1290

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Dell Inspiron15-3521


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#4
phillpower2

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The battery, Ram, keyboard, DVD/CD drive and palm rest need to be removed to access the wireless card, it does not take that long if you are confident enough to undertake the task, one check that I would suggest first though is uninstalling the network card in Device Manager then restarting Windows to see if Windows detects and reinstalls it, if it does see how it goes, if the problem returns I see no option other than physically checking the card. 
 
User manual here
 
Prerequisites
1 Remove the battery. See "Removing the Battery" on page 11.
2 Follow the instructions from step 1 to step 2 in "Removing the Memory Module(s)"
on page 15.
3 Remove the optical-drive assembly. See "Removing the Optical-Drive Assembly" on
page 19.
4 Remove the keyboard. See "Removing the Keyboard" on page 27.
5 Remove the palm-rest. See "Removing the Palm-Rest" on page 31.
 
NB: While not ideal using a wireless USB dongle would remove the need to partially dismantle the notebook, example here

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