WPA -vs- WEP: How to Set Up

More than 1 person has told me that WPA is a far better encryption method than WEP.
However, I will freely admit that I am scared; because, the last attempt I made at changing over from WEP to WPA messed up my whole wireless network. I had to switch back to WEP to regain all my connections.
What I want to be able to do securely and correctly is to change over to WPA without destroying my network connections.
Therefore, I am giving my current network setup in hopes that my fellow members will help me do this safely and correctly without destroying all my connections:

[1] Wireless Router: Netgear WGR614v6
[2] PC1 = hard wired into the router. Also, PC1 is the Main Server of the Network: EVERYTHING NETWORKED goes through this PC and the wireless router.
[3] PC2 = connected to the router via a Netgear Wireless NIC card: WG511
[4] Of course, Network Name is, for security reasons, not accessible to anyone but me.

Please!  If anyone can show me the steps for making a safe transition to WPA without losing my entire network, I would be extremely grateful!!!

THANKS!!!

GadgetDude
GadgetDudeAsked:
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zephyr_hex (Megan)Connect With a Mentor DeveloperCommented:
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/networking/expert/bowman_03july28.mspx

you dont need to worry about your hard wired pc... it is not involved in wpa or wep.
on PC2, you will have to follow the instructions in the link above.
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Phr0stByteConnect With a Mentor Commented:
I assume your PCs are Windows XP SP2 with all recommended updates.

Quote from http://support.microsoft.com/kb/815485:
"For wireless clients that are running Windows XP service pack 2 (SP2) and that are using a wireless network adapter that supports the Wireless Zero Configuration service, the Windows WPA Client is included in Windows XP SP2. Therefore, additional downloads are not needed."


Here's a link to a site that will guide you through your setup:
http://trueblade.com/knowledge/using-wpa-psk

Here's the netgear support page for that router:
http://kbserver.netgear.com/products/wgr614v6.asp
If you're having trouble setting this up, refer to that page and update your current router firmware.


Otherwise, it seems you understand what's involved in getting windows to run this, so no point in wasting real estate.


Additional Troubleshooting:

Windows Wireless Setup Issues:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/870702

If you insist, here's a jargon-infested, over-documented pdf on your router:
http://kbserver.netgear.com/pdf/wgr614v6_ref_man_20Apr05.pdf
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GadgetDudeAuthor Commented:
I want to thank everyone for their advice/input.
I will reward points in a day or so.

An Update: after nearly 2 hours (perhaps more) with what Netgear laughingly calls "Technical Support" my outsourced technician told me he could do nothing for me because he doesn't understand the problem.

Well, I am convinced (almost) that it is a defect with the WG311 (OK, it could also be software related); but, here's what happened: after spending several hours trying to figure out why I couldn't change my encryption from WEP to WPA, the following happened:

When I went back to WEP Encryption, all of a sudden, everything worked. Translation: my Netgear NIC will not allow me to change encryption methods from WEP to WPA.

Well, that's the "current state."

Bless you all for your help!

GadgetDude
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GadgetDudeAuthor Commented:
Added to my previous comment:

As Phr0stbyte recommended: I followed the setup procedure exactly.  Several times!
The Netgear 311 will not allow an encryption change from WEP to WPA; no matter what you do or how many times you try to do it.

(Perhaps I should move on to Linksys or D-Link)

Thanks!

GadgetDude
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Phr0stByteCommented:
You tried updating firmware then?  

Well, I personally had a choice between a D-Link and a linksys and I paid the $25 extra for linksys because I get POed when I get a router that doesnt work.  Linksys is quality...  but .. I was EXTREMELY surprised it did not support QOS.... oh well... i guess..
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GadgetDudeAuthor Commented:
Firmware is current. I still think Netgear NIC card, WG311, is garbage.
And furthermore, after 2 hours with Netgear support, their basic response was: "We tried everything we know of and cannot get our wireless card to change encryption from WEP to WPA. So, good luck to you. Good bye. 'Have a rotten day.' " (I am sarcastic and kidding abou the "rotten day" part.

I am thinking of going to a Linksys wireless router with MIMO (my sources tell me that "N" will not be finalized until January 2008.

BOTTOM LINE: Unless I switch routers or NIC cards, I've gone back to WEP and will reward points soon.

GadgetDude
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Phr0stByteCommented:
You are correct about "N" , which is why I wouldnt purchase an "N" router yet.  

So it's less an issue with the router, more with the NIC card then?  Well, that's good to know.  Also, I wouldn't worry about points... after all... it's not working, is it? :)  I do not know if there's a way to NOT award them...
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GadgetDudeAuthor Commented:
I want to thank everyone for all their advice and help !!!!!
My fellow members are great!

Taking into account everything that has been said; and, with a little extra local help, I have determined the cause of the problem: it was NOT the router; but in point of fact, the Netgear wireless NIC, WGR311, which was garbage!

Having replaced the above named router with a Linksys WMP54G wireless router, WEP and WPA is no longer a problem.
I have successfully changed the encryption to WPA.

As my Klingon friends would say: Kaplaa! (Success!)

THANK YOU ALL!

GadgetDude
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