how to let Windows user join the network

Discussion in 'Wireless Networking' started by Zhang Weiwu, Nov 10, 2008.

  1. Zhang Weiwu

    Zhang Weiwu Guest

    Hello. A friend of mine uses WEP connection at home office. The
    encryption is only to discourage instead of forbid neighbors to access
    and he has no interest upgrading to WEP. However he recently had a
    problem of using Windows in that network.

    His family uses Mac OS and Linux. His router, a comcast device, supports
    only WEP and during set up, ask user for a passphrase. He enteres
    "ea84606011" as passphrase, then the following 128-bit WEP HEX key is
    generated from the passphrase:

    Then he took this long HEX key to use in Mac OS and Linux (both has an
    option of letting users enter WEP HEX Key).

    The problem rise recently his wife bring a Windows XP notebook and they
    found there is no option for selecting HEX key. There are options to let
    them select Open Systems and WEP for authentication mode, but only a
    text box asking for the "password", instead of "HEX Key".

    They of course tried the passphrase they set up in the router, i.e.
    "ea84606011", and failed with that. Obviously in this router the HEX key
    is not generated by simply taking ASCII code of the phassphrase (in that
    case, the last part "11" should have generated two same code next to
    each other, but it's obvious the HEX code do not have repeated code).

    Question is: how can they let the Windows notebook join the wireless
    network? Is there a "hex key enter" option hidden somewhere?

    I first think to let them make a password, say, "ea84606011", which
    equivalent to the following HEX key:
    $ echo ea84606011 | od -x
    0000000 6561 3834 3630 3630 3131 0a00

    Then update their HEX Key in the router to that value. But this is
    impossible, because the AP only allows user to update the passphrase,
    and the AP calculates HEX key from the passphrase itself, so unless
    knowing the algorithm the AP uses to generate the Hex Key, otherwise
    it's impossible to set the HEX key to any desired value.

    I should have bought a different router for the family, but I am more
    curious how this come to be and is there really no solution. I was
    surprised because most AP devices are designed with Windows users in
    mind, it would be stupid to ask user for a passphrase while it is not
    equivalent to "password" when asked in Windows.
    Zhang Weiwu, Nov 10, 2008
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  2. Zhang Weiwu

    Barb Bowman Guest

    for starters, WEP is unsafe and should not be used. if he has no
    interest in upgrading to WPA2 or at least WPA, then anyone that
    wants to can help themselves to personal information (think identity
    theft) with very little effort. A couple of the Comcast all in one
    gateway/modem/routers were upgradeable to support WPA. What exact
    piece of hardware (model and name) and hardware revision does he


    Barb Bowman
    Barb Bowman, Nov 10, 2008
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  3. Hi
    The best would be to upgrade what is needed to be upgraded to enable the use
    of WPA/WPA2 (as noted above by Barb).
    However if this is impossible try to use simple passphrase and MAC filter
    combination, it would deter regular users but would be unsafe if a really
    knowledgably person wants to brake in.
    The various engines that translate the WEP passphrase into an HEX string are
    not 100% compatible. So at times different engines would create different
    If you try few passphrases you might find one that works with all the system
    Jack (MS, MVP-Networking)
    Jack \(MVP-Networking\)., Nov 10, 2008
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