wireless network without a PC ethernet connection

  millsie 17:13 25 Jul 2006

Hi I am new to all this but have bought a 3 com oofice connect ADSL wireless router which came with a 3com wireless USB adaptor. I have a Dell Dimension 4500 PC which is a few years old and doe not have a wireless or an ethernet connection. I want to create a wireless network linking the Pc to a new Dell Inspiron 6400 which has a wireless card installed and seems to have an ethernet connection. The router installation guide says you must connect to a commputer that has an ethernet connection and correctly configured to communicate with the internet.

My ISP is talk talk and internet is set up on my PC but it has no ethernet. Is there any reason why I cant run my talk talk set up CD on the new laptop so that it has all the internet settings and then set up the router with the ethernet cable attached to the laptop. Of course I dont want to chain the laptop to the router once set up but I assume (hope) that once set up I wont need the ethernet as I can use the wireless card on the laptop and the wireless usb adaptor on the PC. If this is completely mad pleas say so! Would it be easier/ better just to get an ethernet card for the PC Any advice would be much appreciated as I dont want to start something and muck it up.

  Strawballs 21:24 25 Jul 2006

If the older machine has USB (which I suspect it will it would have to be very old not to) use the USB adapter you said it came with and plug the new one in using the lan temp while you set every thing up.

  ade.h 21:46 25 Jul 2006

1) You must perform first-time config through an Ethernet connection, PLUS any subsequent changes that affect the wireless link. Do not under any circumstances adjust any wireless-related or ISP-related setting or security protocol without an Ethernet cable.

I'm sure I'm not the only the person to have discovered that the hard way by tweaking a wireless setting (inadvertantly) over a wireless link, trying to logout and crashing the router in the process with a config session still active. With the link broken and the active session not closed, you're locked out even by Ethernet.

The only exception to this is a router that does not apply its changes until the config session is closed - some Voyagers, for example. It would be better if router manufacturers prevented config access via wireless link altogether....

2) Correct practice for router config is to enter its UI via a browser, not by using a setup CD wizard. You don't learn anything that way and have little or no control over the setup process.

  ade.h 21:48 25 Jul 2006

Oh, and for 3Com setup, see my site click here and click here

  millsie 23:05 26 Jul 2006

Thanks to strawballs and ade.h for your help. Well I took the plunge and seemed to make good progress only to be thwarted at the end. Its a long story - sorry - This is what I did:

I used the new laptop with the ethernet connection to configure the router. The laptop and router then worked great when the ethernet was removed. I then installed the USB adaptor on my PC (which you will remember had no ethernet connection). Both machines could then access the internet wirelessly. But I realised I had not set up the security options and I was getting messages on the pc that it was an open connection. So I followed the links provided by ade.h and tried to follow the instructions which seemed pretty clear. I used the laptop with the ethernet connection attached (having turned off the wireless connection. I successfully logged in to the 3com site to make the suggested changes. I think I did all except the mac codes as was not too sure about that. This may be were it seemed to go wrong as I dont think the 3 com log out screen may have freezed and i just had to close without logging out.

However I tried to work wirelessly again but had problems to be honest cant remember what happened with PC as have spent huge amount of time trying to get lap top to go. It kept trying to connect using dial up even though there was a wireless connection. Boxes came up saying "wireless network found select one" There where 2 a netgear poor reception??? and SSID not broadcast (security enabled / excellent signal) If I selected the netgear it rejected the encryption key so didn't bother and deleted it. If i went with the other it seemed to want me to re enter profile info and the encryption key and i May have had a go not remembering I was wireless - stupid (sorry ade.h you told me not to) Any way reattached the ethernet cable to the laptop so as to have another go at reconfiguring the router and took off the encryption. This time all the changes were applied and I logged off properly. Removed the ethernet cable. Wireless connection is there but the Internet explorer wont use it - cant get any addresses. And wont connect to 3 com site even with wirelss turned off and ethernet connection on. On booting up after disabling encryption got an error "error access violation 0x0042bf8e - tried to read from 0x5993fb0 programme terminated i just ok'it.

So now am back to worse than square one - I cant go to the 3 com site to reconfigure as internet explorer doesn't seem to work and am now using my old modem to connect to send this. Where do I go from here. I am really confused and frustrated and really need your expert help and patience. Any advice in beginner / laymans terms please. Thanks a lot

  ade.h 23:25 26 Jul 2006

In layman's terms, you may have possibly screwed it up when the UI froze. I have to say, though, that I have never seen a UI freeze. Least of all a 3Com.

I hope that this is not the case: the first thing is to perform a factory reset and start afresh. I have not got a 3Com manual on this PC, so I can't cheack exact procedure, but there should be a reset button on the rear (near the power button?) which will need to be pressed and held for perhaps 10 seconds.

The error code that you're getting: are you using the adpater's wireless software by any chance, or is this a Windows error? (More detail or possibly a screenshot may be useful)

Glad the site was clear anyway (I wrote it!)

  millsie 23:43 26 Jul 2006

ade.h Thanks for coming back so fast. I only used the adaptor software for installing the adaptor - I think! The error code came up only once and I cant give you more than the description in last post.

I had disconnected the router so as to reconnect my old modem. Have now powered up the router without ethernet or adsl cable and pressed reset. got some flashing lights but now stopped showing only power on and WLAN.

What next please?

  ade.h 14:07 27 Jul 2006

"I only used the adaptor software for installing the adaptor - I think!"

What?! If you mean that you used the installation CD that was provided with the adpater, then you've got the software and it will be running (or trying to run) your WLAN.

"....showing only power on and WLAN."

Right, that's a good thing. It likely means that you're back to square one with no user settings or ADSL info stored in the router.

Start afresh, being very careful with every step. If you go to Hardware Advice on my site, and then scroll down and click the link for page 2, you'll find a step-by-step how-to for removing adapter software and reinstalling the adapter.

  Miss Happy 15:36 27 Jul 2006

I'm off there right now ade.h.
I wrote the following after reading millsie problem, as you know, my problems were/are similar using same equip.
I hope I dont confuse millsie, but here is what I wrote:

You need to reset to factory via the 3Com Wizard. You can only do that while wired via the RJ-45 cable to your computer. I also found you cannot logout of wizard unless it is wired - you get text 'page not...' or someting similar after pressing 'Apply' to most things in the wizard if not hardwired to the router.

I had to reset/restore to factory after having similar problems to you, trying to setup USB sent everything AWOL or corrupted. I have given up on the USB thing for now, but after loosing wireless on original host after mucking around trying to install/setup USB on other 2nd PC, I have now regained ALL wired and wirelessly on 1st/host Laptop after the factory reset.

Dont put any encryption on wirelss UNTIL it is up-& running properly, then do it 1ST in Wizard WHILST hard wired, then in your b/b wirelss connection. I kept all settings to the 3Com default to start with, including admin password. Always go via the wired connection to router and wizard to make ANY changes, apply them and logout.

Let me know if you have any luck or this help? Most of what I have written is from help given to me from other pca forum helpers, they are brilliant.

The most useful info was given by ade.h, simlpy to get the wizard up in the first place:

go to the Connections tab of Internet Options (via IE or the control panel) and choose "never dial a connection".

Logical but not to me before until he pointed this out! :-)
Good luck, please let me know how you get on?

  millsie 22:00 27 Jul 2006

Well would you belive it miracles do happen. Big Thank you to ade.h and Miss Happy I think I'll change my name to Mr Happy!

I followed your advice re re booting the router and with ethernet cable connected went through the config wizard very carefully - also changed my internet explorer connections to "never dial a connection" - (not obvious to a novice like me Miss Happy!) Also did not change admin name, ssid or set up any encryption as suggested by Miss Happy, at this stage.

All ths done on my new laptop. Was able to access internet with ethernet cable attached and after a couple of attempts with cable removed and wireless switched back on on laptop.

So I now have a working wireless connection and can roam about with laptop. Next is to set up some security (ade.h I wont be as stupid as to try it without the ethernet connection) and then will need to have another go with the wireless adaptor for the PC. Iam a bit worried because my problems started when I went back in to 3 com to set up security. Any more tips re either of these steps and or the order to do it in? Ade.h I will look at your website before proceeding (probably tomorrow - had enough stress for today!) Your website is fantastic and I am so grateful for your help and from everyone else. I'd have been completely stuffed without it. As a first time user I think the so called professional customer care people could learn a lot from these forum!

  ade.h 22:13 27 Jul 2006

I'm glad that you found the site really useful; that means that it's already doing what I created it to do!

If in any doubt, just set up WPA-PSK and nothing else at this stage. If you have not already changed the SSID, do so before trying WPA encryption and maybe test it by reconnecting to the router, picking the new SSID from the netowkrs list.

Leave MAC filtering until later.

Best of luck, and above all, take your time and take care over every step. Don't forget to make your WPA key in a text file to paste it in when it's needed - avoids typing errors.

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