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The joys of wireless networks
September 29, 2007|BlatheringsGeeking OutOp/Ed

The joys of wireless networks

WifiWe decided today that we were going to start the process of clearing out Litsa’s office so we could put in the new cabinets and desk space, and paint, fix damaged walls, etc. In doing so, the only location for her computer required it be on the wireless network, and since she does online banking – it has to be secured. Well, maybe not "has to be", but there wasn’t any way I was going to let all our important data fly all over the neighborhood unencrypted.

So using the little Linksys Wireless-G USB Adapter I bought a couple years ago, I set forth on the arduous journey of getting her on the network. Should be simple right? Set it to WPA, chose a key and I’m off and running. Yeah right.

At first I couldn’t get it to see the Access Point, then it wouldn’t find the internet. What I finally wound up having to do was update the firmware of my D-Link access point. It’s a D-Link DWL-2100AP. This went smoothly, and without issue; I simply downloaded the firmware update, and installed it through the tools interface from my wired desktop.

Next, I had to update the drivers for the Linksys USB device. This was a pain. I don’t have the disc (translated into I lost it), and had to download the drivers. Then, after the first install they didn’t work, and I had uninstall and reinstall. So after removing the drivers, I tried to manage it through Windows and that was hopeless. So I reinstalled the Linksys manager and drivers and it was working well. Still, no internet.

Looking at my Router (D-Link DI-604), I saw that the computer was online, and being fed an IP that I thought was the old Linux server I had, so I hard coded the MAC address of the USB adapter to the IP, and still no internet. WTF? At this point I was getting really torqued! I already got my Mac on the encrypted network, took only about 2 minutes in fact. Easy as it should be.

Finally it dawned on me that the PC wasn’t being assigned an IP by the router, so I assigned it one, and all is well. Surfing goes on and on…..

I had some problems with finding the workgroup computers, but that was all related to the Windows firewall being enabled – once I turned that off, everything was fine. She gets about 70% signal in that location, so she will be happy for a time. I still have to say though, I am very happy with my D-Link equipment, much more so that the equivalent Linksys devices I had previously. I haven’t had any trouble with the equipment, just the service and sometimes the setup.

This scenario has played out a couple of times int he not-so-distant past; that’s why I only had my wireless locked down to just MAC address, and didn’t mess with encrypting it. Since you would have to be sitting in my driveway to get good signal I didn’t really care too much – but now that there are computers using it daily it was time to secure.

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