WLAN access before Windows login (Novell / Windows)

I'm installing wireless network cards on a school network, where the users have Novell, roaming profiles. The problem is that the WLAN is not accessable until after the users have logged in (windows only login). This is not the ideal situation, because if we allow the pupils to login to windows only, they're then not required to use Novell login to gain internet access, etc..

Any ideas would be appreciated thanks.
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HannthoAsked:
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HannthoAuthor Commented:
Forgot to mention we're using win2K.
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mgcarneyCommented:
I would probably start by making the Novell Server the primary DNS server then rejoining the computers to the domain...or you could go in and individually input the mac addresses for each wireless card in a DHCP server to authenticate through the Novell Server.
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masterbakerCommented:
Just a few background questions.

Are you using Windows XP machines?  If not, what operating system are they?  

If you do use XP, are you using the software from the wireless card manufacturer to set up the wireless network, or are you using Microsoft's built-in "zero configuration" feature?  So when you installed the wireless cards, did you only set up the base driver or install everything?

One thing you can do (although it is probably not what you want), is to let them log in locally to Windows and then have them run the Netware login program (should be in Start >> Programs >> Novell >> Netware Login) to log in and gain access to network resources.

Jeff
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HannthoAuthor Commented:
Are you using Windows XP machines?  If not, what operating system are they?  
- Windows 2000 on these particular machines. Some teachers have fujitsu Simens laptops with XP and built in wireless, which don't seem to have this problem

If you do use XP, are you using the software from the wireless card manufacturer to set up the wireless network, or are you using Microsoft's built-in "zero configuration" feature?  So when you installed the wireless cards, did you only set up the base driver or install everything?
- Sorry, need something which works in Win2K

One thing you can do (although it is probably not what you want), is to let them log in locally to Windows and then have them run the Netware login program (should be in Start >> Programs >> Novell >> Netware Login) to log in and gain access to network resources.
- We don't really want to go that way, because it may present some security problems.
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masterbakerCommented:
Ahh, well you may be stuck with Windows 2000.  You have to use the manufacturer's software to set up the wireless link in Windows 2000, and their software won't set up the connection until after you have logged in.

One option (although it may be cost prohibitive) would be to purchase wireless ethernet bridges.  These little devices have a wireless connection and a wired connection.  As far as the PC knows, it has a wired connection.  The bridge is always connected to the wireless network.  You just have to configure it once.  As the PC will be able to communicate with the network before the login prompt appears, you will be able to log into the network instead of logging in locally.

The reason the teachers with XP are working is because they are probably using the Microsoft "zero configuration" to handle the wireless connection.  This activates the wireless before logging in so they can perform a network login.

Another option would be to upgrade your desktops to XP.  Again, this could be cost (or time) prohibitive.

I wish I had a better answer for you.  I've had similar problems with a few laptop users on Windows 2000 in my office.  I just finished migrating them to XP in the past few weeks and now the network issues are gone.

Jeff
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HannthoAuthor Commented:
Yesss!!!

Upgraded to XP and installed only the Wireless card driver, without the software. Works perfectly now. Thanks Jeff!

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masterbakerCommented:
All right!  That's great news.  I'm glad I could help out.

Jeff
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