This seems to be old news in the blogosphere, but you should read this if you use a Windows XP machine with WiFi -- Wired News: Windows XP Bedevils Wi-Fi Users.
The article describes the horrible experiences that a network administrator was having with XP machines and WiFi connections, and I have experienced the same thing myself at home. I use a Linksys wireless router at home with my Vaio and the signal goes in and out for no reason. Several times I have upgraded the firmware on the router, gone to Linksys groups, read reviews of the Linksys box (interestingly people either love or hate the box -- I wonder if it's because the people that love it aren't running XP), and basically just wound up muddling on with sporadic connections (yes, I did verify that there was nothing wrong with the router by using a network stumbler, which showed me the continuous signal strength of the access point even when I lost access).
From the article:
"It will and does lose connection for absolutely no reason whatsoever, and then picks it up again, seemingly randomly," Gilmore [the network administrator] said. "At first, it was so aggravating. And now, it's considered a normal factor of working with Windows."
Here's the solution that Gilmore came up with. I will warn you of the following 2 things: (1) only try this if you consider yourself and advanced user, and; (2) you have to do this every time you're having a problem.
- Go to Control Panel.
- Choose Administrative Tools.
- Select Services. A two-pane window comes up.
- In the right-hand pane, scroll down and click Wireless Zero Configuration.
- Click Stop the Service. A progress bar may come up briefly.
- Click Start the Service. Again, a progress bar may come up.
- Close the Services window. At this point, Fleishman said, the connection should come back.
I've heard rumors that his problem should be fixed whenever Microsoft gets around to releasing XP SP2.