One wireless connection works - the other doesn't??

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cjexpat Posted: Fri, Aug 24 2007 6:32 PM

 A bizarre situation that I just don't understand - help really appreciated.

I'm running a home wireless network: cable modem to Dell Truemobile 2300 router. I have a Mac wired to the router, and until last week 1 Dell desktop and another Dell laptop - both running XP - connected via wireless. No problems - everything running fine.

Last week we moved the Dell desktop to another room (closer to the router as it happens) but managed to damage the (Belkin G+) PCI wireless card in the process.

I have replaced the PCI card with the exact same model (another Belkin G+) but now I can't connect to the router. The best I am getting is "limited Network" connectivity

I am trying to bypass the Belkin wireless utility and get Windows to manage the connectivity, but cannot get the "Wireless Zero Configuration" service to remain "started" (it stops every time I reboot) or indeed the option "Use Windows to manage my network connection" selected in the Windows Network Connection properties.

Belkin tech support are advising me to change the SSID & channel settings on the router, and that this will "refresh" the connection and "definitely" get the problem fixed. They also maintain that, once I get connected, the problems with Wireless Zero Configuration and "Use Windows to manage my network connection" will self-fix

The first problem I have is that the configuration utility is on the desktop that now can't connect to the router!!

Beyond that I just don't understand

1/ why resetting the SSID & channel would fix this without potentially screwing up the (perfect) wireless connectivity with the laptop

2/ why I need to do this at all - ALL that has changed from the previous scenario is the actual PCI card in the desktop (but have swapped for EXACTLY the same type) and the physical location of the desktop. The laptop gets excellent reception in exactly the same spot.

My main question is: should I trust the Belkin advice (reset the router SSID / channel - bearing in mind this means I have to try and install the config software on the laptop ... for which I don't actually have a CD drive ... and I'm concerned about creating further network problems ....) or is there anything else I should try within Windows beforehand?

And if anyone could explain WHY this is happening I'd also be eternally grateful!!

Thanks in advance

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Be advised that you must be wired to the router to change any settings. DO NOT attempt to change router settings wirelessly! Any of your computers should be able to access the router while they are wired to it using the correct IP address typed into your web browser. I believe the IP address for the Truemobile 2300 router is http://192.168.2.1 and the default USER NAME and PASSWORD is admin. I would not change any settings in the router at this point since both your wireless laptop and wired MAC still have internet connectivity. It has been my own personal experience that a wireless connection that connects with a message of limited or no network connectivity indicates a problem with the security. Try deleting your Dell desktop's connection to your network (and any other networks in the vicinity), and then reconnect to your network. When you attempt to reconnect it will ask you to type-in your security key. If you have forgotten your security key, or just need to verify it, you will need to access your router's settings as I previously described...

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cjexpat replied on Sat, Aug 25 2007 4:59 AM
Super Dave - many thanks indeed !!! It was indeed a question of security. I was using an out-of-date WEP key that I changed about 2 years ago - instead of giving me a self-descriptive error message of the type "can't access the router - WEP key invalid", Windows was confusing me by giving me "limited connectivity". I was therefore under the impression that I was properly connected but that something was "limiting" the connectivity - I was assuming signal strength. I had tried to access the router by wiring the Dell Desktop to the router but had failed to recognise that I first needed to disable the wireless connection - so I was not getting access. When I finally thought to disable the wireless I got access to the router, saw immediately that I was using the wrong WEP key, re-attempted wireless connection with the right WEP key and it works! So all this is really an exercise in seeing how a non-tecchie can get very confused in these matters ... you own help and advice were really appreciated, thanks!! One problem I still have is that I am still only letting Low or Very Low signal strength on the desktop (as previously stated, the laptop, in exactly the same location, is Very Good or Excellent) ... if you had any ideas on what I might do to improve the signal to the desktoop they would be gratefully received. I'm going to do a bit of Internet research on this later on today as well .... Thanks again!!!
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Super Dave replied on Sun, Aug 26 2007 12:43 AM

Glad to hear that all is well with your wireless network. I must say that you gave a very thorough explanation of the problem! As far as your desktop's signal strength I can only suggest that you play with the position of the antennas a bit. Try to position the desktop antenna so that it is parallel to at least one of the router's antennas. If the router has more than one antenna, make sure that the router's antennas are NOT parallel to each other. There is also the possibility that Belkin offers a larger antenna for your wireless PCI card that might increase signal strength.

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