I've just finished successfully (more or less) deploying a Linksys "Wireless-G Network Kit for Notebooks" (WKPC54G), consisting of a WRT54G broadband router/WAP and a WPC54G (ver 4) PCMCIA wireless adapter. I thought I'd share my experience, and perhaps see if others may have run into what I have. WRT54G Router is running firmware ver 1.55.02; Win2K SP/4 client is running driver 184.108.40.2064. Both these versions are most recent available on Linksys support web site.
- Linksys tech support VERY disappointing & frustrating
First, it took me the better part of a week to finally get this installation stable and functional. Linksys support was bad, to be kind.
The Linksys knowledge base was virtually useless; it appeared that only the simplest of 'how do I connect...' sorts of issues were present. There didn't seem to be any tecnical depth to the content.
I attempted their on-line, interactive help, and after leaving the 'someone will be with you shortly' dialog box up and open for 6+ hours, no one ever responded.
I then tried email support, which was promised for 24 hour response, and didn't get anything back for more than 36 hours. The response was useless - paraphrasing: "Gee, you've done everthing I can think of; better call someone for phone support."
Finally, I did use phone support, and it was not helpful. In fact, significant pieces of the support information offered turned out to be simply mistaken.
Most disappointing for what I believed a premium priced product from a reputable (Cisco-owned) networking equipment company would offer. Ultimately I figured out how to make this stuff work through many hours of experimentation. It just should not have been this difficult to make this work. I work with networking for a living; I can only imagine what a nightmare this would be for someone lacking networking knowledge and skills.
- Can't disable SSID when using DHCP address assignment.
Being security conscious, it made sense to me not to broadcast my SSID. I quickly discovered what I subsequently found to be reported elsewhere - that disabling the SSID broadcast resulted in my clients not being able to connect to the router. Experimentation revealed that enabling SSID broadcast allowed clients to connect, with no changes whatever to the client wireless access connection profile.
- WEP vs WAP
Again, being security conscious, I wanted to use WAP instead of WEP for encryption. After much teeth gnashing and hair pulling (and I don't have much hair left to pull, either!), I discovered that my son's HP Pavilion laptop with built-in Broadcom wireless adapter and running WinXP/SP2 would continuously disconnect/re-connect when the router and client were configured for WAP.
Furthermore this behavior appeared to cause significant disruption in the router, because two other connected clients (another wireless client and a cat 5 copper connected client) were also continuously getting their network connections dropped and re-connected. This behavior essentially made the network useless.
After experimentation, I discovered that my Win2K/SP4-based laptop with the Linksys WPC54G adapter, using the Linksys-provided WLAN Monitor application, could be successfully configured for and connected using WAP. However, the minute I configured and activated my son's HP Pavilion wireless connection for WAP the above described behavior started.
Reconfiguring the router and all wireless clients for 128 bit WEP eliminated the dropping connectivty problem. But I'm not very happy about being forced to used the significantly less secure WEP encryption.
- Continuous stream of 'detected ... network adapter ... connected' events
On three different wirelss network/system configurations (Dell Inspiron laptop running WinXP/SP2 with WPC54G adapter communicating with WAP54G wireless access point; HP Pavilion laptop with Broadcom wireless adapter communicating with WRT54G broadband route/WAP; and Twinhead Slimnote laptop running Win2K/SP4 with WPC54G adapter communicating with WRT54G broadband route/WAP) I get a steady stream of events logged into my Windows system events log - event logged is "The system detected that network adapter was connected to the network, and has initiated normal operation over the network adapter."
These events get logged at seemingly somewhat random intervals - anywhere from less than a minute to several minutes. While connectivty appears to be fine, these events clutter and eventually fill the system event log.
Since I see this behavior on such a diverse range of configurations, I'm guessing that this is occuring for others as well. Is this so? If so, anybody figure out how to stop this somewhat annoying behvior?
So that's my story of being on boundaries of the wireless frontier. Slick technology, but my Linksys deployement experience was less than exemplary. I do wonder if any of the other vendors (Netgear, D-Link, et. al.) do a better job of any of this?
Regards, John Fishbeck