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WEP Network Key on Laptop different from router's...but it still connects to internet

Discussion in 'Networking' started by Paulg, Nov 16, 2008.

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  1. Paulg

    Paulg Thread Starter

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    I am using a Linksys BEFW1124, v.2 router (802.11b) for my wireless network. (I know it's old but it works fine for me). It is hardwired to my Gateway desktop running XP SP2.

    My daughter tried to connect her Dell Inspiron 8600 laptop to my home wireless network. She found the network SSID but when she put in the WEP key from the router, it wouldn't connect. That led us to check my Dell Inspiron 6000 which was, and has been, connected. When we checked the Network key on the 6000, it only had 8 spaces (asterisks) instead of the 10 for the router's WEP. Yet it still worked ok.

    My Inspiron 6000 uses an Inter(R)PRO/Wireless 2915ABG network adaptor. In the Wireless Network Connection Properties, Network Connections, under Wireless Network Key it says:

    This network requires a key for the following:

    Network Authentication: Open

    Data Encryption: WEP

    Network Key: [8 asterisks]

    I tried to put in the 10 digit WEP key from the router, confirmed it, when I clicked "OK" the laptop was connected. But in the "Network Key" box, there were again only 8 asterisks.

    I'm obviously glad my laptop is connected at home (and my daughter's laptop connects to her wireless network in her apartment in another city). And when I go on trips, I've had no problem in hotels connecting to their wireless networks. And she apparently connects fine at other locations.

    I'm sure both the laptops can utilize WAP, but my old router only has WEP. and it is currently set for 64bit.

    I can't help but think, however, that my daughter's inability to connect with the 10 digit WEP Key of the router is somehow related to my 6000's automatically changing the number of digits in its Network key box (and since they are asterisks, I don't know what key it is using). My guess is that a solution to one of these perplexing issues will lead to solving the other one.

    Does anyone have any thoughts? Any additional information you need from me?

    Thank you.
     
  2. JohnWill

    JohnWill Retired Moderator

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    You appear to be using the ASCII passphrase option for WEP, try using ONLY the hex key option, which will indeed be 10 digits.
     
  3. Paulg

    Paulg Thread Starter

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    John:

    When I open the "WEP Key Setting" for my router, it says the following:

    64bit
    Passphrase: "test"
    Key 1: 123123123B
    Keys 2, 3, 4: All zeros
    Default Tx Key: 1

    It seems like some time back, some tech support person had told me to put in "test" and I think even told me to manually put in the 123123123B key. (My memory fails me, at times).

    Anyway, I know this is a dumb question, but what do you mean by "try using only the HEX key option"? How does one do that? Is there some box or setting I must modify to do that? Do you mean leave the passphrase box blank and just manually insert numbers and letters into the KEY 1 box? And maybe dumbest of all, what is a HEX key exactly?

    Thanks for the quick reply.
     
  4. avisitor

    avisitor

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    XP will only show 8 asterisks regardless of the length of the key. I have a 63 character WPA key and I see 8 asterisks in XP.
     
  5. Paulg

    Paulg Thread Starter

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    avisitor:

    Thank you. I received the same answer about the 8 asterisks in XP from someone on the tech support page at Linksys. Until my visiting daughter had problems connecting (see original post), I had never had the need to check the WEP key setting on my Inspiron 6000.

    I still don't know why my daughter couldn't connect her Insprion 8600 using the 10 digit WEP key. Let me ask this of someone: She updated her driver for her Intel PRO/Wireless adapter because of issues she was having connecting in her own apartment (no idea of how those developed). The update allowed her to get connected again. Her problems connecting at my house (where she had always been able to connect with my WEP key) occurred on her first visit after the drivers were updated. Can anyone think of a reason that might have happened?

    Thanks again.
     
  6. JohnWill

    JohnWill Retired Moderator

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    Hard to say, but I have to ask. Why not use WPA, it's actually easier to get working and MUCH more secure?
     
  7. Paulg

    Paulg Thread Starter

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    John:

    Because the BEFW11S4, v.2 doesn't support WPA. I know it's better, and I appreciate your question, but it'll have to wait until I get a new router. Plus, I do not leave the computer on when I'm not using it so I'm hoping the opportunities to breach the minimal security are rare.

    This model does support 128 bit encryption, I think because of a firmware upgrade I did some time back. I was surprised to discover that because my original manual only mentions 64bit. So, I guess I should at least go up to 128 bit. It's just that when everything's working ok, I hate to mess with it.

    For example the "Router Password" at the "Password" page looks to be 17 asterisks long, same in the "confirm" box below it. For the life of me I do not recall ever setting that password. Since they are asterisks, I do not know what that password is. I feel like I should know what that password is, but I don't want to take the chance when everything's working. All I know is that it's different from the network key, which in my case is the 10 digit 64 bit WEP key.

    If you have any thoughts on how I might figure out the Router Password, I'm all ears.

    Thanks, again.
     
  8. avisitor

    avisitor

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    The router password is whatever you use to log into the router.

    17 asterisks show up regardless of the password length.
     
  9. JohnWill

    JohnWill Retired Moderator

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  10. Paulg

    Paulg Thread Starter

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    I'm back. My daughter's brought her laptop home for T'giving.

    To recap: My son and I can connect our laptops via my router using the 10 hex WEP key. My daughter cannot. All laptops are DELL.

    Her wireless card is an Intel PROSet/Wireless card. She updated its driver a few months ago to deal with a problem she had at college. Is there some resetting or reconfiguring we might try on her laptop that might allow her to connect with the WEP Key? Maybe clean out "corrupted" info?

    Why two laptops should work fine and one not connect is baffling.

    Thanks.
     
  11. DoubleHelix

    DoubleHelix Banned

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    Perhaps your daughter's laptop doesn't work with a 64-bit WEP key. Switch to 128-bit WEP, and see if that works.
     
  12. JohnWill

    JohnWill Retired Moderator

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    Better yet, switch to WPA and have real security. :)
     
  13. Paulg

    Paulg Thread Starter

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    Unfortunately I'm using a BEFW11S4 router which doesn't support WAP.

    So, Doublehelix, if I go to my router set-up page, go to WEP KEY Setting, cnahge to 128 Bit, put in a passphrase, I should get a Key1 (WEP key). Then change all the laptops to 128 bit, put in the new passphrase (or hex key?), and they should all be connected? All laptops are DELL with XP Sp2.
     
  14. DoubleHelix

    DoubleHelix Banned

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  15. Paulg

    Paulg Thread Starter

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    DoubleHelix: Didn't work.

    Went to my router, changed to 128 encryption, got a 26 hex WEP key.

    My son used the 26 hex key on his (college-supplied, one-year old) Dell Latitude D630. He got connected.

    I used the new 26 HEX key on my Inspiron 6000: Got connected.

    My daughters Inspiron 8600? Nope. We used both Windows to manage the WiFi as well as the Intel Proset/Wireless utility. Neither connected with the new 26 Hex key.

    Now recall, my daughter had had connection problems at he apartment, had updated her drivers, and solved that problem. She can connect at coffee shops and at college. It's just here at home she can't, and yet every other "visiting" laptop is able to connect.

    And, the wireless network is recognized, the instructions say to connect...but it doesn't happen.

    Thoughts, anyone?
     
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