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Wireless Networking Conundrum

Old 01-03-06, 11:33 AM
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Wireless Networking Conundrum

Wireless Networking Conundrum

This all started at a clientís house. On an earlier visit I had turned on the encryption in his WAP since he had been broadcasting in default mode to everyone else before that. I set up his laptop and his sonís laptop with the WEP key and made sure they could get on the internet. All good, so I left.

A couple weeks later I went back to the same clientís house to help him with a few minor issues. He mentions that he canít get on the internet now with his laptop, and neither can his son. Both laptops show that they are connected to the WAP, but neither could access the internet. Whenever I launched IE, I would get the message that the server was not found. I played around with it some and then decided to take the laptop home to play with it.

I have a WAP at my house, but mine is encrypted with WPA. I boot up the clientís laptop, enter my WPA key and wait for a connection. The laptop indicated that it is acquiring an address from the WAP. Once it has acquired one, it says there is a good signal, but in the Wireless Network window, it says ďNot ConnectedĒ! So I have an IP from the WAP, but I canít access the internet.

I go boot up my own laptop, it accesses the WAP, and the same thing happens! WTF!? Now it canít access the internet, either. I go to my desktop pc, which is connected to the WAP via Ethernet cable and log in to the WAP. It shows that both laptops are connected, the desktop, my Vonage box, and it also shows an IP assigned to my laptops wired Ethernet adapter.

Well, I messed around with the WAP and both laptops for a while. One thing I tried that worked, briefly, was removing my WAP as a preferred network from both laptops, then re-entering my WPA key when I connected to my access point. I was connected for a while (both laptops). Messed around with my WAP some more, lost the connection again. I didnít change my WPA key or WAP ESSID. Both laptops would show as connected to the WAP, but no internet access was available.

In frustration, I reset the WAP. It was back at its default settings, broadcasting clear and open to the whole world. I turned on one device at a time and let it acquire an IP from the router/WAP. First the two wired devices, desktop pc and Vonage vox. Then I turned on one laptop at a time and told them to connect to the unsecured WAP. Everything was on the internet and everything was groovy.

I then turned on WPA encryption again and put in the WPA key on both laptops. They reconnected to the WAP, and I was surfing the net again.

I have no idea what caused my problem, I only know how I fixed it for the time being. How do I prevent the problem from cropping up again? All computers mentioned are running Windows XP Home. Is it possible that I had too many laptops trying to access the WAP at one time? Is it possible that I had too many devices with IP addresses issued by the router/WAP?

Thanks for any help you might be able to provide.

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