Damn thing won't acquire network address
August 5, 2007 1:55 PM   Subscribe

Help my XP running lap top get unstuck while connecting to my WAP secured wireless network.

I just setup a a secured wireless network from my cable modem. The settings are:

Encryption: WPA
WPA Cipher Suite: TKIP.

My new laptop which runs Vista and my Mac Mini both connect no problem. However, my old laptop which runs XP (Thinkpad T23) with an external Linksys 2.4 GHZ Wireless-G (WPC54G) notebook adapter gets stuck while trying to connect to the network. It recognizes the network fine. It prompts me for the passkey, I enter it, and then it gets stuck on "Status: Acquiring Network Address". It stays stuck there indefinitely (currently 18 minutes and counting).

When the network was unsecured using the same router and wireless card, it connected just fine. I had this same problem a while back while attempting to connect to a friend's secured network.

Please, somebody, help me. This is driving me nuts.
posted by Dr. Lurker to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
Sounds like the drivers for your wireless card might be out of date.
posted by rancidchickn at 2:02 PM on August 5, 2007

There could be a number of things going wrong with the WPA negotiation, the most common being that your laptop isn't supplying the right cipher phrase, or that it is trying to operate with 64 bit WPA when your router is offering 128 bit, or vice versa. If you're using the Linksys connection utility, it will pay to go over your passphrase settings, substituting underscores for any spaces, and sticking to 7 bit ASCII characters (alphanumeric characters only). If you have a choice in the router to use WPA2, use that instead of WPA, with a 128 bit key. You may need to do a firmware update on the router to get WPA2. And be sure you're using the latest driver for your WPC54G.

To see exactly what is happening, you may want to download and install Ethereal on that laptop, and get a trace of the negotiation. You could then inspect the traffic to and from the laptop to see exactly where the problem is occurring.
posted by paulsc at 2:11 PM on August 5, 2007

Is there such a thing as 64 bit WPA?

I'd do this in order:

1. Update driver on laptop.

2. Update firmware on router.

3. Select different channel on router. (1 , 6 , 11 are non-overlapping channels )

4. Try a different wireless maanger on laptop. (use the MS one if you are using the linksys one )

I wouldnt try switching to wpa2 or AES or anything just yet. Stick with WPA/TKIP because pretty much everything supports it. If you get everything working again then you might want to consider moving to WPA2 or WPA/AES.

Good luck!
posted by damn dirty ape at 2:35 PM on August 5, 2007

"Is there such a thing as 64 bit WPA?..."

Good point, dda. No, there isn't. WPA will begin with a 256 bit key, created either from a key phrase of sufficient length, or in the case of shorter key phrase, by a hash function.
posted by paulsc at 2:54 PM on August 5, 2007

Are you running XP SP2 or SP1? This Microsoft support document suggests that you either need SP2 or to install the WPA client on an SP1 machine.
posted by found dog one eye at 5:26 PM on August 5, 2007

Well, I updated the drivers for the wireless card and that didn't work and then it made the laptop freeze so I rolled them back to the old drivers. I followed dda's steps and no luck. I installed Ethereal as paulsc suggested, but I don't think I'm computer savvy enough to know what to do with it. Also, I checked and I do have XP SP2. Now what?
posted by Dr. Lurker at 5:58 PM on August 5, 2007

Never mind, I installed the wrong driver. To anyone who may be looking at this in the future, be sure to install the driver manually, don't use the automatic update feature as it installed the latest driver, which wasn't compatible with my card. Problem solved, connected to network now. Thanks for your help, everybody. Yay Ask MeFi!
posted by Dr. Lurker at 6:32 PM on August 5, 2007

Windows Updates for drivers have about a 50% chance of breaking something, and about a 20% chance of actually improving anything, in my somewhat bitter experience.
posted by flabdablet at 4:36 AM on August 6, 2007

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