Skip to Content
Pointer Clicker is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Read more.

5 Bad Wi-Fi Card Symptoms

5 Bad Wi-Fi Card Symptoms

Sharing is caring!

Modern-day devices connect wirelessly—for instance, a desktop or laptop computer communicates with a router without cables. But how do these devices talk to each other virtually?

Your 802.11 networking or Wi-Fi-enabled router employs radio waves to send information to a laptop, smartphone, tablet, or any connected device. The connected devices use the same radio waves too.

The devices in question are also equipped with a wireless adapter or Wi-Fi card to translate information into radio signals and send it in the air via an antenna.

The Wi-Fi card is efficient and effective. But it isn’t foolproof. And when it goes wrong, you know. For example, your device may be abruptly cut off from the internet, or your Wi-Fi experience will be negatively impacted.

So, what are the signs indicating the Wi-Fi card is bad? And what can you do about them? Let’s discuss them in detail.

Frequently Dropping Wi-Fi Connection

Dropping Wi-Fi

When a Wi-Fi card is faulty, your computer, router, or any device with the card built-in will struggle to assimilate the radio signals and proselytize them into network data.

As a consequence, the Wi-Fi connection will become unstable or fail altogether. A Wi-Fi fluctuation is a common sign of a failing Wi-Fi card.

Slow Internet Speed

slow internet speed

Reduced internet speed is usually linked with the plan speeds. But if the Wi-Fi card has an issue, decreased speed could be an outcome.

To confirm the Wi-Fi card’s faulty, connect another device to the same internet connection and check speeds.

If the issue persists, it’s likely the router’s Wi-Fi card. If the internet is fine on the other devices, the particular device’s Wi-Fi card possibly has a problem.

Decreased Range

A faulty Wi-Fi card could also lead to a decreased or limited range.

You’d suddenly notice your laptop unable to connect to the internet from a distance it used to, making it challenging to go online from specific areas of your residence or office.

Laptop unable connect

Moreover, a broken Wi-Fi card makes the device’s wireless path much more susceptible to signals from other electronics, such as a phone or microwave.

The above are signs that your Wi-Fi card is bad. But they could also mean other things. In other words, your Wi-Fi card could be perfect, and the concerns mentioned above may still be there.

To confirm that the Wi-Fi card is faulty, perform some diagnostic tests.

Do a Ping Test

If you use Windows PC, follow these steps:

Step 1: Open the Command Prompt tool. Press the Start/Windows key and R key together.

Step 2: Type “ping” and press Enter.

The ping test helps send packets of data and check whether there are data packets received in return. It also measures how long the echo request took.

The image below is representative of what the results will look like:

Ping test

The Wi-Fi card is fine if the number of packets received fully corresponds to the data packets sent. If, however, there’s a discrepancy, there could be an underlying issue.

The Wi-Fi card could be faulty if no data packets are sent or received, denoted by a “100% loss” message under the Ping statistics heading. Moreover, you may also see the “Request timed out.” response message if there’s a Wi-Fi card problem.

You can perform the same IP address ping on a Mac using Terminal, the Mac’s equivalent to Window’s Command Prompt tool. Follow these steps:

Step 1: Click on the Spotlight (magnifying glass) icon in the top-positioned menu bar.

Step 2: Type “terminal” and press the Return or Enter key on your Mac keyboard to launch the Terminal tool.

Step 3: Type “ping 127.0.1” in the Terminal tool and press Return/Enter.

If your Wi-Fi card is sound, the result should be like the image below:

Ping test for Mac Unlike Windows’ Command Prompt tool, the ping doesn’t stop after a few instances. The requests continue until you press Ctrl+C together.

You can also summon the Terminal tool from the Launchpad. Click on the icon denoted by the rocket ship icon in the Dock. You can press the F4 key to bring up the Launchpad app.

In the Launchpad application, type “terminal” and press the Return key. Or double-click on the Terminal app that surfaces below the search bar. 

There is a third method to open the Terminal app. Hover or click the Go option in the menu bar and select Applications to pull up the corresponding folder.

In the folder, locate the Utilities folder. Scroll through the folders or type “utilities” in the search bar located in the top right.

Select and press Return to open Utilities and look for the Terminal app in the folder.

How to Test Your Internet Connection (Mac) - Ping Test (2021)

Look Up the Device Manager

The Device Manager in Windows is an applet that lets the user view all the hardware installed on the computer. The applet will let you know if specific hardware is missing or not functioning correctly.

Since a Wi-Fi card is a hardware component, you could glean information about it in the Device Manager.

If the wireless adapter works fine, you’ll see it listed below the Network Adapters section, with the “This device is working properly” status message. The status could be an error message or issue description if the card has an issue.

In such a scenario, you must update the Wi-Fi card’s driver. Also, disable and re-enable or uninstall and install the driver again. Restart the device and check again.

If the driver updates and uninstalling-reinstalling don’t help, the wireless module could have a hardware problem. In that case, replace the Wi-Fi card.

If you don’t see the card in the Device Manager’s Network Adapters section, your device doesn’t recognize it.

That could be due to the above reasons, or maybe the operating system has an issue, or the Wi-Fi card is disabled in the BIOS.

Here’s a video showing how to enable the Wi-Fi card in the BIOS:

How To Enable WiFi Network Adapter from BIOS Settings | Fix Missing Network Adapters in Windows 10


Can a USB Wi-Fi Receiver Replace a Laptop’s Bad Wi-Fi Card?

Yes, you can use a USB Wi-Fi receiver instead of replacing your computer’s faulty Wi-Fi card.

The USB Wi-Fi device, such as this Cudy AC1300 Wi-Fi USB 3.0 Adapter , will override your device’s integrated wireless functionality, offering a more reliable, quicker Wi-Fi connection.

Just plug the device into your computer’s USB port, install its drivers, and connect it to your Wi-Fi network.

The USB device is ideal if you’re not confident or can’t bother opening the device and fiddling with the existing Wi-Fi card. Adding a USB adapter is a much simpler, plug-and-play solution.

Cudy AC1300 WiFi USB 3.0 Adapter for PC, USB WiFi Dongle, 5Ghz /2.4Ghz, WiFi USB 3.0, Wireles Review

Do All Laptops Come with a Built-In Wi-Fi Card?

Yes, every modern laptop has an integrated wireless adapter to seamlessly connect to a Wi-Fi network in a home or office.

Not just laptops, all smartphones, and most desktop computers have built-in Wi-Fi cards. You can always check if the device has a Wi-Fi card in its settings.

On the phone, you may have to install a third-party app to learn more about its Wi-Fi card, which is small and integrated into the device’s motherboard.

On a Mac, open the System Information page. If the device has a Wi-Fi card, it should show under the Network option as “Wi-Fi.”

Does a Wi-Fi Card Turn Bad Over Time?

A Wi-Fi card doesn’t go bad automatically or after a specific period of use. But if there’s mechanical, electrical, or thermal damage caused, it can go wrong.

The Wi-Fi card getting chipped or damaged during installation due to excessive pressure exerted on it constitutes “mechanical damage.” The Wi-Fi card interface’s pins could have been broken or bent.

A sudden energy surge or excess current could cause the card to malfunction. If the motherboard is not installed correctly, that could result in short circuits, frying the board’s parts.

Not to mention, prolonged exposure to a sweltering environment can ruin the Wi-Fi card’s inner circuits and damage the card. A computer’s cooling system is, therefore, critical.

How To Repair Change Upgrade Laptop Wifi Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) Card On Any Laptop


Your device’s Wi-Fi card plays a significant part in determining how good the wireless connection is. A faulty card can significantly impact the Wi-Fi’s reliability and speed.

Luckily, a bad or misbehaving Wi-Fi card isn’t the end of the world. You can carry out the diagnostics mentioned above to fix and restore the card.

If nothing works, replace the card or get a USB Wi-Fi receiver, provided your device supports it. Some laptop Wi-Fi cards cannot be replaced and require replacing the entire device. In such situations, USB Wi-Fi receivers are a godsend.

By the way, a faulty Wi-Fi card could sometimes be the wireless card not correctly seated in its slot. Just removing and inserting the card again will help in such a situation.

So, confirm the same before pursuing other options.

Sharing is caring!