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HP Notebook PCs - Wireless Internet Connection is Intermittent or Slow (Windows XP)


The wireless network connection may be intermittent or very slow. Also, it may take longer than expected to connect to the wireless network.


This document identifies the most common causes of slow and intermittent performance for wireless connections, and provides possible solutions. The methods in this document are helpful for troubleshooting a small, private wireless network in a home or apartment, and they assume you have access to the various wireless routers and receivers.

Method 1: Check connection speed

Method 2: Minimize interference from other wireless devices within your home

Method 3: Remove interference from other wireless networks

Method 4: Reduce network traffic

Method 5: Remove malicious software

Method 6: Re-install wireless device drivers

Method 7: Verify ISP modem and network are functioning properly

Before You Begin

Windows XP Service Pack 3 and all of the latest updated HP drivers must be installed on the PC before performing these actions. To determine what operating system and service pack is installed, click Start, click Help & Support, click My HP Computer in the left column, and click the System information option.

See HP PCs - Updating Drivers and Software with Windows Update for additional information.

Method 1: Check connection speed

Most ISPs provide tools that allow you to test their internet connection speeds. The tools send a large packet of information from one computer to another and determine how long it takes for the information to come back to the starting point. You should run the test before and after you make any changes for two reasons.
  • First, if the internet connection speed is slow, there is no need to test or adjust the wireless network. If the ISP speed is consistently slow, you may want to consider changing providers.

  • Second, by checking the speed before and after a change, you can determine if the change increased or decreased performance.

One reputable speed test service is provided by CNET. CNET Bandwidth Speed Test Non-HP site

Method 2: Minimize interference from other wireless devices within your home

Inside your home, or small office, interference from other wireless devices such as a microwave, cordless phone or cell phone, or other wireless networks on the same or similar frequency, can cause connections problems.

Perform these steps to test and correct a problem:
  1. Temporarily disconnect or turn off electronic devices.

  2. Move the wireless device closer to the router, or move the router closer to the place where you normally use the PC.

  3. Move the interfering wireless device so it is not between the wireless router (gateway) and the PC.

Method 3: Remove interference from other wireless networks

When multiple wireless networks are operating in your neighborhood, there will be signal conflicts. The wireless device may have trouble identifying a single network.

Perform these steps to test and correct a network conflict problem:
  1. Right-click the Wireless network connection icon in the system tray and select View Available Wireless Networks.

  2. Disconnect all wireless networks.

    On the Wireless Network Connection panel, highlight any wireless network with a Connected status, and select Disconnect.

  3. Connect to only one wireless network.

    Select the wireless network you wish to use and click Connect.

    If it is necessary to connect to multiple networks, go to Step 4 for instructions on moving one preferred network to the top of the connection list.

  4. If it is necessary to connect to more than one network, decide which network should be given priority and be connected first.

    When the PC is connected to multiple wireless networks, as seen on the wireless network connection panel, click Change the order of preferred networks.

    Select the name of the desired network and click Move up to move the network to the top of the priority listing.

Method 4: Reduce network traffic

Data transfer speed decreases when additional computers are accessing the network or ISP. This is most noticeable when one or more people are doing load-intensive activities like downloading videos and music files, or listening to streaming network radio.

Perform these steps to test and correct a network traffic problem:
  1. Temporarily disconnect all the other computers from the network and perform a speed check.

  2. Connect the other computers one-at-a-time and check network performance.

  3. If all PCs on the network are experiencing a speed or connection problem, there may be a problem with the service from the ISP. Go to Method 7: Verify ISP modem and network are functioning properly .

Method 5: Remove malicious software

Every computer connected to the internet is exposed to a significant number of viruses, worms, and other malicious software. Your HP notebook PC was shipped with a trial version of the Norton Internet Security anti-virus software.

Perform these steps to scan for and remove malicious software:
NOTE: If you choose to install and run anti-virus software from a different security company, follow the instructions that came with that software. Skip this method.
  • Run an anti-virus scan.

    1. Right-click on the Norton Internet Security icon in the system tray, and select the Open Norton Internet Security.

    2. Click on Norton Antivirus from the menu on the left side.

    3. Click on Scan for viruses.

    4. Click on Scan my computer and follow the directions provided to scan your computer for malicious software including viruses, worms, spyware and adware.
  • If there is no Norton Internet Security icon in the system tray, use HP Help and Support to download a free trial version or to access an online virus scan.

    1. Click Start, click Help & Support, click Troubleshoot a Problem, and click PC Security.

    2. On the Personal Computing Security Center page, click Symantec Security check and Virus tools to get a Free Security assessment and Virus Scan using the Symantec Security Check Non-HP site tool.

For additional information on dealing with malicious software, see the HP document Spyware tools you shouldn't be without .

Method 6: Reinstall wireless device drivers

The wireless device drivers may be corrupted or the properties are not set correctly. Use the steps below to uninstall and reinstall the wireless device drivers.

Manually delete and reinstall the device drivers.

  1. Click Start, right-click My Computer, and then select Properties.

  2. Click on the Hardware tab, and then click Device Manager.

  3. On the Device Manager panel, click the plus sign (+) next to Network adapters to display the installed adapters.

  4. There may be multiple network adapters. Right-click on the Intel or Broadcom Wireless LAN adapter and select Uninstall. When prompted, click OK to confirm removal.

  5. Shut down and restart the notebook. The system will reinstall the proper drivers during startup. Follow the instructions on the Startup Wizard.

HP recommends that you check for and install updated drivers and software for your wireless network. See HP and Compaq Desktop PCs - HP Software Update .

Method 7: Verify ISP modem and network are functioning properly

An ISP serving multiple people in a neighborhood over the same cable will experience a performance decrease as additional computers access the service. Most ISP systems are slower in the early evening when more people are home to check their email and web surf. An interruption in data service on the ISP, such as a power outage, can cause your network to stop even though the status lights on the modem and router appear normal. This is a very common problem with cable ISPs.

If the network suddenly stops working or becomes very slow, even when the connection appears to be enabled, perform these steps to test and correct a problem.
  1. Shut down your PC, and turn off the ISP modem and the wireless router.

  2. Restart the modem first and allow the status lights to quit blinking.

  3. When the modem lights are steady (green), re-start the router and the computers.

  4. If the problem persists, contact your ISP to test your modem and check on the status of their network.

Links to major ISP providers:

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