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iMac having problems connecting to wireless router (WPA encryption)

greyknight17 asked
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-11-23
Not a Mac guru (far from it) but I usually know enough to work with them (more of a Windows guy). I have a iMac G3 700Mhz computer running OS X (Tiger). Everything is working smoothly except for the wireless. I recently added an airport card to it and it seems to be working (get the airport icon on top). But whenever I try to connect to my wireless router (Westell Versalink 327W using WPA-PSK encryption) it doesn't seem to find it. It gives me a message saying that it can't find it. I chose WPA Personal in the airport network properties and entered in my 26 digit key code in the field.

What am I doing wrong here? I must have tried everything that I'm aware of (reseated card, turned off and on the airport card, removed and recreated wireless account entry in airport properties, etc.). It's time to go to the experts for help on this one.

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Eoin OSullivanConsultant

I assume you CAN see the broadcast ID, channel etc for the Westell Versalink  .. but connection fails.

I guess you've tried .. but have you removed ALL encryption from the Westell Versalink wireless connection and tried to connect with NO encryption to begin with.


How far away are you from the wireless router and have you confirmed that the radio signal is not turned down to a low level?  Also can other devices use this device?


The broadcast ID is hidden. I have 5 other computers (desktops and laptops) at home and don't have a problem detecting it. One of these is a iBook and it has no problems connecting to the wireless router.

I think I tried removing all the encryption in the past. I'll try again as it may be for a USB wireless adapter that I was trying to use (before I got this airport card).

It's not that far away from the wireless router. It's about 20 feet and basically no interference in between.
Eoin OSullivanConsultant

I find that for best troubleshooting I will always start by turning OFF  any type of encryption plus where relevant things like firewalls or NAT settings.

Also you should ENABLE broadcast ID and allow the router to be Pinged.
Also try and ensure you're running in mixed mode 802.11 b & g

In this way you can rule out anything on the Router side of the equation and concentrate on the WiFi on the mac.

If you CAN connect then you can re-enable the features like encryption, ping blocking etc and see where and when it fails.

Clearly if you still cannot connect then there is a fundamental problem on the mac either with the card or drivers.  

Let us know how you get on.


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For what it's worth, heres my experience with wireless. We have a small wireless network at my office.  I'm using high-end access points.  For the most part it works OK, but occasionally I have a couple of laptops that just iwll not connect until they are almost on top of the access point.

I had a wireless printer in my home 6 feet from my router.  About once or twice a month it would just cease talking to the router and the only way to fix it was to reboot everything.

I had a high-end access point in my house (different time that the thing with the printer) that was only about 20 feet away from my PC and my Mac.  Always got a signal, but never got any signal strength than low. Nothing between the computers and the AP than 20 feet of air and a couple pieces of sheet rock.

Finally replaced that AP with an Apple Airport Extreme base station in the exact same place as the other AP (which is now gone) and I always get an excellent signal strength level.  I have never lost wireless connection once in the 6 months that I've had it in place.  I am about to replace my high-end AP at work with a couple of Airports as well.  Not saying that this would fix your problem, but my only truly positive experience has been with the airport basestation in the mix.


I was about to plug in network cable to the router and remove the encryption, when I said let me try this one more time. I removed my wireless entry (SSID) from the list again and added it back. Before I knew it, I saw the airport signal light up. I moved it back to my room to confirm the distance issue and it won't find the signal. It's about 20 feet away basically no interference except my bedroom door (which doesn't matter...tried opening it just for the heck of it and made no difference).

It seems like the distance is causing problems in this case. Definitely weird as my iBook and Dell laptops don't have any issues in my room nor the living room which is about 30-40 feet away with walls in between.

jhyiesla, you mentioned the radio level. Do you mean for my airport card? If so, how do I increase it? I'm trying to avoid buying one of those airport basestations for just one computer.


No, on the wireless router.  There usually is a way in the wireless setup somewhere to adjust the signal strength that the router produces.  Not all routers have this, but it is very common.


I suppose it could be the airport card, but that's not real likely.  Do you have access to another wireless router at an office or friend's house?  You could take the imac there and see if it makes a difference. 20 feet shouldn't make a difference, but as noted above, I had a printer that was 6 feet from a wireless AP that would occasionally fail and I did have issues with the old router before I replaced it with the Airport Extreme, but even then it was all wireless connections that were affected, not just one.

Also, did you try the other expert's suggestions about removing encryption and letting SSID to be broadcast to see if it works any better?


I will check my wireless router again to see if it has that signal strength option.

Just didn't expect the range to be so short since the iBook (probably about the same age as this iMac) has a farther range and still have signal.


I caved in. Don't want to invest in a new airport base station just for one computer. Just bought some parts to build a new computer instead since this will probably be a better alternative in the long run.
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