Confusing Wireless networking problem

I recently purchased a 3Com wireless router, 3Com wireless access point, a PC and PCI card to connect to an adsl modem so i could share the Internet over at a friend's house.
The modem is connected to the router via a Cat 5 cable.(Note that with a laptop conneted to the router via an ethernet cable, I can ping the router and modem ,and even get on the Internet).
The access point is located upstairs (about 50metres thru thin walls), near the desktop that holds the PCI card.
The problem is I cannot seem to get the router and access point to communicate. Hence, I cannot get on the Internet even when the laptop is taken upstairs.
The laptop and desktop actually recognise two networks, but cannot pick up a single signal.
With the laptop in the same room as the router and access points, it still recognises two networks, but can only connect to the one 'specified' by the router.
I have checked and re-checked the config, and have even tried the most basic of setups without encryption, but just can't get my head around this problem.
I have tried the manufucturers' support sites, but have not received much help.

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can the pc and laptop ping each other ? if not, then the access point is not working, not configured right or faulty.

how is the access point connected to the router ? via a hub or crossover cable ?
If there are link lights on the devices, are they lit ? if they are and you are confident the config is okay.
then hard set the duplex speed (like 100mb/full) for both the access point and the router.
as i presume you are using a crossover cable between them. then try swopping the cable around the other way.

GlenhomesAuthor Commented:
The pc and laptop cannot ping eachother. (I'd have thought that ping request goes thru the router anyway???)
The router is wireless, and thus is not physically connected to the AP. There are link lights on both the PC and PCI card, but i still do not understand why the connection comes up, but still says there is no signal.
Forgive my ignorance, but what will hard setting the duplex speed help?
Okay, i am totally lost now how can the router and the access point be connected via a cat5 cable and via wireless ?

Please re-explain how this is all setup ? as i am confused :)

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GlenhomesAuthor Commented:
It says the modem is connected to the router, not the router to the access point.
Adrian DobrotaNetworking EngineerCommented:
Here's how I understand your setup:

 __________________                                    ______________
|                                    |    cat5 cable            |                             |   cat5 cable (link OK)
|         modem               |-------------------------|  802.11x Router  |----------------------------Laptop  
|__________________|                                 |_______________|
                            _____________    /
                           |                          |
                           |          AP           |

Now ....where's the desktop?

Now, since the router works in AP mode, then to that router only clients can be connected.
While your AP is set in AP mode, it will accept connections from any 802.11x card (hence the PCMCIA laptop's card) but it WOJN"T be able to connect to the router.
What I don't get is why do you want to use an AP, since the router works in AP mode aswell, so you won't need an extra AP, however it will complicate your life.

So, does the damn thing work if you try connecting the laptop wirelessly to the router?
If it doesn't , then the router's wireless settings are not OK.

Also, the vertical 50m offset between 802.11 equipments is not good at all.
Usually at 30-50mW output power you can reach about 100 m.
But with walls interposing there ..... I doubt that any link will be established.
You shouyld run some tests with the wireless equipments side by side, to exclude the signal_to_low possibility.

A desktop computer with an RJ45 NIC can be wired to the router.

One thing to check (besides channell, SSID, wep that I guess you already set the same)  is for the equipments's speeds to be set to autodetect./autofallback, otherwise you risk that a link that will eventually work at 2.2Mbps not to be establish cause too low signal level to prevent a 11Mbps to work ...and if your equips are set to 11Mbps and not auto .... I think you got it.

I hope I made some light in this 802.11x matter.

(`'·.¸(`'·.¸ ~ ¸.·'´)¸.·'´)
(¸.·'´(¸.·'´ ~ `'·.¸)`'·.¸)

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GlenhomesAuthor Commented:
I believe the router's wireless settings are ok, coz the laptop DOES work wirelessly around it.
I included an access point coz of the need to access it from a further distance than I think the router would handle on it's own (Note that the PC is located upstairs, and thru walls)
Unfortunately, the desktop cannot be moved downstairs, as that is where he has got his office, and the internet provider fitted the adsl line downstairs on the side of the building.
I would say the 50m in the building is more diagonal than vertical, by the way.

__________________                                    ______________
|                                    |    cat5 cable            |                             |   cat5 cable (link OK)
|         modem               |-------------------------|  802.11x Router  |----------------------------Laptop  
|__________________|                                 |_______________|
                            _____________    /
                           |                          |
                           |          AP           |
                                                         |   PC                    | Green light(hence link ok) but
                                                         _________________ task bar icon says no signal :-(

Adrian DobrotaNetworking EngineerCommented:
<< I believe the router's wireless settings are ok, coz the laptop DOES work wirelessly around it>>   If it works around it and not upstairs, then it's clear that the distance is too big, no matter if you are using an AP or  a PCMCIA card. Usually the output power is the same, so no improvment will be seen if you'll try to connect an AP to the router or the PCMCIA card
The only difference is that usually the AP has the possibility of connecting external antennas and the laptop cards doesn't but there are some that do have an external antenna connector.
And if you set it in client mode, you'll only be able to use it's RJ45 port to connect other devices to it and further to the router and internet.

External antennas are one solution

Polarisation (on level ..plain .... will determine the signal strength .... on different levels even if on a diagonal you'll have some problems

I'm writing this way cause I have to go

I'll be back on monday

hope some advices will help you
How far is the AP form your wired network?
I totally agree with kronostm,

Have you tried running both the router and the Access Point in Ad-Hoc and Infrastructure Mode? My other question is can the router and the access point communicate with eachother.?
What speed is the wireless network?
One other thing, do both the router and the access point have a static IP address that is the same, I would assume they might being manufactured by the same company. Check in the manuals that came with them and see if they both act as DCHP servers?? If they do they will both be trying to give eachother IP addresses so in the configuration settings set the router to DCHP Server and Access Point to DCHP client along with the other computers on the network.

Have you tried just taking the access point down to the router and seeing if it works, using the laptop to check if this works the access point + router u have got either has a range of 50/100 metres and taking in the enviromental conditions at your site i would doubt the range is long enough.

If none of these work, I would definately invest in some antenna's, one for the AP and one for the Router, as the equipment you have bought is costly and I assume you wouldnt be able to return it.

The antenna's to look at are If you do purchase these try and point them at eachother.

Me again,

Personally is i were you i would just pay the $30 to get someone in to wire the AP to the Router together. Much more cost affective.

GlenhomesAuthor Commented:
Thanks for all the comments.
TheElderWizard: We are unable to do any wiring in the house as we cannot get permission from the council. This is why we initially chose to go wireless. Unfortuantely, we cannot work around that problem as they think we shall drill thru the walls and bring the house down!

adamkimber: The AP is presently located in the office upstairs. Distance is about 50m thru walls.
However, it's location can be changed.

All: I am running everything on the network in Infrastructure mode, and NO, the AP cannot communicate with the router(which is the source of the problem).
With the AP, laptop and router in the same room, I CAN get onto the net but i assume this is only because the laptop is within range of the wireless router. However, the AP is now only responding when in some particular positions, and the laptop recognises that the AP is present, but also recognises it as a different network and says there is no signal.
I have already set the router as the DHCP server, and the AP as one of the clients.
I will look into the Antenna's, but a quick qtn; As the AP and router seem to be working as 2 different networks, would it be worth my while to invest in a Bridge?
Adrian DobrotaNetworking EngineerCommented:
<<With the AP, laptop and router in the same room, I CAN get onto the net but i assume this is only because the laptop is within range of the wireless router>> Of course, I told you the two devices can't communicate.

<<As the AP and router seem to be working as 2 different networks, would it be worth my while to invest in a Bridge? >> Hmmm.... Glenhomes .... I already explained you .... PLEASE let me know if you didn't understan me (I have to apologize for my limited English knowledge) .... you DON'T need this AP. If you cannot connect to the router with the laptop, then the AP won't connect either and more, it can't connect unless set in client mode, but this way your laptop won't be able to hook to the AP.
So, go for external antennas to connect the client PCMCIA card to the router.
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