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 my21 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.