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Linksys wireless card problems

Jun 30, 20034 mins
Cellular NetworksNetwork Security

Nuuter helps a reader determine the source of a problem with his home wireless net

I am having significant problems with a Linksys wireless network card. At my home I have a Linksys router with two PCs linked to it via cable. About 6 months ago I got a wireless router, hooked the two XP machines up via cable, and set up the wirless card on the Pentium 3. I got it working.  My son was using the DSL connection and everything seemed OK.  Then I set up Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) and around this time his connection stopped working. 

I’m trying to get it up and running again. I turned off WEP, deleted all the AOL network stuff for his modem and still can’t get it to work.

The strange thing is the config utlity shows a full green bar connection. The only problem I see with the settings as the config utility shows them is the subnet mask. It reads instead of, which is what it should be. However, the “expert mode” doesn’t let you set these things yourself, but slaps them in on its own.

The winipcfg shows the wireless card as there and the same incorrect subnet mask info. It also shows the auto-set IP for the card and the MAC address. The wireless card is fine in the device tab in the control panel/system folder. I have removed it and reinstalled it as well with no luck. I cannot ping the router – all packets fail. This used to work. I’m so frustrated right now I don’t know what to do.

Apparently the wireless card is communicating with the router, but the Pentium 3 doesn’t realize there is a connection. I have “wireless” in the router management screen enabled.  When I try to open IE it says dnserror, when I try to connect with his AOL it can’t find a TCP/IP connection. I am at a loss.

 – Via the Internet

You have come across what seems to be a compatibility issue between Linksys and XP. I have run into this myself, and Linksys Support wasn’t able to figure out why there was a problem. The drivers I’ve seen are written to depend on XP for the WEP settings. Make sure you have the lastest drivers installed and the latest firmware on the card if an update is available. Check that you have the latest updates for XP installed, as well.

If this doesn’t resolve the problem, uninstall the drivers for the Linksys card, reboot the workstations and let it come up without the network card installed. Reinstall the drivers and reboot the workstation. Re-enable WEP and see if the problem continues. Here we’re trying to see if we have a bad driver on your computer that will be replaced by reinstalling the software. If the problem is still there, see if you can borrow another brand of wireless card such as Cisco, Netgear or others. This may take some work to get WEP to function in a cross-vendor situation, where you may have to enter the WEP key in hex in one vendor’s product where another allows you to enter it in ASCII.  If the other vendor’s card works that confirms WEP is OK and starts to isolate the problem to the Linksys driver/card.  When I work on this in the lab, I only had the problem occur in XP; Windows 2000/98 didn’t show the problem.

I haven’t seen this problem with other vendors that handle WEP on their own and don’t depend on Microsoft interface. Also, check to make sure your WEP key is entered exactly the same on both the access point and the wireless card. This is where using another vendor’s wireless card will also verify that the WEP settings are corrrect. Check that you have the latest firmware installed on the access point as well to eliminate that being part of the problem.