Need a good Xp Wifi Connection helper - Built in Windows + netgear versions are no good.
February 3, 2005 5:24 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a good Windows XP WiFi connection helper. The default Windows and NetGear ones are a bit crap. [mi]

Here's my situation: Two access points broadcast the same name ("Linksys"), but are on different channels are have different MAC addresses. One of them is great, the other one is extremely laggy (on the order of 1200-1800ms).

Because they have the same name, I can't tell them apart in the Windows XP utility.

The NetGear utility lets me tell the two connections apart (via MAC address) but for some reason likes the laggy connection better and, even when I expressly tell it not to, "helpfully" connects to me to the laggy one as much as possible.

Changing one of the broadcast names is not an option.

So, does anyone have a suggesstion for a connection utility that will allow me only to connect to a specific connection (and stay with that one no matter what!), based on MAC address?
posted by falconred to Technology (6 answers total)
It may not be exactly what you're looking for, but NetStumbler is pretty much an industry standard for WiFi network detection.

Oh, and it's free.
posted by purephase at 5:46 PM on February 3, 2005

So, you want to be able to pick the AP belonging to the neighbor with the best connection, eh? While it's a great tool, I don't think you can use NetStumbler to tell Windows to connect to a certain AP. One program that I think will work is wpa_upplicant, which is mainly for WPA, but can also be used to automatically connect to APs. Bad thing is that it as it ported from Linux, it isn't immediately obvious how to configure, and for now you have to compile it yourself. Consider it a last resort if someone else here can't come up with an easier tool.
posted by zsazsa at 6:22 PM on February 3, 2005

Okay, I'm dumb. There are Windows binaries.
posted by zsazsa at 6:23 PM on February 3, 2005

you should have a 'profile' tab on the Netgear configuration utility. If you do, connect to the proper access point and type a name in the box and click 'save'. I's using an MA521 on Windows 2000 so i can't say for sure that you'll have the same tabs on your particular model's utility but about every card i've encountered allows you to save one or multiple configurations to make it easier to switch between commonly used access points. Sadly, in my experience, many manufacturers have neglected to provide decent wireless configuration utilities for WinXP because one of the "features" of XP is an integrated wireless configuration 'tool'.
Another possibly less legal option would be to login to the presumably default configured laggy access point and enable MAC address filtering and deny the MAC address of your card. The AP will never respond to that card again (unless the owner resets it to defaults at some point ...)
good luck.
posted by skatz at 6:44 PM on February 3, 2005

Removing one network from your list of preferred networks from within XP isn't possible? You can't tell them apart by name, but you've got a 50/50 chance.

Also, entering incorrect WEP/WPA/SSID settings for the NetGear utility to force a failed connection?

Otherwise, if there's a piece of software to do what you want, I'd bet you'd find it on the forums.
posted by Jack Karaoke at 8:07 PM on February 3, 2005

Another possibly less legal option would be to login to the presumably default configured laggy access point and enable MAC address filtering and deny the MAC address of your card.

Yeah I'm not going there. Leeching free internet access is one thing, pwning someone's router is another.

Anyway, thanks everyone, I will hightail it to the netstumber site.
posted by falconred at 9:36 PM on February 3, 2005

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