Wireless network and logging into domain...

Posted on 2004-11-16
Last Modified: 2013-11-09
Hi All,
I've got a working wired network with a Windows 2003 SBS domain.  I also have a wireless access point that appears to be working just fine.  My question is related to the order of "events" during logon to the domain for wireless laptops.

The wireless connection only gets established after the user is logged in to the laptop (using cached credentials).  The wireless comes up "last".  

Does anyone know how to (or if it's possible) to have the wireless connection be established prior to the login attempt?

Question by:colepc
    LVL 7

    Expert Comment

    Terry, I believe most of the services start after a login. So this might me impossible.
    LVL 7

    Expert Comment

    It is likely that this works much the same as VPN.  The challenge with VPN is that you must authenticate to the VPN in order to log on to the Windows network on the other end of the tunntel.  The problem is that to authenticate to the VPN, you have to log on to the laptop so you can run the VPN software.

    Now, our VPN software has an option to start the VPN software at boot up.  I would look to see if your wireless software supports a similar feature.  If the user can authenticate to the wireless network before logging on to the laptop, you should be in business.

    Good luck.
    LVL 5

    Expert Comment

    I have a similar setup; Small Business Server 2000 with XP Pro workstations and notebooks.

    We use a LinkSys WAP54G with 128-bit WEP key and MAC address list.

    All our wireless notebooks can connect to the Domain Controller before the user logs-on, however the trick is for the user to wait a short time after the notebook displays the "Welcome to Windows" log-in screen while the wireless network adapter establishes a connection. Give it about 30 seconds, we wait for all the major hard disk activity to cease.

    It helps to have Service Pack 2 for XP Professional because it has better support for Wireless but look out for that pesky firewall that comes on by default!

    There is a Microsoft Knowledge Base article 873485 about this issue.

    <a href=";en-us;873485">KB article 873485</a>

    Author Comment

    My wireless is also wap54g with 128 bit wep.  However, no mac list enabled yet...coming soon.

    SP2 is not yet installed.  No reason not to, just haven't yet.  Will try that also on one pc in a day or so.  I read the kb article you referenced, however, I need clarification on something...the exact incarnation or "roaming profiles".  I've got folder redirection enabled on the my documents folder and it works great.  Is this technically "roaming profiles"?  If it is, then the KB article definitely applies to my case.

    LVL 5

    Accepted Solution

    No, its not a roaming profile, although mechanically it goes through the same network process during login.

    The difference is, if a roaming user is not connected to the network they can use the locally cached profile whereas if you lose network connectivity for a redirected folder, there's nothing cached locally if your Offline synchronisation settings are restrictive.

    See MS KB article 883618:;en-us;883618

    "Your offline files or redirected folders synchronize automatically when you log off or log on to a Windows Server 2003-based computer"

    My only observation having used Wireless (802.11g 54Mbps) is that you can feel how slow it is compared to a wired network, so any redirected folders or roaming profiles should be *small*.

    We hade one guy who complained like mad that his new laptop was slow loggin on - he could go away make a cup of coffee and it would still be loggin on. Turned out his MY Documents folder contained about 8 Gigabytes of duplicated redundant files.


    Author Comment

    I'll try it next time I'm on site.

    Thanks for your help!


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