Wireless Networking Puzzle
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Thread: Wireless Networking Puzzle

  1. #1
    Agony Aunty-Online Moira's Avatar
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    Wireless Networking Puzzle

    I wonder if anyone has a suggestion that might shed some light on a very frustrating problem I encountered yesterday?

    I was restoring a previous image of Windows onto a PC and was asked by the owner of a laptop that connects wirelessly to this LAN to take a look at his settings, as his laptop "couldn't get the internet" after he restored it back to factory settings. This is a laptop which came with windows pre installed and he just has recovery discs.

    I connected my own laptop to this network, which is an NTL cable connection and a Linksys WRT54GS Wireless-G Broadband Router with SpeedBooster. While my laptop connected to the wireless network with a strong, "excellent" signal, I couldn't get it to open any web pages. This was the problem with the laptop I'd been asked to take a look at too. Opening a web browser just got "page cannot be displayed".

    It was handing out an IP address of 169.154.xxx.xxx, ie the computer tried but was unable to get an IP address dynamically. I had a go manually assigning an IP address, but essentially I had no internet connection - something wasn't routing properly.

    I tried rebooting the router, unfortunately I didn't have time to reset it back to factory defaults as I was in Belfast for the day and had a plane to catch home. This network has functioned properly for over a year, so I haven't a clue what can have gone wrong now. The laptop which regularly connects, while an excellent spec in its day (and still more powerful than mine) doesn't have a network port that allows WPA to be set as it's quite old. So I set up WEP as better than nothing, along with MAC filtering and obviously changed the network name and router password etc.

    However, I don't think the problem is anything to do with this. Both laptops connected, and connected well - it was just impossible to get the internet. Any suggestions would be welcome. My next move has been to ask the laptop owner to try connecting to someone else's internet, then the router will have to be reset. I'm not at all confident of the router's owners being able to do this without problems and would appreciate any other suggestions.

    When I connected my laptop via ethernet cable, the internet was fine. So was the desktop PC which solely connects via ethernet cable, which makes it even more peculiar.
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  2. #2
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    was the router showing anything on the status page? whether it was getting an ip from the modem?
    \\\\Everlasting

  3. #3
    Agony Aunty-Online Moira's Avatar
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    I'm sorry, I didn't notice anything like that. I was rather rushed to say the least, but I couldn't see anything that showed this particular information (but that's not to say it wasn't there). This router is completely different to my own, and although I can find my way round it, I'm not quite as familiar with the way it works. All I can say is, I couldn't find any information about this, but there again, the wired connections worked and I'm at a complete loss how this could be the case while the wireless just didn't show webpages at all.

    It's not as though the wireless wouldn't connect - both laptops connected perfectly and windows "didn't detect anything wrong with the connection". The only clues were no web pages and this IP address beginning 169. If you know where to find this particular setting, I can ask the router owners in Belfast to connect the laptop and have a look.
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  4. #4
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    Hey Moira,

    You can forget about the MAC filtering, it'll cause more grief than benefit as MAC Spoofing isn't too difficult to achieve. Just ensure you use the WEP2 with 128bit option instead and use MiX3duP passwords.

    I would reset the router to a default settings and ensure the router uses the standard 192.168 as appose to a deviant of it. I never had good luck with changing the IP assignment and this could be causing the problem.

    There may be an option inside the router that mentions not to share internet connections to Wireless, as a security feature. This way, the wired PCs can surf the web, share files and play LAN games, while the Wifi connections can only share files and play LAN games.

    From my personal experience with Wireless routers, Doing a search for firmware updates tend to help, as I had problems with my own DLink router two weeks ago. After the firmware update everything worked great.

    Hope any of this helps?

  5. #5
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    Hi Moira

    I would check the WEP settings on the laptop. I have seen before where you can see yourself as having a strong signal but cannot access any resources because of an incorrect key.

    Your laptop could see the signal but you were not authenicating with the router as you had a 169.x.x.x address.

    Best of luck
    diamond_ire

  6. #6
    AOs Resident Troll
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    Diamond ire is right....the 169 address is what XP uses when it cannot find a dhcp device...hence not getting an IP address or gateway to the internet.

    You have signal...but no authentication.

    Reset the router to default and reconfigure if you cannot access the configuration page.....you would need an IP in the same range to access the router...so you need to know how the router is configured.

    MLF
    How people treat you is their karma- how you react is yours-Wayne Dyer

  7. #7
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    If it's a dell TrueMobile internal wireless device, got to properties (Under Networking) and select properties of the card then configure. On the advanced tab check to see if blue tooth is enabled. If so, Disable and all will be well.
    Tip from a lurker

    MLF
    How people treat you is their karma- how you react is yours-Wayne Dyer

  8. #8
    Agony Aunty-Online Moira's Avatar
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    Thanks for all that. It's a Prism internal device from what I can tell. When I inputted the WEP key it seemed to accept it and allow the connection. As far as I know, blue tooth isn't involved, but I can check.

    Yeah I was coming to the conclusion that I need to get this router set back to factory defaults and then get the connection working THEN configure WEP2 (which was how it was set up). Then if I'm doing something incorrectly I should notice the difference.

    I ought to be able to access the router config page OK from the factory settings as I know the default username/pass etc. The current settings haven't been changed so it isn't set to disallow wireless connections, and yes I could investigate firmware updates. However it ought to basically work as it is, since it has been for a year with the same setup.

    I know that MAC filtering can be spoofed, but it's just an added layer of security and I might as well use it, especially as the laptop cannot use WPA, so WEP + MAC filtering is better than just WEP. I know someone technical wouldn't be stymied by it, but it would keep a number of people out.

    PS When you input the WEP key it's the actual key you input isn't it, not the passphrase used to generate that key?
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  9. #9
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    Hi Moira

    Your right, its the actual key you enter and not the passphrase.

    diamond_ire

  10. #10
    rebmeM roineS enilnOitnA steve.milner's Avatar
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    [ot]

    Quote Originally Posted by tyger_claw
    Hey Moira,

    You can forget about the MAC filtering, it'll cause more grief than benefit as MAC Spoofing isn't too difficult to achieve. Just ensure you use the WEP2 with 128bit option instead and use MiX3duP passwords.
    Why forget about MAC filtering. If you use MAC filtering and WEP2 then valid MAC addresses can't be sniffed, adding an extra layer of security into your wireless.

    I suppose this begs the discussion is more better?

    Steve
    IT, e-commerce, Retail, Programme & Project Management, EPoS, Supply Chain and Logistic Services. Yorkshire. http://www.bigi.uk.com

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