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Windows XP wireless login issue after installing Novell client

Posted on 2007-07-31
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New Windows XP SP2 configured laptop with built-in wireless-G NIC.  Start laptop and Windows sees and connects to a Linksys WAP54G access point that I have it configured do so.  Install Novell Client 4.91 SP4 for Windows XP for connected to my local area newtwork.  Now, from a cold boot, the laptop does not connect to the access point.  The Novell prompt appears but it cannot connect to the network because assumingly, Windows has not made the wireless connection to the access point yet.  However, if I choose workstation only and get inot Windows, the laptop connects and gets on the network.  If I then only LOG OFF and get back to the Novell prompt, everything works fine because that wireless connection is still there.  If I shut down, then restart, I cannot get the inital Novell login to work because it is not seeing the network.  I ran into this same exact problem two summers ago with almost identical equipment, and was able to get it to work.  How?  I do not remeber what I did.  I THOUGHT it had to do with DHCP, so I assigned the laptop a static IP address.  That is what I THOUGHT solved the problem for me two years ago.  But doing that today on my new laptop did not solve the issue.  I need Windows to make the wireless connection before the laptop gets logged in, so the actual Novell login prompt can SEE the network.
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Question by:ddelboccio
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alextoft earned 750 total points
ID: 19603798
Your problem stems not from a shortcoming of the Novell Client, but from a shortcoming of the Wireless Zero Configuration service (crapware(tm)) provided by Microsoft.

The solution we used for a hundred or so laptops at our university was to disable the Windows crapware, and use the Odyssey wireless client - this is capable of establishing a wireless link prior to netware login.

You may want to read the documentation for the SP4 client, as it has 802.x capabilities built in which once configured may suit your needs.
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by:ShineOn
ShineOn earned 750 total points
ID: 19603821
What kind of wireless connection do you have configured?

If you use WPA-PSK, and wait a minute or so for it to establish the link, then you should be able to log in no problem.

If you use 802.1x authentication with RADIUS then you have to get a wireless supplicant that will allow you to authenticate pre-login.

What it has to do with is that the wireless supplicant that comes with Windows Wireless Zero Config is very simplistic and actually works best post-desktop.  For "industrial-strength" supplicants, go for Funk Odyssey or Meetinghouse/Cisco Aegis.  They both work with the Novell client and will actually allow you to authenticate to your RADIUS server using your eDirectory user/password, for a nice single-sign-on experience.
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by:ShineOn
ID: 19603833
Cool - I didn't know they were adding 802.1x capabilities to the 4.91SP4 client... :)
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by:ddelboccio
ID: 19608558
To ALEXTOFT,

What is the Odyssey wireless client?  Is that the hardware specific software for your wireless card?  The wireless card in this laptop is an "Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG", and I disabled the "handled by windows" wireless option and used the "Intel PROSET" software to manage the card.  This still did not allow me to establish a wireless link before login.  The other comment posted mention other "supplicants".  Are there other software packages out there that can be used with my Intel wireless card?  I was unaware of this if this is so.
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by:ShineOn
ID: 19611207
Odyssey is one of the commercially-available wireless supplicant clients.  It's by Funk software, the same people that do "steel belted RADIUS."

The other I've mentioned used to be from Meetinghouse, which was bought by Cisco, called Aegis.

Many wireless cards come with a stripped-down Aegis supplicant
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