Configuring Centrino wireless access

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I've recently installed a Thomson Speedtouch 576 router, supplied free
by AOL, and have managed to get my desktop machine online fine, using a
USB adaptor.  For some reason though, I cannot seem to get my laptop
online and cannot work out where I'm going wrong.

The laptop scans for networks and indeed recognises mine, but when I
click Connect, I'm prompted for the WEP key, which I enter.  It then
scans for a few seconds, then displays the words 'little or no

I've installed A USB adaptor on the laptop as an experiement and get
online with that fine, so I do have wireless access now on this
machine, but I'd still like to know how I get the internal wireless
facility working properly, as I just don't like being defeated by
things like this.

Guidance will be appreciated.

Re: Configuring Centrino wireless access

The Weary Wizard wrote:
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If the notebook wireless is 802.11b only and the wireless router is set
to 802.11g only, this can happen.  Also, do broadcast SSID, it helps.
Choose one of the proprietary wireless manager on the notebook or
Wireless Zero Configuration service and disable the other.  You can run
ipconfig /all from a command prompt on the notebook and post the report
here for additional help.  Also, the tech specs on the notebook wireless
nic will help also.

alt.internet.wireless is a good wireless-specific newsgroupt.


Re: Configuring Centrino wireless access

Quaoar wrote:
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I appreciate your input, but you're talking a foreign language to me. :(

Re: Configuring Centrino wireless access

There are two Wireless standards in widespread use, 802.11b (older) and
802.11g (newer).  "G" is backwards compatible and will also work with
"B", but the only way that "B" equipment can work with "G" is when the
"G" stuff works in "B" mode.

It's possible that the router (the "base station") has been set to
operate in "G" mode only (e.g. the backwards compatible feature has been
turned off).  If that was done, and if your laptop has only older "B"
capability, that could cause the problem.

A wireless network can (and by default usually does) broadcast it's own
network ID, called the SSID.  It's kind of like a radio station
broadcasting it's call letters and frequency ("This is WDBO, 580 on your
dial").  However, it's better, for security, if this feature is turned
off (keep the ID of the wireless network "secret"), and if each computer
that is to connect with the network is manually told the SSID of the
network (the "good guys" who are supposed to connect to the network know
the SSID, and anyone trying to "crack into" the network will have to
figure that out on their own).  It is VERY common for people to be told
to turn off SSID broadcasting.  However, quite a few network cards (e.g.
laptops) won't work with the SSID broadcasting turned off.

Setting up a wireless network with encryption and security can be quite
challenging, especially in a mixed vendor network (which your system is,
since Intel does not make routers or access points).  You may very well
need on-site professional assistance to get it working.

One other thing, almost all laptops have both a wired and wireless
network port.  It's sometimes better (or even necessary) to turn off the
wired port while setting up the wireless port.  Otherwise the laptop has
two network cards, and this can confuse Windows as to which one to use.

Also, a wireless network card can be managed either by the manufacturers
software (e.g. Intel) or by Windows XP's wireless network management.
The default is Windows XP, but sometimes the network's initial
configuration almost has to be done using the manufacturer's software.

The Weary Wizard wrote:

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Re: Configuring Centrino wireless access

Barry Watzman wrote:
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what he said, but just to add: a WEP key can be either ASCII (i.e.
text) or hex (ie hexadecimal).  Not all cards/routers like both: whilst
in theory they should work, I've found it helpful to just use a hex WEP
key on both router and laptop.  (your router will almost certainly
display a hex key based on the text password you enter anyway).
symptoms of getting a WEP key wrong are much like you are experiencing
- it connects, gets an IP address but doesn't talk...

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Re: Configuring Centrino wireless access

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WEP should be ok for around the house networking.  But it has some security
holes and can be hacked.  If this bothers you, use WPA-PSK.


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