Can't connect XP Laptop to wireless network

Discussion in 'Wireless Networking' started by Guest, Aug 10, 2007.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Greetings and apologies if this issue has been answered before - I have
    scoured the Expert Zone newsgroups for a solution and haven't found one. My
    basic problem is I'm unfamiliar with the wireless antennas inside XP laptops
    and how they are used to connect to wireless home networks. It seems simple
    enough but I can't get connectivity.

    I have a D-Link 624 router and I use WEP encryption. I have 3 desktops and 1
    laptop on this network, using D-Link wireless antennas in each. A fourth
    desktop running Vista is my "main" machine connected to the router where I
    configure its settings.

    We employ Au Pairs from Europe who bring laptops with them and need internet
    connectivity. Their laptops always have internal wireless capability
    built-in (which I'm unfamiliar with). Our newest girl has a Sony VAIO laptop
    running XP. I can't get her machine on my network. I "view" the wireless
    networks from her machine and can see my network. I highlight it and click
    "connect". It asks me for the WEP key which I enter. A dialogue box appears
    as it tries to connect. This lasts for 30 seconds or so, then the box
    disappears and I'm not connected. There is no error message. I have made
    sure I'm typing the key in correctly. I've tried this several times with no
    success.

    We had this same problem with our last Au Pair's laptop. A year ago when I
    was troubleshooting her issues, I tried disabling my router's security to
    make it easier to connect with it and that didn't work. I went so far as to
    try circumventing her internal antenna by installing my D-Link software and
    plugging the antenna from my laptop into her machine and that didn't work
    (although I now wonder if I needed to "turn off" her internal antenna and
    failed to do that?). I finally gave up and gave her a 50' CAT-5 cable
    connected to my router. We don't want to do this again for the new girl. We
    want her on our network wirelessly.

    Any ideas would be appreciated!
    thanks, Riccardo
     
    Guest, Aug 10, 2007
    #1
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  2. Guest

    Barb Bowman Guest

    WEP is far too weak. You should really switch to WPA.
    It is likely that if the laptops come from Europe where different
    channels are used for 802.11 networking and the D-Link router is
    using American firmware that this could create a mismatch.

    --

    Barb Bowman
    MS Windows-MVP
    http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/expertzone/meetexperts/bowman.mspx
    http://blogs.digitalmediaphile.com/barb/
     
    Barb Bowman, Aug 10, 2007
    #2
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  3. Hi
    Hi
    What you referred to as an Antenna is actually called Wireless Network Card
    (the Antenna is a little part of the card).
    This page describe a way to make sure that the cards are working correctly.
    http://www.ezlan.net/wireless.html
    In addition European card can be configured to Wireless channels that are
    not available in the USA.
    Make sure that the card is set to the channel that your Wireless router with
    at.
    Jack (MVP-Networking).
     
    Jack \(MVP-Networking\)., Aug 10, 2007
    #3
  4. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Hello Barb and Jack - thanks very much for your feedback. I will check into
    the possibility of a channel mismatch using your advice.

    Jack: one question - you mention checking that the card is set for the same
    channel as my router. Where do I find what channel the laptop's card is set
    at?

    One fact I left out: these girls receive orientation in Connecticut upon
    arrival in the US, and while there they stay in a hotel (don't know which)
    where wireless networking is available. It's not clear to me if the hotel is
    providing the network or if it belongs to someone else close by (like another
    business). In any event our newest girl told us she connected to this
    network without trouble. So while your points are very valid, it's curious
    that she was able to connect to this particular network.

    I will report back with any findings - thanks again.
     
    Guest, Aug 10, 2007
    #4
  5. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Hello Barb and Jack - I promised an update on my findings and I have good
    news. I was able to get the laptop on our network. I checked a few things
    first with the wireless card and WZC to make sure everything was working.
    Then I remembered a snippet from the www.ezlan.net website about WEP pass
    phrases not working because wireless hardware from different manufacturers
    could resolve the same ASCII phrase into different HEX strings. Your
    comments about the compatibility between the laptop hardware and my router
    made me think of this possibility.

    If you remember I was using WEP encryption. And my pass phrase was indeed
    an ASCII string. So as a test I reconfigured my router to use a HEX pass
    phrase. After resetting the router and configuring the laptop's network
    connection with the new HEX key I got instant connectivity.

    As a final note I changed my encryption to WPA-PSK per Barb's
    recommendation. The reconfiguration of the laptop went smoothly and my
    connectivity is still perfect.

    thanks for your help-
    Riccardo
     
    Guest, Aug 11, 2007
    #5
  6. Hi
    Glad it was resolved.
    Jack (MVP-Networking).

     
    Jack \(MVP-Networking\)., Aug 11, 2007
    #6
  7. Guest

    Barb Bowman Guest

    good news all the way around. am very glad you've implemented
    stronger WPA security.

    --

    Barb Bowman
    MS Windows-MVP
    http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/expertzone/meetexperts/bowman.mspx
    http://blogs.digitalmediaphile.com/barb/
     
    Barb Bowman, Aug 11, 2007
    #7
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