Question Adapter cannot connect to wifi at apartment.

Sep 8, 2019
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I recently moved into an apartment and set up my desktop only to realize my adapter is having trouble connecting to the wifi. The apartment provides free wifi to tenants; it's wireless mode is N and it uses WPA2-PSK encryption. The USB adapter I'm using is the Netgear WNA3100 N300 model. It is able to connect to my router at my previous home and, here in the apartment, it can connect to my phone's mobile hotspot just fine. However, when trying to connect to the apartment provided wifi, it says "Can't connect to this network." My phone and laptop connect to the wifi flawlessly. I've tried restarting my computer, restarting the adapter, making sure I entered the correct password, and reinstalling/updating my drivers, all to no avail. I suspect the issue is compatibility between the router and the wireless adapter. Unfortunately, I do not have direct access to the router as it is shared apartment-wide nor do I have access to ethernet. I am able to talk to the landlord about it tomorrow but I fear she will offer no assistance considering she is not very tech savvy. If I were given permission to access the router, I don't know what I'd be able to do to fix the situation besides restarting it, and I am doubtful that will help my situation. What can I do? Is my wireless adapter outdated? Do I need a new one?
 

Does it work

Commendable
Jun 3, 2017
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It's an ok adapter (the N900 model is far better). Though in my experience Netgear adapters tend to be quite limited and often with defects, I'm sure they are great, but when 4/5 products are faulty it creates a bias (adapters, PCIe cards and routers included), so keep in mind, there is bit of a bias against Netgear at this point, probably been unlucky with them but it still stands.

The most probable cause is that the Netgear N300 doesn't have proper support for windows 10 and isn't properly interacting with your OS, but if this is not the case, it is likely that the signal strength is simply not strong enough. A PCIe expansion card with 3+ antennae is likely to have a better chance and unless you need to swap the adapter between devices, is a better product for your desktop anyway, as you will always have wifi on hand. Asus has always worked favourably for me, you could try https://www.asus.com/au/Networking/USB-AC68/ProductPrint/ (this is compared against the N900 or go find a suitable PCIe card, the TP-LINK N900) or the pretty red Asus cards, both are usually solid performers.
 
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Sep 8, 2019
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It's an ok adapter. In my experience netgear adapters tend to be limited in effective range. It is likely that the signal strength is simply not strong enough. A PCIe expansion card with 3+ antennae is likely to have a better chance and unless you need to swap the adapter between devices, is a better product for your desktop anyway, as you will always have wifi on hand. Asus has always worked favourably for me, you could try https://www.asus.com/au/Networking/USB-AC68/ProductPrint/ or go find a suitable PCIe card, the TP-LINK N900 (is the compare point of the USB-AC68) or the pretty red asus cards, both are usually solid performers
When I attempt to connect to the apartment wifi, it shows that it has full bars of connection in the list of available networks. Is that not indicative of whether or not proximity to the router is the issue? Are my phone and laptop's ability to connect from the same distance that much better?
 

Does it work

Commendable
Jun 3, 2017
205
32
1,640
14
When I attempt to connect to the apartment wifi, it shows that it has full bars of connection in the list of available networks. Is that not indicative of whether or not proximity to the router is the issue? Are my phone and laptop's ability to connect from the same distance that much better?
As I said (or meant to say, maybe my edit didnt update in time, try read again) your adapter may not be supported by your OS, netgear never released support for windows 10 on that particular device, so it may not be performing optimally.

https://kb.netgear.com/29490/How-do-I-check-if-my-product-is-compatible-with-Windows-10
 
Sep 8, 2019
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As I said (or meant to say, maybe my edit didnt update in time, try read again) your adapter may not be supported by your OS, netgear never released support for windows 10 on that particular device
But as I said in my original post, the adapter connects to wifi in my previous home and to my mobile hotspot right now flawlessly. I've had it for over four years. It is still functional. I just don't know why it fails to connect to this particular network.
 

Does it work

Commendable
Jun 3, 2017
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But as I said in my original post, the adapter connects to wifi in my previous home and to my mobile hotspot right now flawlessly. I've had it for over four years. It is still functional. I just don't know why it fails to connect to this particular network.
It may not be compatible with windows 10, yet it can still work. Some routers (usually the older ones) will reject connection attempts from windows 10 or unsupported devices. Do you know what router is used?

Try these solutions, grab the model number while you're at it.
  1. Reset your modem and your router
  2. Run the Network Troubleshooter
  3. Update the network adapter driver
  4. Roll back the network adapter driver
  5. Uninstall the network adapter driver and restart
  6. Check Device Manager for valid wireless card entry
  7. Ensure a vendor’s Wireless Utility is not running together with Windows’ native wireless utility
  8. Set up a new wireless connection
  9. Use network reset to reinstall network devices
If your landlord lets you, do all your testing in the same room as the router to remove as many obstacles as possible
 
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Sep 8, 2019
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For most of those solutions, I stated that I either tried them already or am unable to do because I do not have direct access to the router currently. I will ask my landlord the router model tomorrow. In the meantime, though, the latest driver on the Netgear website for the N300 adapter is said explicitly that it supports Windows 10 and I never had a problem with it on the same desktop in my previous home for 4 years+. Nor is it a compatibility issue with Windows 10 and the router seeing as my laptop running Windows 10 connects to the network just fine.
 
Sep 7, 2019
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there is the fact that 2.4ghz wireless is rather unstable under some conditions. what kind of signal strength are you getting? and are you able to connect your phone to the apartments wifi? if so what kind of results do you get on a speed test? is it extremely slow or jumping all over the place? phone wifi is generally stronger than your average pc wifi but youll likely be able to tell if its so bad the computer wont be able to connect
 
Sep 8, 2019
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10
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there is the fact that 2.4ghz wireless is rather unstable under some conditions. what kind of signal strength are you getting? and are you able to connect your phone to the apartments wifi? if so what kind of results do you get on a speed test? is it extremely slow or jumping all over the place? phone wifi is generally stronger than your average pc wifi but youll likely be able to tell if its so bad the computer wont be able to connect
The available networks list shows that the network I'm trying to connect to has full bars. My phone and laptop both have full bars and speedtest shows a stable 15 Mbps Up/Down. Not the fastest in the world but at least it works and connects without issue.
 
Sep 7, 2019
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other devices show the same security type and everything? also is it having you put the password back in every time you try to connect? and wifi is a direct path make sure you consider where the signal is coming from if possible and make sure the computer itself isnt in the path, and avoid as many obstacles as possible
 

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