ACCESS problem: Wireless connection says “Access: LOCAL” only (not “local and Internet”), or switches back from “local and internet” to only local:
Diagnosis: The WiFi adapter on the PC (USB adapter or card) is connecting to the wireless router: The radio connection is intact and network data-traffic is passing between the WiFi adapter on the PC and the wireless router. But the router is not passing that traffic on to the internet (the internet is on the other side of the router: the WAN port of router is where traffic passes from the router to the internet). The problem is in another aspect of your network, on the other side of the wireless router: The problem is either (1) the connection to the internet or (2) the connection between the wireless router and another device between the wireless router and the internet. It could be
an IP address matter or DHCP matter: USB WiFi adapter may retain IP address from previous router: See details & resolution
cable-connection between devices, or
a fault with the ISP (internet services provider)
Verify that your internet modem is connected to the internet. If there is an issue with the modem’s connection to the internet, the most likely solution is to turn it off for five minutes and then turn it on again.
If that does not work re-boot all devices in the network: Internet modem, wireless router, and if you have a separate firewall, reboot that also.
Windows Vista is prone to the “local-only” connection problem:
If it is Vista-specific, it will not occur if you use a PC using another operating system (including Windows XP) to connect to a certain access-point or hotspot
With Vista: One moment your connection will be fine, the other moment “local only:” And that switches back and forth.
This issue has nothing to do with the wireless USB adapter or wireless card
Clarifications / Technical Detail / Definitions:
“Network data traffic” referred to above is IP traffic (layer 4 traffic).
IP is “Internet Protocol”
DHCP is the process of automatic assignment of network-address (IP address) by a router or firewall.