To Zero Or Not To Zero?

- that is the question.

I have installed a Range Expander (Linksys WRE54G) in my WLAN in order to get coverage into my "sunroom" - an extension to the back of my house. The signal from my WRT54G Access Point in my office is partially blocked due to the brick exterior house wall and the aluminum siding of the extension. I am trying to link to the AP from a Windows XP SP2 laptop equipped with a Linksys WPC54G CardBus adapter. The laptop's adapter came with the Linksys WLAN Monitor software which displays the relative power and MAC addresses of the SSID's it can "see".

I THINK I finally got the WRE correctly set up. It's a version 1 expander, and I had to upgrade its firmware to 1.06. I also had to upgrade the WRT v5 to firmware 1.00.6. After the upgrades and four or five fairly useless live chat sessions with Linksys techies, I FINALLY got the Setup Wizard for the WRE to run all the way to the "Congratulations!" screen.

So, I now have the WRE running with two blue lights (link and activity lights), and placed in my sunroom so I get a good signal there, and I can connect to it and the internet. The WRE is set up with its default IP address. I have disabled WEP temporarily until I get the basic setup correct. The WRE has "copied" the SSID of the WRT AP.

Now that I have painted the background, on to the question:

Should I use Windows XP's Wireless Zero Configuration service on my laptop/WPC, or not?

The default for XP is to have the WZC service start automatically, and for the WPC adapter to have the "Enable XP Zero Config" checkbox selected.

With this arrangement, I note the following behaviour on my laptop:

I carry the laptop to the living room of my house. The AP signal is stronger, but the WRE signal is 50% or better, as displayed in the WLAN Monitor. When I "Display Available Networks", XP shows only "Connected", with no details of which MAC address is providing the connection. But the WLAN Monitor assures me I am connected to the WRT.

Now I carry the laptop to the sunroom, where the late afternoon winter sun is streaming in. Keeping my eye on the WLAN Monitor, I see the signal from the WRT gradually drop. But then, Lo! and behold, the monitor shows that the MAC address has changed and the signal is booming! The WRE has taken over the role of the AP. I THINK this is the way it should work.

If I deselect the "Enable XP Zero Config" checkbox, but leave the WZC service running, the switch to the best available signal no longer happens automatically, but the WLAN Monitor tool allows me to switch over manually.

Third variation: If I turn OFF WZC altogether and leave the "Enable XP Zero Config" checkbox unchecked, the WLAN Monitor software appears to make the switch to the best signal automatically!

So, with my setup as described, what are the advantages and disadvantages of running the Windows Wireless Zero Config service?

None of the above is covered in the Linksys documentation, and the Linksys live chat techies don't seem to grasp my situation.

And a second question, does the above behaviour and setup of the WRE appear "normal"? I HATE to have to rely on the Wizard to optimize my repeater setup!

- Jeff Schallenberg Saint Lambert, Qu=E9bec

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Pick either of the two options you list above that works for moving the computer around. There is no real downside to either one. You likely will want the WZC running when you come to Myrtle Beach this spring (Can-AM week) in the hotel as IMO this makes logging into the hotel network easier same would apply to coffee at Starbucks. At home, which do you prefer, go with it. Again no real downside. to leaving WZC on or disabled.

fundamentalism, fundamentally wrong.

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