I get an amazing range of problems that I just cannot fix over the phone.
One customer wanted me to help get their laptop to use the wireless router… They already had another laptop that was connected wirelessly, so a second one should be easy.
Well, Once I get him to connect to the router vie IE, I quickly find thet they are using WEP. Given that I’m a lot more familiar with WPA-PSK, and WEP is a lot more “hackable” than WPA, and WPA allows for “friendly” passwords, then I got him to change the router encryption to WPA-PSK.
But it still wouldn’t work.
I tried changing between AES and TKIP, but that still didn’t make a difference.
The second laptop actually started working after a reboot, but not the first laptop… now this should have been a clue to what the problem was.
Anyway, I arrange to go out and take a look first-hand.
After a while, I eventually find the cause: somebody had enabled the routers MAC access control… so only computers with pre-allowed network card IDs are allowed to connect.
I’ve long since given up enabling MAC access control, since its barely a speed hump to a real hacker, whereas good WPA security (with a 20+ character password) is much more secure.
So the moral of the story is: don’t enable MAC access control on wireless routers (use WPA instead).