My Dell 15R-5521 lap top was working fine for the past year and a half. I went to use it today and all of a sudden I can't access my wireless internet. The only way to acquire internet is through the Ethernet port. In the network drivers, only the Realtek Family Controller is there. Just one driver. It's almost as if something deleted all my wireless network drivers and won't let me re-download them. I've attempted to download the drivers from the dell website, but they either fail or don't show up. I am at a serious loss here. The WIFI bars that are usually in the bottom right corner of my screen are no longer there, just the Ethernet port that says "Not Connected - No connections available".The WIFI light is on, on the front of my lap top but its like it's stuck in Ethernet mode. Any recommendations or past fixes are more than appreciated.
I have exactly the same problem with exactly the same laptop. Wifi has worked fine for a year and a half. All of a sudden it's as if there is no wifi card installed in the laptop. I didn't change anything. At one point after going away, it mysteriously re-appeared. Now a few days later it disappeared again. I'm not saying that the wifi adapter can't connect, it's as if there is no wifi adapter hardware in the laptop anymore. I couldn't find the wifi adapter in device manager. I'm going to look again tomorrow but if I still can't find a wifi adapter or unknown device I'm thinking of opening up the laptop to see if the wifi card has come loose.
I also have exactly same problem. And I think it 's because of some Windows update installed recently.
Similar problems I have over a year ago when Windows 8.1 has been released and Dell support advised me not to install it or rollback to Windows 8, saying that 8.1 is not reliable yet.
And even earlier I also had problems with WiFi and WiFi adapter has been replaced in service center , but it didn't help.
Now Dell support says me that my support plan doesn't include phone support and I should bring my laptop to service center.
I have uninstalled lates Windows update but it do not help.
In general I am a bit tired of Dell service and I see a lot of complaints about WiFi adapter in 5521 (15R) model, but Dell do not care. And definetly my next laptop won't be Dell.
I wanted to follow up to let people know what I did to fix this issue. Since the wifi adapter itself was disappearing, I figured it was loose or defective. So I found a replacement wifi card on Amazon and installed it in the laptop. I should warn people that it was a big effort to get the laptop open so it could be replaced. I had to remove almost everything before I got access to the wifi card slot. I followed instructions in the online users manual on how to disassemble it. The card didn't appear to be loose, so I replaced it with the new one and it's been working perfect ever since. So I believe my wifi card died.
In general it's not hardware replacement issue. Today I get back my wifi working again by removing last Windows update and then turning laptop off, removing battery for 10-20 seconds and switching it on again.
As I said earlier replacing wifi adapter is only temporarily solution - it's not faulty itself.
Moreover, WiFi adapter in our model can be replaced much easier than you've described. So, I guess you have some other model of Dell.
And my story continues)
I took laptop from work to my home. At home WiFi was ok, without any problems. Today when again at work I see that WiFi adapter is present but laptop do not see any WiFI networks (there are a lot of them in the office). After reboot it finds all networks.
The same problems I had a year ago and it was fixed by removing some Windows updates. Now it appeared again ((((
But Dell do not care about it ((((
I have had the exact same problem - ongoing for a year now.
About 6 months after I got my new Inspiron 15R 5521 my Wi-Fi started to not recognize any networks, then when I called support after restarting etc., didn't work they discovered the drivers were done.
Support re-installed my drivers on multiple occasions. Thankfully both at home and at work I can plug into the internet with an Ethernet cord as my Wi-Fi was unreliable.
I had 3 technicians take a look at my laptop. 2 fixing/replacing the wireless card and the 3rd fixing the Ethernet port (it wasn't reading that a cord was connected) and basically replaced most of the 'guts' f my laptop.
From Mid November 2013 to End of April 2014 I was dealing with the issue and from April 2014 until this past week everything was fine.
Last week the drivers had vanished again.
Any answers to why this is a continual issue with this laptop would be great! I was told the card that was initially installed in all of these laptops was faulty and once changed there would be no issue.
Here I am 6-7 months later back with the same issue I was dealing with a year ago.
Dell - please sort this out.