Is this wireless adapter the original one that came installed in your computer? Intel recommends that you obtain and use the software provided via your laptop manufacturer. Here is the link: listing of laptop manufacturer's Web sites.
Did you try to connect your external hard drive into a different port?
Can you check if your external hard drive is performing any task that might be causing this issue?
Does it work normally without this hard drive connected?
Have you tried a different cable?
Please try one of our solutions provided below that might help you resolve the limited connection issue.