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Keep Losing Connection

Last response: in Wireless Networking
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May 2, 2006 4:52:29 PM

Hi there, I hope you guys can help me with this. I’ll give you too much information just in case.

I have my DSL wireless router going to 2 computers. The desktop computer is connected with a Cat5. The connection to that one is working just fine as expected. The desktop is on all the time. The laptop is on only when we need it. My laptop in connect via wireless Open WEP. The connection is 64 bit encryption (5 digits, Key 1). When working, the laptop has file sharing and print sharing abilities.

Here is the problem: When I turn on the laptop I cannot connect to my network. I see the network being broadcast out by the wireless router but I can not connect. I look at the properties of the network and I am getting excellent signal but the laptop says I might be out of range and to refresh. I try the repair option. Nothing. So far the only way I can get the laptop connected is to unplug the router for 30 seconds and plug it back in. Then the laptop automatically connects.

What’s weird is that when I look at the properties of the network on the laptop the Key is 8 digits long and I did not program that key. Plus, after I change it to match the key that’s in the router (5 digits), it will be back to that 8 digit key when I go back in. I am wondering is that because when it was originally set up I used “Automatic” in setting up a key? But shouldn’t it then be updated after I change it? Also, I think this all started when I tried to hide my SSID. I could still connect the laptop but then all this started and I turned that off.

So any advice on making sure that when I turn the laptop on the connection is made?

Thanks in advance everyone.

Oh, here are some specs

Router Westell 327W
Desktop XP Pro SP2
Laptop XP Pro SP2

More about : losing connection

May 2, 2006 6:37:02 PM

If you have WPA-TKIP available, USE IT. Use a phrase/key with max char allowed. If you only have wep, it is weak enough with 8 char, but 5 is null. If you are using only 5, it will take less than 3 min to crack.

You will only have 64 bit if you use the full 8 chr.

But,

Your problem is partly with the Hidden SSID. The other part is the key is to short. Make sure when you setup the wireless card (LT) to connect to AP's ONLY. The default is to Any and Everything (Adhoc). Bad security, but it's MS default what would you expect.

Make sure auto connect when in range is checked.

Mine is hidden and have no problem.
May 2, 2006 9:31:04 PM

Blue68F100,
Thanks for the fast response. I checked and I only have WEP and WPA-PSK available. I read around and think that WPA-PSK also uses TKIP and is the same thing almost as WPA-TKIP but is for home “users without an enterprise authentication server” but they both do rekeying.

Also on my router the option for WEP says “64 bit (5 text or 10 hexadecimal digits)”. So I think that’s why in the router set up I used 5 digits.

My first post wasn’t clear on the SSID. After I lost connection I disabled “HIDE SSID” in the router. If I change over to a WPA-PSK network encryption, will I need to hide my SSID? if I keep it as WEP 64 bit, and then hide the SSID, that's just as safe as 256 WPA? Right? That way you can not see the connection to know to hack? Right?

The laptop and desktop both have on-board network so I am not using any cards. When you were referring to the wireless card, I assume you are talking about the onboard MS software in the laptop? Does that include the router?

What is a LT? What is AP’s?

It sounds like what I might need to do is create a new network and use WPA-PSK is that right?

It was a while ago that the network was set up, so to refresh when I have the option to connect to adhoc or only AP’s I should choose AP’s?

With this set-up, how easy will it be if I want to later add a friend to the network for gaming or file sharing?

Oh, and I am wondering about encryption. When set for 64 bit or 256 bit, does it add those bits to the front and back of every packet? Does it slow down the connection if I move from 64 bit to 256 bit?

And thank you for helping

P.S. Sorry for more questions, but on WPA-PSK, what time interval whould you recommend. my router defaults to 3600?
May 3, 2006 1:31:38 AM

WEP is not secure in any form against cracking. Tool are available on the web and Tom's net did an article on breaking it. USE WPA. 64 bit WPA is more secure than 256 bit WEP.

WPA is secure if you use a strong encryption key. And is not breakable if a good key is used 128bit. You can broadcast SSID with out worry. SSID can be tricked into revealing it self. It is easy to do. Broadcasting is OK with WPA.

LT = LapTop/notebook
AP = Access Point

As for as adding guest..... Either you will have to setup their Wireless with your key..... Then you are giving your key away. I would drop the security to grant access and use MAC Fitering. Wired is what I use for guest. I run a closed system. If you have a second wireless router you gould set one up with WPA (high Security) and the other up with WEP for guest (low security).

Wireless connections are not good for playing games if first persons. Recommend using wired.

Here is a link to Steve Gibson's SecurityNow There is a section explaining on how WEP & WPA and Cryptographic works.
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