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Limited or no connectivity on wireless, but fine with wired

Posted on 2008-10-14
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Hello,

I have a problem with a wifi access point. I have users intermittently being able to connect, then next time they come into the office they get the limited or no connectivity error. I feel like I have tried everything with this. I dont believe its a DHCP issue, as wired works ok. I will write a list of things I have tried already to avoid people suggesting it, and will also write a list of what else I intend to try.

Tried -

Swapping from B/G to A wifi network
Turning off other wifi equipment and removing interferance
Removing 3rd party wifi software such as intel proset wireless
Trying a different wifi point
Rebooted access point (this seems to fix things until they try reconnect again)
Upgrading firmware and drivers on effected laptops

To try -

Turn off 2nd LAN adapter on DHCP server and try running it on one.
Change to static IP when getting the error to see if it starts working
Install XP SP2 fix which addresses this issue
Turn off the Sophos software firewall on the effected PC's

I come here as somebody may know another way or have seen this before, so please I am very desperate to get this fixed as its being going on a while now, any suggestions MUCH appreciated!!!

Thanks.
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Question by:forzaaw
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by:Kieran_Burns
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How about using a different channel? If you have it set to a default option it's likely to be clashing with another AP.
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by:chilternPC
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it sounds like not your equipment but the laptops amd clients (!)
I had a similar situation with a client who would call me into the office to get the wifi working on their laptop, it had stopped working as when they get home they fiddle with the wireless to get it to connect at home. had to configure the the client to use the same connection method at home and the office (ie. like you remove the laptop's third party wireless stuff and use windows to access the wireless)

the other problem I have seen,  is a number of wifi networks in the same area clashing on the same channel - have you tried changing the channel, the wifi is on?

what make is the access point? and how dumb is it? ( I usually use netgear)
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by:forzaaw
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It doesn't look like something they are playing with, there are no other networks in the network list. The station is a hp procurve, so its a decent access point.

I have 2 networks set up on it, an A network and  BG network, I have tried it with just 1 or the other also. I have also tried changing the channel it broadcasts on. What I have noticed on one of the laptops is that the client connects to the BG network fine, but when they connect to the A network, they get the problem. If whilst the connection is stuck on limited or no connectivity, i go into properties and give it static settings, it starts working.

Why would this happen, but be fine with the BG network? When this was originally setup just for BG, people had issues as well so just switching everyone to BG will not fix this... any help appreciated...
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by:justin-clarke
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Do the A and BG networks have different SSIDs as they are coming from the same AP?

As you say that no other networks show in the network list. Because that mite be an issue. But as you say you had it setup on just BG before and it did the same.

Also on some laptop's (I had trouble with IBM ones) when the SSID is hidden they had funny connectivity issues.
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by:forzaaw
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Update, the XP SP2 fix does not apply on the current laptop im working with, as its already got SP3, so that is ruled out as a fix. Note also when I changed channel I made sure to change it so it was 5 channels up or below the existing channel.
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by:forzaaw
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The SSID on the two networks are different so I can associate between them, I have tried with them hidden and unhidden, same issue.
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by:justin-clarke
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Oh and also actaully I've just remembered it's probably something to do with the security settings. Using WPA seems to throw this error, where as if you connect using No Security (or possible WEP) they will probably connect fine. Maybe you can test out this theory.
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by:Kieran_Burns
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A colleague here has mentioned power saving settings for the laptops. It may be that the wireless connections are powering down to maximise battery life .
Also, what encryption settings are you using - there may be an issue with negogiating WPA with a pre-shared key
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by:justin-clarke
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^^ Then atleast you will know if the problem lies with the security element.
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by:Kieran_Burns
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I love it when two suggestions overlap like that :-)
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by:forzaaw
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I did have a quick thought about this also, but didnt want to use WEP as I know how easy it is to get past ;)

Same security settings on the A and BG networks, but I'll definitely try this as thats two of you guys, and myself thinking of the same thing...
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by:justin-clarke
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You could run WEP with MAC address filtering to maybe harden it a bit more, but WPA is obviously how you want it.

Depends what's behind the AP. As if you still need to login to your network to access things then it's not a problem using WEP. But if you don't have to log in (other than the WPA key) then you shouldn't really have the AP plugged into your network withour using a Radius Server.

Possibly it's a drivers update that's required for the laptop's wireless cards.
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by:Kieran_Burns
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I'd check the laptop power settings as well. Advanced options and look at the adapter settings. You'll have options for the power level (should be 100%) and power save mode (should be set to high performance). this will give your wireless cards the best chance of detecting the networks.
Oh, and there may be a setting for bluetooth collaboration as bt works on the same frequency, so you MAY get clashes with bt devices as well
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by:justin-clarke
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drivers / firmware update I mean.
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by:forzaaw
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Well I just tried changing from WPA-PSK(TKIP)/WPA2-PSK(AES) to WPA2-PSK(AES) and it seems to have fixed this particular laptop, it now connects to both networks with no static settings. I need to try this on some other laptops first, as its been intermittent. Once I am happy with that I will assign the points. Thanks for suggestions chaps really appreciated and a snappy response!!
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by:justin-clarke
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Intertesting that the WPA2 spec with AES works rather than the WPA which is older are more widely supported! It may be that some laptops won't support WPA2 though (depends on how new they are).
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by:Kieran_Burns
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TKIP is not as secure as AES, so changing that setting is making things MORE secure.
Plus isn't TKIP meant to be used for WEP?
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by:justin-clarke
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Yer AES is much better to use, but the TKIP is for WPA, that's what makes it more secure than WEP.
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by:Darr247
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> Plus isn't TKIP meant to be used for WEP?

WPA = WEP with TKIP. The passphrase and a NONCE are used to generate vectors that themselves are used to compute a new password every so many packets, but the encrypted passphrase is still sent with every packet (just like WEP), so they can be captured and the payload decrytped. i.e. the connection is semi-secure, but not your data.
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by:Kieran_Burns
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Thanks Darr - I (hopefully) help to answer a question and learn something myself :-)
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by:forzaaw
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Still got problems with some of the other computers, I am guessing they don't look this kind of encryption. Considering trying it with WEP out of curiosity. Will report back.
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by:Kieran_Burns
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Have you also checked the power settings as well?
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by:forzaaw
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On the computers you mean? Yes.
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forzaaw earned 0 total points
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Replaced access point in the end, seems fine now.
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