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MacBook Pro will not connect to corporate wireless network

Posted on 2009-04-22
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Last Modified: 2013-11-08
I have a MacBook Pro, running Leopard (OSX 10.5.6) and I just cannot get it to connect to the Wireless Network at my workplace.

The MBP connects to wireless network and authenticates just fine, but will not obtain an IP address from the DHCP server.

The wireless network consists of 16 Cisco Aironet 1200 Access Points controlled by a Cisco Wireless Network Controller. It does not broadcast its SSID and is WEP 128-bit hex protected.

Changing the network from WEP to WPA is out of the question for me as this is under the control of my customers IT Department and they do not have any problems with their PCs connecting to the network. Power cycling the wireness network devices is also out of the question. It appears to be an Apple issue...?

For reference, my old Vaio PC, my Nokia N95, my iPhone 3G and my iPod Touch ALL connect to the same wireless network without any problems whatsoever, first time, every time!

If I boot into Windows XP from my Boot Camp partition, XP can connect wirelessly to the network without any problems, so it is not MacBook hardware related...

It has to be a bug in Mac OSX... doesn't it?!?

Things I have already tried (following suggestions on many forums):
Switching Airport off/on
Deleting various network-related Plist files and rebooting
Manually assigning an IP Address (not really permitted but doesn't work anyway!)
Disabling all network adaptors except Airport
Resetting PRAM

The AP Grapher application shows that my MBP is connected to the wireless network, at good strength, and packets are being sent and received, but Internet Access is not possible as no IP Address has been assigned. Instead, my MBP shows a 169.* IP Address (self-assigned). It should be a 10.1.255.* address.

Can anybody please help? Thank you.
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Question by:SJRalling
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by:chilternPC
ID: 24205110
the system is " WEP 128-bit hex protected."
I would try on the MAC     WEP 64-Bit     and then connect
- I found it sometimes works (don't ask why...)
good luck

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by:strung
ID: 24205489
See if this Apple KB helps:  http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1126
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by:SJRalling
ID: 24205735
Thanks for your suggestions guys.

I tried a combination of both suggestions:

strung: your link suggested prefixing the hex WEP key with a $ ... the network connection dialog beeps when I try to type the $ character when trying to enter a WEP 40/128 hex password so that is not an option for me

so...

I tried chilternPC's suggestion of using the WEP Password option - this did allow a $ sign before the hex password, but alas I still get the self-assigned IP address

Any other ideas?
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by:strung
ID: 24205756
You could also try a 0x (zero-x) prefix.
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by:strung
ID: 24205823
Maybe you should point out to the customer that WEP provides almost no security and if they are seriously interested in protecting their network, they should switch to WPA. WEP can be hacked in minutes by software readily available on the net:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wired_Equivalent_Privacy

http://www.isaac.cs.berkeley.edu/isaac/wep-faq.html

http://www.spamlaws.com/wep-security.html
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Author Comment

by:SJRalling
ID: 24206088
Tried th 0x prefix, but still no joy :-(

I have told them that using WEP is exposing them to all sorts of potential industrial espionage etc but they say that to change the protocol now would mean the recall of hundreds of laptops to be reconfigured, which they are not prepared to do! Fools...

I am still convinced that the problem is down to the OSX network handling... my other Apple devices (iPhone 3G and iPod Touch) both connect to the same network perfectly. So does my MacBook Pro when I boot into Windoze (which I really don't want to do!)

Anything else I can try?
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Author Comment

by:SJRalling
ID: 24206113
We just had a visitor to our site today and he had a MacBook!!

I asked him to try to connect to the network and guess what... same problem as me!! (glad it's not just my beloved MBP!) - it must be an 'OSX thing'...
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by:strung
ID: 24206123
I am running out of ideas. You could try opening the Keychain utility and deleting any keychain items that have to do with that particular connection just in case the keychain has memorized a wrong password, or use something like Onyx to clean your caches. Those are both long shots, but beyond that, I am out of suggestions.

OS X 10.5.7 is due out imminently and maybe that will have a fix, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

I must admit I have had problems with my MacBook Pro connecting to WEP as well.
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by:strung
ID: 24206383
Here is another suggestion I found elsewhere on the net:

 Enter the WEP key through Internet Connect.  

In the Airport drop-down, select "Open Internet Connect"... Then select the access point from the list. You'll get a "requires password" dialogue... Pick "WEP 40/128-bit hex"... Enter the 26 char key in the "Password" block... Click OK. Now you should be connected. The next time, do the same thing, but check the box "Add to Keychain" Save the SSID and 26 character WEP key in a text file somewhere so you can find it. Also, don't lose the router password you've set.
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by:strung
ID: 24206416
Another suggestion:

"After installing Leopard, I've been unable to log into my home network. I have a Snow Airport base station, but when I try to join the network, I get a window that says my network requires a WEP password. Typing in my password results in a message that says "incompatible security". No go. But I can go to System Preferences, select "network", select Airport, click on "assist me", and run the diagnostics. Six or eight keystrokes later, I'm online."
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Author Comment

by:SJRalling
ID: 24206664
I do not have 'Open Internet Connect' listed under my Airport dowpdown...
just:

-----
Turn Airport Off
-----
List of avaiable networks
-----
Join Other Network...
Create Network...
Open Network Preferences...
-----

Tried the "Assist Me" route, but that still gave me the self-assigned IP address problem
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Author Comment

by:SJRalling
ID: 24206870
The attached file shows my Airport options
Airport.jpg
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Author Comment

by:SJRalling
ID: 24206906
... as you can see - it thinks it has connected to the wireless network successfully, but this is what I get in Network Prefs:

NP.jpg
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by:strung
ID: 24207058
This is a long shot, but try putting something (anything) in the DHCP Client ID box, hit apply,  then try to renew the lease.
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by:strung
ID: 24210378
Also try "Join Other Network" and specify the SSID and the "Security" Manually.
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by:chilternPC
ID: 24210546

I know you can't change the wireless - but  get them to reboot it. then try.
use the mac and choose different encryption options as the standards aren't always the same across mac to routers
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by:chilternPC
ID: 24210573
upper and lower case hex may not be the same in encryption keys......
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by:SJRalling
ID: 24213179
Thanks guys.

I have now tried all of your suggestions, but still no joy.

The weird thing is that the Airport appears to be connected to the wireless network - i.e. the authentication has passed - but the DHCP server will not (or cannot) issue an IP address... I can see packets being sent and received (only a few, but some!) so I guess I AM connected to the wireless network...?

I tried an invalid password and, of course, the connection failed. The valid password causes the connection to happen, but just the IP address issue.

Are there any logs I could access that might give you guys a clue as to what is going wrong?

Thanks for your continued help.
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by:chilternPC
ID: 24213228
did you use the network/aiport wizard to set up the link?
did you retry manually setting the IP ? (and subnet mask)
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by:SJRalling
ID: 24249553
Hi chilternPC,

Yes I did try using the wizard to set up the link. I also tried manually setting the IP address - the connection is established but no Internet access is possible!
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Author Comment

by:SJRalling
ID: 24268284
Are there any logs that I could post here to help identify the cause of this problem?
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Expert Comment

by:techydude71
ID: 24302914
does the Airport on your Mac successfully get IP config from *other* DHCP servers (ie. in other locations) ?

for whatever reason, my MBP's DHCP client has stopped working (& i haven't gotten around to fixing it) and I get the same symptoms as you.
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by:SJRalling
ID: 24302950
Yes - it work perfectly at EVERY other location I use it!
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by:chilternPC
ID: 24303131
its the router - I know you said it works when you boot up XP on the same hardware, but the router needs its firmware upgrading or
 its blocking your ip when browsing
what do the tech guys say at the company where the router is ?
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Author Comment

by:SJRalling
ID: 24303806
Unfortunately, the tech guys say it is my problem as they (the Company) only use PCs and they work perfectly!

I, as a consultant, use my own equipment and for me that is a MacBook Pro (wouldn't go back to using a PC again! Ever!)

They do not acknowledge that there is a problem with their wireless network so will do nothing about it unless PCs fail to connect!

Other Mac-using visitors to the site experience the same problem that I do - the network will not issue IP addresses to them!

I cannot even ask a favour and get them to power-cycle 'the router', as there are sixteen access points and a WNIC controller involved and rebooting all of them is out of the question...

So... back to my question! - Is there a logfile on the Mac that might indicate where the problem lies?
I would have thought that there is...?

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by:chilternPC
ID: 24305144
Looking at my iMac (which connect t my netgear and BT hubs no probs) there is a option  to use IPv4 or  IPv6 - and I'm using IPv4 using DHCP.  maybe something likethat on your notebook?
have you any proxies setup ? - untick them all   (found under the Airport advanced configuration)
have you configuredthe firewall (under security in system preferences) it can stop internet

will look at what logs ther are (thing about macs - is they just work so no needfor log files :-)
I would check the firewall and the IP version
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Author Comment

by:SJRalling
ID: 24306647
I have got it setup to use IPv4 (which I believe is correct for this network).
I do not have any proxies setup for this connection.
My firewall is setup to allow all incoming connections.

I am hoping that there is some kind of log that records 'the chatter between my MackBook and the Wireless Network' e.g. requests, responses, acknowledgements etc etc - therein may lay the answer to my problems...
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by:strung
ID: 24306917
I don't know if LIttle Snitch will track what you want:  http://www.obdev.at/products/littlesnitch/index.html

Also check the Network Utility on the Mac.
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by:chilternPC
ID: 24307074
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by:chilternPC
ID: 24307101
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by:SJRalling
ID: 24316638
Thanks chilternPC - I will give these a try and get back to you.
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Accepted Solution

by:
SJRalling earned 0 total points
ID: 24374958
I have tried each of the suggested application, but unfortunately they do not help with the problem.

A few more people here have now got MacBooks, so I am hoping that we can somehow find a solution...
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by:chilternPC
ID: 24377859
Good Luck!
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by:strung
ID: 24499381
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by:SJRalling
ID: 24500905
Strung! - You know, that just might be the answer! Thanks... I will try it on Monday when I am next on site.
Will post results here...
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by:ChrisStutz
ID: 25396631
Was this ever fixed.. im having the same issues your describing with my stuff and was wondering if you found a fix
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Author Comment

by:SJRalling
ID: 25400837
Sorry for not getting back - guess I was just too disillusioned to post! - Unfortunately, whilst the supplied link sounded like it might be the solution, no amount of configuration editing could get my MacBook Pro talking to the router. Still hoping that someone will find a solution to what appears to be a widely spread problem...
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Author Comment

by:SJRalling
ID: 25635215
Update...

This is not fixed in OSX 10.6 Snow Leopard!
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by:MereDevelopment
ID: 34616685
Hi, just for anyone else looking at this, maybe this dude's post will help:
http://www.lockergnome.com/it/2009/02/09/mac-dhcp-wireless-connection-broken-with-self-assigned-ip-address/
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