wireless internet connection properties

Hello everyone,

I have recently installed a small wireless home network for my pc, printer and laptop. Surprisingly it was easier than I thought to install everything and it all works. However, due to my inexperience and lack of knowledge I have a few questions about the way windows handles wireless networks.

For info, I have a Topcom SKYR@CER WBR 7121gmr NAS router with built in print server and USB ports. I read on the internet that WPA2 security is best so I set my router's browser page to WPA2-PSK with AES encryption and broadcast SSID is disabled. Correct me if I'm wrong but I used these settings since from what I have read this seems to be the most secure. Additionally, in my router's browser page I entered a 21 character long pre shared key for logging onto the wireless network.

Today for some reason or another I could not connect wirelessly and here's what I did:

- my router's SSID was NOT in the list of available networks, not even after clicking refresh link. This, I figured, is due to the fact that I have broadcast SSID DISABLED which makes my SSID invisible to everyone.

- In "wireless network connection properties" I noticed that under "network key" there are 8 dots iso the 21 characters I use to login. So I entered here my 21 characters long pre shared key twice to confirm and then clicked ok twice to close and save menus.

- Now apparently I was connected. In the list of available wireless networks my SSID was still not visible though. So I clicked refresh and there it was, with a note saying I was connected.

- Now, just to check, I went back to "wireless network connection properties" and noticed that the network key box still contained 8 dots iso 21 which I do not understand. Even more, when I click disconnect and confirm with "yes" and then click connect, a window popped up giving 2 boxes with each 8 dots. I tested that I can connect again just by clicking ok (8 dots in the box) and also by entering my

21 character long key which I do not understand either. When I enter a wrong key however it did not connect as I anticipated.


- So what explains the 8 dots in the network key box iso the 21 characters I use to connect?

- Could it be that if you have broadcast ssid disabled that you need to have "connect when this network is in range" enabled? I noticed that when I uncheck the box, I am disconnected from the network and when I check it on again, I am reconnected. I also noticed that when I click the disconnect button in the list of wireless networks, that the "connect when this network is in range" box is unchecked automatically until I am reconnected.

- In my router's browser page I also tried the setting WPA2 mixed and noticed that this works too. Is mixed better than TKIP or AES? It sounds better to me since it uses a mix of 2 different encryption methods, correct me if I'm wrong though.

Thanks all for your help.


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Its normal password security - if it showed 21, anyone would know your password was 21 characters long. By always showing eight dots the true length is unknown.

You need this enabled whether or not you have SSID hiding turned on. Otherwise you will never connect to your network!

By the way SSID hiding isn't affecting anything except the list of available networks you see in the network browser. Its not a security feature.

The box is labelled "connect... when in range" - so of course unticking it means "do not connect... when in range"... :-)

If the box didn't untick then the PC would be compelled to immediately try to reconnect - but you just told it to disconnect.... so it is obeying your instructions.

No, its technically worse.

Thats not what it means. It means "be backwards compatible with the older and less secure WPA standard".

You should STFW for some of this information.

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Mark McIntyre

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