VAIO smart network, not so smart

This is actually a Windows problem, but since I don’t run a Windows blog this rant goes here.  My wife’s Sony VAIO laptop has not had wireless networking for two days.  Today I figured out why and it was pretty frustrating.

The problem first occured the other day when one of the children did “something” to the laptop and the wireless networking had not worked since.  So the first thing I checked was the little slider switch on the front of the laptop.  That would have been an obvious cause of the problem.  Unfortunately, everything was fine with the switch.  I checked the windows device manager and it said the wireless adapter was functioning just fine.  I couldn’t figure out why the little green LED on the front of the laptop would not indicate wireless networking was on.

I’ve had miserable experiences with Vista wireless networking, so the next thing I tried was to power down the laptop, remove the battery, and leave it overnight to discharge any internal circuitry that may stay charged for a period of time.  The next day it still would not work.

Next I plugged the laptop into a wired network and installed the latest antivirus updates and then the latest windows updates.  I didn’t really think these would fix it, but at this point I was baffled.

Finally, I went to Google and found my problem.  The VAIO, like many laptops, has it’s own redundant dashboard software for managing a number of the laptop functions.  The standard windows dialogs all thought everything was on and running, but the VAIO specific “smart network” was not on.  I re-enabled WLAN in “smart network” and everything worked great.

I don’t know if there is a reason that vendors seem to ship redundant dashboards with their machines.  I’m really quite tired of it, though.  Either windows power management & wireless networking needs to be disabled or these redundant tools need to go away.  One way or the other, though, I need to be able to check a single spot to determine whether the network is on.