Technical Support for Antennas & Related Gear

Set-up and Troubleshooting of WiFi USB Adapters

George Hardesty
4 minute read

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START PAGE for Set-up & Troubleshooting of WiFi USB Adapters

Install the wireless card's client software & drivers before attempting any steps on this page.

IF THE USB ADAPTER / CARD LIGHT(S) IS ON / GREEN Click Here …or for "on and off" situations, click here (power problem resolution)

IF THE USB ADAPTER / CARD LIGHT(S) IS NOT ON (NOT GREEN), and/or you got an error message: "card not found": The following steps will usually solve the issue.

IMPORTANT NOTES for care of your wireless USB adapter or card: It is important to use the "Safely remove USB device" function or add/remove hardware function, rather than simply inserting/removing the USB cable or PCMCIA card from the port or slot. Often the adapter or card will not "turn on" and be recognized by the OS unless you use add/remove hardware (Control Panel > Device Manager). Repeatedly inserting & removing a wireless device from the PC without using the add/remove hardware function can cause the OS to crash and may ruin the card, sooner or later. Some cards have more resiliency than others; but generally speaking, if you do not take this step, you are risking harm to your card, risking OS crash, and causing yourself extra troubleshooting steps.

HIGH-POWER / HEAT ISSUE: High power wireless USB adapters & cards run hot and this can cause the "chip" (integrated circuit) to "hang." This is not necessarily an indication of a defect: The cure may be to simply allow the device to cool. Be sure to not place the adapter / card in a tight confined space or in a place where it will be exposed to an external heat-source.

These are Windows instructions: Mac & Linux users please take appropriate corresponding steps and see extensive info in blog. Any one of these steps, or all of these steps together, may start your card working after the initial "Add Hardware" installation:

STEP 1: If you have not utilized the Hardware Installation Wizard: Go to Control Panel > Add Hardware > (follow steps)

STEP 2: Go to control panel > network connections > right click > disable > wait ten seconds > right click > enable

STEP 3: Go to Control panel > system > hardware > device manager > find the card in the list of items > disable it, then enable it.

STEP 4: After installing the client software and trying steps one and two, reboot your PC

LAPTOPS WITH INTERNAL WiFi CARD: Use device manager in windows control panel to disable the internal WiFi card.

Some laptops have a switch to turn-off the internal WiFi card: In this case you do not have to use device manager. Dell Inspiron has a switch on the left side.

Windows Vista & XP Users: Windows Vista & XP will search the internet on its own to find the drivers which will work.

ALFA 1000mW (or 500mW version) USB adapter AWUS036H: Driver issue / dropped connection

OLDER PCs: USB 1.1 ports may not pass enough electricity for 1000mW & 2000mW adapters: See details


If, after trying all of the steps above, a card's lights are not on/green and/or the card cannot connect to your access point, we can assume that the card is defective and we will replace it. Please request RETURN AUTHORIZATION and you will receive an email with instructions for returning the item.

In past cases (before this page and policy existed) in which a customer returned a client card (after receiving error messages such as "card not found"), in about 3/4 of cases, the card was found not to be defective after trying all of the troubleshooting steps listed on this page.

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