Laptop Network switches from hardline to wireless at random


Feb 27, 2013
I am a college student using a Laptop, Dell Inspiron 3520 with Windows 8 64bit. I have been running into internet issues while in the school’s library. I use their hardline connection since it is a lot faster than their wireless. At random (happens maybe once every 2 hours) the internet access hard line Icon on the windows taskbar (bottom right corner of the desktop screen) will switch to the wireless icon. My computer will stop using the hardline connection and instead use the wireless. Checking internet settings will only show wireless as the only available network and running the internet troubleshooting process that Windows control panel provides, comes up with no results.

This internet issue is fixed by simply restarting the computer, upon start up with the network cable plugged in; the laptop will automatically recognize the hardline.

Although this is a temporary fix to the issue, I would like to find out what is causing connection switch to occur so I may correct it and have to restart every time.

When the Icon switches, I know that it is not just the icon that has changed, loading web pages are slowed and if I happen to be streaming content or downloading files, I will see a major difference in speed. The College’s hardline connection usually gives me about 12 MB per second on downloading files, the wireless gives an average of 250kbs. So I know what connection the laptop using when on the internet.

• This must be a computer issue as I have asked people around me if their hard line connections have dropped, they say theirs are fine.

• I have tried other connection points in the library, all work the same, this connection switch occurs on any connection point.

• I have tried using the Schools desktops which use hardline and have not run into this problem. (in the library)
I have not tried the hardline connections outside of the library. My dorm does not have hardline connection points, only wireless.

Is there a software diagnosis that I can use to determine if it is in fact hardware related?

The Windows Device Manager says that my network adapters are up to date.
• Dell Wireless 1703 802.11b/g/n (2.4GHz)
• Microsoft Kernel Debug Network Adapter
• Realtek PCIe FE Family Controller

I use ESET NOD32 Anti-virus 6 so I am sure my computer is protected. My Laptop is new, only 3 months old. I use Google Chrome for internet browsing.

Note sure if you need this but here is a bit of my dxdiag:
System Information
Time of this report: 2/27/2013, 13:56:42
Machine name: JASON
Operating System: Windows 8 64-bit (6.2, Build 9200) (9200.win8_gdr.130108-1504)
Language: English (Regional Setting: English)
System Manufacturer: Dell Inc.
System Model: Inspiron 3520
Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM) i3-2370M CPU @ 2.40GHz (4 CPUs), ~2.4GHz
Memory: 4096MB RAM
Available OS Memory: 3960MB RAM
Page File: 2050MB used, 2932MB available
Windows Dir: C:\Windows
DirectX Version: DirectX 11
DX Setup Parameters: Not found
User DPI Setting: Using System DPI
System DPI Setting: 96 DPI (100 percent)
DWM DPI Scaling: Disabled
DxDiag Version: 6.02.9200.16384 64bit Unicode

System Devices
Name: Dell Wireless 1703 802.11b/g/n (2.4GHz)
Device ID: PCI\VEN_168C&DEV_0032&SUBSYS_02091028&REV_01\4&3A95BC0&0&00E3
Driver: C:\Windows\system32\DRIVERS\athw8x.sys, 10.00.0000.0075 (English), 7/25/2012 01:44:02, 3618304 bytes
Driver: C:\Windows\system32\drivers\vwifibus.sys, 6.02.9200.16384 (English), 7/25/2012 20:27:54, 24064 bytes