Simple WiFi - is there a definitive publication

  [email protected] 09:41 03 Aug 2005

on the subject? [see also my thread 201703 in the wrong Forum].
I really expected to plug and play but I am now trawling MS Knowledge Base/Internet Forums/Manuals etc etc. I have more printouts on the subject than you can point a stick at - as for Wireless Zero Configuration I am rapidly approaching Wireless Zero Tolerance/Patience :-( Does anyone ever get it to work?
I returned my US Robotics card. I now have a D-Link. The LED on the USR never did light up but it does on my new DL. It's the only progress I have made LOL. I have been enabling/disabling/troubleshooting/configuring/reconfiguring/reading/screaming and more recently giggling insanely. Now I think I must start pinging...just what is going on? I don't want a voice link with the Space Shuttle - just my PC to shake hands with my Router - less than 1m distant] I don't think it will ever work but I am willing to have just one more try: I want a book to read which will take me through it all step by step. Can anyone recommend one?
Incidentally, almost 2 months ago I appealed to USR and Mesh for advice. I am still waiting...
Finally, a cryptic note in my MoBo manual under Expansion PCI slots and installing a PCI card "7. Set up the BIOS if necessary". Groan. Any takers?
It's all in the other thread but WinXP.

  recap 16:16 03 Aug 2005

click here it may help?

  LastChip 16:49 03 Aug 2005

You're moving into an area that requires a certain amount of expertise. Networking after all, was originally meant for professionals in a work environment.

Definitive book - No, not in the sense you mean, but here's a couple of links that may help to cure your ills.

click here

click here

Read the information and then if you have any specific question, please ask away.

You should also note there are a number of pre-requisites to get a network up and running. I've listed the most common here.

1. Each computer must be on the same Workgroup.

2. Each computer must have a unique name.

3. File and Printer Sharing must be installed and working.

4. One Drive or File on each computer must be set to shared and in the case of Win2k or XP permissions set.

5. ALL Firewalls should be turned OFF for the duration of getting the network up and running.

6. Any network cards and/or wireless devices must be installed correctly and working prior to any network set-up is attempted.

  [email protected] 17:03 03 Aug 2005

Thanks both of you. Why have I only just read for the first time "All Firewalls should be turned off etc" - it gets better ;-)
I have managed to find a forum/thread on my very problem and printed all 17 pages of it. Now I plan to work through it which should take a while as its in French! click here
Thanks for the links which I will follow up as well.

  Forum Editor 19:06 03 Aug 2005

Wireless networking - if that's really what you mean, rather than wireless internet connection sharing - is not that complex.

What you need to do is separate the wireless part from the networking part in your mind, and it might become easier. After all, what you're doing is setting up a network in the normal way, other than the fact that instead of cables connecting the computers you are connecting them via a wireless router.

LastChip's 1-6 step-through is very helpful, and deals with the problems most commonly encountered in network setup.

As far as the wireless side goes, there should be no major headaches. Once you have correctly installed a wireless network card in your computer it will detect any wireless network broadcast within range, and what you have to do is tell WindowsXP to connect to that network. The router is a dumb animal - it simply broadcasts what it's given by and to the wireless network cards and by the Internet Service provider to which it's connected (if indeed it is connected to one).

All wireless router/modem combinations come with very clear instructions on how to set up the router to login to your Internet Service provider, and once you've done that the router will connect automatically, each time you turn it on. It will distribute the connection to all wireless network cards that are in range.

  [email protected] 19:53 03 Aug 2005

Cheers FE - but I begin to feel like the dumb animal ;-) I did mean wireless internet connection. With regards to your last para, I was very careful to follow the intructions. My first PCI adaptor was, I now believe, faulty [see my other thread]. The first time I have seen reference to disabling Firewall's was in LastChip's 1-6 so I am grateful for that. At least I now have a PCI Adaptor with a glowing LED.
OK, in my struggles I may have hit upon the problem but I don't know what to do about it.
Problem 1 - When completing the Network Setup Wizard, a window opens as follows:
"The wizard found disconnected network hardware" and lists [1] LAN NVIDEA nForce MCP Networking Controller and [2] Wireless Networking Controller D-Link PCI Adaptor. How do I connect them? In Device Manager nothing is reported amiss.
Problem 2 - Although not enabled for setting up, I have tried to input the 26 character WEP key provided by my ISP when I set up the Modem/Router PCI card. The D-Link PCI Adaptor utility simply rejects it as "Non valid". The only way I can paste in the 26 char key is by selecting HEX and 256 bit but it won't have it!
Your last 2 para's gave me great comfort as it's everything I expected to happen - if only...
I would be very grateful for any advice, thanks.

  LastChip 20:49 03 Aug 2005

There seems to be more than a little misunderstanding here (no disrespect intended).

Lets try and break this down into manageable blocks.

1. Do you have an on-board LAN connection? It sounds as though the LAN NVIDEA nForce MCP is a motherboard LAN connection (I'm guessing). If you have nothing connected to this, the Wizard is telling you the truth.

2. For much the same reason, if your D-Link PCI adaptor has not connected to the wireless access point (modem/router), you are likely to receive a message.

The Wizard in 1 and 2 is not saying these items are not working, simply they are not connected to anything.

3. I'm really puzzled about this ISP provided 26 character WEP key. I have never known any ISP to provide a WEP key. Are you sure you need this to connect to your ISP?

Modem/routers are normally configured via a Web Page Interface - your instructions should specify how that page is accessed. Until you get your modem/router configured correctly, the rest wont fall into place. Perhaps you can tell me exactly which Modem/router you have and I'll try and make more sense of what's going on. If you can give me a link, it will be quicker to find.

  [email protected] 22:18 03 Aug 2005

Hi LastChip. No disrespect taken and misunderstanding is right. I am the wrong side of 60 and here it's "Teach Myself"...As it all didnt work from the start it just got worse as it all got deeper. Right. I would appear to have an on-board LAN connection on the mobo. My "box" provided by the ISP is multi-role. It can be used as a modem [just plugged into the phone socket] and router. At the same time as being these things, a phone can and is connected to it and it can be used to make calls. It has a PCI card slot in it so you can wirelessly remote the box next to your TV because via a scart socket you can connect a TV for programs. During initial setup via the ISP web page, your option is of course just Internet connection. It remains "on" even though the PC is powered down, so you can use the phone [and the TV when it comes on line]. No problems so far.
This is all in my office and I prefer to have the box in the lounge so calls can be made from the usual place, the lounge, and have it next to the TV for later.
The ISP supplies the WiFi card for the box. This was set up as per the instructions when it arrived. During the setup I was asked if I would like to "generate" a random key which would be my security for the link. I chose a 26 char key for greater security [did'nt know any different so why not?], and a key of letters and numbers was generated for me. At the same time I chose a name for my link then "activated" the new setup. This required re initialising the "box". This was done, the LED on the card glowed and that was that. Then I bought a PCI adapter for the PC and it's all been pear shaped after that. [read thread 201703].
The main problems:
1] When something doesnt happen which should, I have insufficient knowledge to proceed.
2] The PCI adapter does not "find" the box although it appears to be installed and functioning correctly.
3] When following instructions, it's not always the window in the instructions which open - so a certain amount of off-path research/checking has had to be done. This has led to a degree of unnecessary knowledge saturation [dangerous...]
4] I have returned to square one a few times and started again but whatever is wrong is eluding me.
Here is a link to the "box" but beware, it's in French. click here
There are 4 links under the picture on the right. 1st gives a bigger picture 2nd gives a modem description 3rd WiFi functions and 4th Router functions [apologies if you read French].
I dont need the WEP key to connect to the ISP - its just something provided for me to use with the PC PCI Adapter to make the link more secure.
Sorry this is a bit long winded and thank you for taking an interest.
Feel free to contact by email or even MSM if you think it would help.

  LastChip 23:47 03 Aug 2005

Sorry, I don't understand French, but I was hoping to see which protocol the unit was using. No such luck.

There are three standards IEEE 802.11a; 802.11b and 802.11g. Your box is unlikely to be 802.11a (although not impossible) and this is the only standard that works on its own. It uses a different frequency to the other two and so is incompatible. 802.11b and g are interchangable (in theory), but different manufacturers parts have been known not to play well together. In the main, it is better to use the same manufacturer for all components, but in your case this may not be possible. The point about all this, is are you reasonably sure all your components will work together and are on the same frequency?

Now to get to encryption. You were not wrong to believe that encryption should be implemented on a home network, however, at the set-up stage, it adds another layer to overcome when troubleshooting a network that wont play ball. As a general rule, set-up the network first, make sure everything is working properly and then implement the encryption. If it then wont work, you know for certain where the problem lays.

So to recap, for a start, I would reset the router to non-encrypted until you have a successful network.

As in my post above, make sure ALL firewalls are turned off. (XP has a built-in one). Now you should be at a stage where transmissions from the router are unimpeded.

Make sure the components you are using are compatible with each other. In the unlikely event you have a router transmitting as 802.11a, the frequency is 5GHz. Both b and g transmit at 2.4GHz and should be compatible with each other. (subject to the comment above).

If you get to this stage, provided your wireless card is installed correctly, you should be able to tell your computer software to find the router and it should automatically connect.

Remember, this sort of troubleshooting requires a logical approach, so get as far as you can, and if you start getting an error, post back and one of us will attempt to help you.

  [email protected] 09:09 04 Aug 2005

Thanks LastChip, very good advice so I am grateful for that.

The PCMIA card supplied by the ISP is 802.11b.
The PCI Adapter for the PC is 802.11g but backwards compatible. Both are marked 2.4GHz so I am reasonably sure the components should work together.

When the PCMIA card was installed and set up in the modem/router, there was no option to have or not have the WEP key - so I have! I don't have the possibility of having the modem/router functioning in WiFi mode without the key [nowhere to disable just the security bit].

I have taken on board the FireWall [fw] info which makes sense but what if it works without the FW - does that leave your PC open to hack or am I missing something?

My plan of action now is:

Try to find out from D-Link why the Adapter is not accepting my 26char WEP key [although I know this is not essential at this stage - I just want to get away on another tack for a bit].

I am fortunate enough to have another older PC [WinMe/French] with which I will set up the modem/router and then install the same D-Link PCI Adapter [it is compatible with Me].

If that doesnt work I will run a cable from my office to the lounge and these WiFi cards will be for the highest bidder LOL.

In my quest for information, I found a forum on a site click here soley devoted to setting up this FreeBox modem for all modes, WiFi/Router etc, but there was nothing there I hadnt done and nowhere was the FW subject mentioned. I will register with the forum and see if there is an English speaking member...

Finally, I realise this problem is a bit like like phoning the vet and asking what's wrong with your pet because it isnt quite right ;-) , so I will close the thread as resolved and only post again with a definite question which is answerable, or success. Thanks for taking an interest.

  LastChip 11:25 04 Aug 2005

As regards the Firewall(s), yes you are potentially vulnerable, but they are reinstated one at a time once the network is working. The whole point, is not to have obstacles getting in the way of the initial set-up.

If you can't disable the WEP on your router, you need to be able to set the key on your wireless card, otherwise it will never communicate correctly.

I wish you well; it cannot be an insurmountable problem I'm sure.

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