I have a laptop with Linksys adapter which worked fine for 2 years. Used the laptop to pickup open WiFi signal fine over weekend. Back at home it read You are connected to the access point, but the Internet cannot be found." Had good strong signal but wouldn't load up on the browser.
Have DSL with wireless router. Verizon said I had to change to WPA2 and then it worked. Now it doesn't work on other computers because the equipment apparently is older. I live in isolated area so privacy is not a concern. Why is it necessary for the laptop to require WPA2 today when it worked okay for two years? I have a Westell - is it possible to eliminate encryption?
That is interesting, an ISP requiring encryption? I guess it can be programmed into the "modem/router" device to only accept encrypted connections. That is a good thing, but we won't start a religious war.
The biggest reason a rule like that would be enforced is because people travel around looking for WiFi networks to "hack" from and pirate software, music and movies. It is a huge headache for you ISP, so they did away with the problem.
To answer your questions, the required encryption rule could have been from a firmware update. A lot of issued devices automatically update firmware. I do not know if it is possible to use your equipment w/o encryption. If it is programmed into the device, no probably not. You just need to troubleshoot it; go into your router an disable encryption, that is the most likely problem. You didn't mention which router you have, so it is hard to give step-by-step directions. The router manual is your best bet.