I recently bought a new laptop that runs off Windows 7. Although the laptop works fine with wireless elsewhere, I have been unable to connect it up with our Linksys router. When I was trying to get it connected the other day, I got a different message to normal, this time asking for the router pin number as an alternative to the security password. I entered the 8 digit code off the bottom of the router and it started working - but only while I was standing near the router. After a little while, the connection dropped out again and refused to reappear, although I did sometimes get a message say 'Limited Access' which indicated a connection but no internet access.
Since then, it's been on and off a couple of times, mostly with 'Limited Access' but with no proper, prolonged period of internet access. Until today. All of a sudden it connected up by itself today, and the coverage has remained steady for the last hour and a half.
I had assumed this might be a router incompatibility problem because our router isn't listed on the Microsoft website as being one that is compatible with Windows 7 for a 64 bit processor.
An IT guy told me the other day though that he was suspicious that it had changed messages and asked for the router pin before it hooked up for the first time, as he thought it was possible it could be a virus he'd heard of which allows someone to reconfigure your router and thereby access your PCs. (He suggested setting the router on its defaults to be on the safe side but unfortunately I can't do this - the router belongs to my landlord who lives in the other end of the house, and he's not keen on changing anything).
Does anyone know whether this really does sound suspicious? The router has a good firewall on it. But how could it just sort the problem out on its own??
I confess myself unable to comment on the main question, so I will take the peripheral one. The firewall will not allow the router to fix itself on its own, so your suspicions on that front are correct. What a firewall does is it blocks most ports on your computer from connecting to the outside. It allows the important ones (such as port 80) through. It cans also do more advanced filtering, especially only allowing connections initiated by your computer. What we can see in this is that there are two weaknesses. 1. Someone could have set the tables up wrong (the best firewall in the world will not block something that it's told to allow) 2. If something does manage to slip in through the open ports, the firewall is looking for the most part outward, and so something that is past it is ignored. So a firewall is a good defense, but it does not protect you absolutely (nor does anything else), and it doesn't help once you have a problem.