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OT: Help! Wireless router problems


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At long last I have a DSL internet connection instead of stinky old dialup :)

So I have a nice new router which connects to the desktop via a LAN connection, and also has a Wi-Fi doodah built in so I can use the laptop.

All fine until I try and set the security - the desktop works fine and the laptop is happy connecting wirelessly with the network being unsecured.

But the moment I try to enable any of the security it goes into a massive sulk and won't work at all or even recognise the existence of the network. I did a bit of a Google but most of the guides say "different makes of router vary so refer to your instructions" which are almost non-existent with this one - the router is a ZyXEL Prestige 660HW-61.

I doubt whether there will be any likelihood of any of my immediate neighbours feeling the urge to spy on my communications, but I'd still rather it was secure... and nobody else could make use of my bandwidth!

I have tried using the same key in both computers to automatically generate the 128 bit WEP security key and I have even tried manually typing the key from the router in to the laptop but still no joy...

Any idea what I might be doing wrong please?

I also don't understand the difference between MAC address authentication and WPA/WPA-PSK is one better than the other or which one should I use?

If anybody knows of a step by step "idiots guide to wireless network setup" on the Web it would be gratefully received :rolleyes:

The desktop is running XP and the laptop is running XP SP2, it is a Toshiba E-quim (ooer) with built in 802.11g.



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I'm not a security expert but i'll try and answer this from my knowledge & experience:

Use WPA-PSK (Wi-Fi Protected Access Pre-Shared Key), it's more secure than WEP.

Set the wireless router to WPA-PSK security and think of a hard to guess password (the key) & type this in as the key.

Make sure 'broadcast SSID' is on and don't set MAC address filtering for the moment.

When your laptop finds the wireless network, it should attempt to connect and prompt you to enter the same key as you did on the wireless router. Make sure you type this in exactly the same and it should connect.

Some laptop wireless cards come with their own software which manages the wireless connections, if having trouble with this, try disabling it and using XP's built in wireless connection manager (To be honest I've had more success with XP's)

The MAC address is a globally unique hardware address (hexadecimal code) for every network device (e.g. network card), you can use this to help make your network more secure by only allowing the MAC addresses of devices you own to connect to your wireless network. Not 100% secure as MAC addresses can be spoofed so someone very determined could still get round this.

Hope this helps :)

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Thanks, I am getting somewhere now I think... :)

It now connects OK and if you delete the network from the list, detect it from scratch and try and connect with the wrong network key (i.e. pretending to be an intruder) it initially says "connected" but then chucks the laptop off and you get an error message saying unable to login to the network after about 30 sec or so, so I assume that is normal? Once you type in the proper network key it is fine, and connects normally and stays connected, have had it on for a couple of hours with no problems.

I had another odd problem though. It should connect at up to 54Mbit being 802.11g but just in the next room (15 feet away) it went right down to 2.0Mbit - could this be interference from another nearby network? No other wifi networks are detected by the laptop, but I changed the network channel in the router and it seems better now, usually 36-48MBit in the kitchen.

There is one really odd thing though ... I had to do a hardware reset on the router (it wouldn't let me in to the web config screen on the browser) and now all mention of WEP encryption has gone from all of the configuration screens. Does WPA also include encryption? The only things there now, seem to be the WPA-PSK and the MAC address filtering, so I'm still a bit puzzled why my encryption function has disappeared :wacko:

Thanks :)


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The frequency (or channel) you should use is generally about experimentation. Some frequencies will be absorbed by your walls better than others, so changing the channel might make the signal stronger further away.

Also any other wireless device, such as a DECT phone, or a analog wireless phone, or a microwave, or anything really, can be on the same frequency. Experimentation is the best way to find a clear channel. The channels overlap in frequency so go up in bands of three, then tweak!

MAC address filtering is not encryption. It is just limiting the router to only let in certain network cards connect. This should in theory stop all others using your connection even if you have no encryption, because no two network cards in the world should have the same MAC address. But as has been mentioned with a bit of know-how can fake a MAC address...

WPA and WEP are two differenent types of encryption. WPA is more secure as WEP can be cracked with enough time and patience and the right bit of software.

Hope this helps.


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Thanks :)

Got another bigger problem now though..... :unsure:

I have never used Windows Updates before, because on dialup it was way too expensive, but I thought I may as well do it now for the sake of security. So last night I left it going, should have been about 80-100MB download as the traffic monitor said 28MB total and Win Update said it had downloaded 30% when I went to bed, fine, so I thought...

Got up this morning (fortunately early) and the thing was going mad, the connection running at nearly full speed the updates were only 54% and I guess it's been doing that all night. I expect it will have wiped out the monthly "download cap" in one night, but the worst thing is that I stopped it, switched off auto updates, restarted the computer and the damn thing is still downloading "something" the whole time :angry::angry::angry: this can't go on as it will cost a fortune not to mention the fact that it will slow everything else down. If you block all traffic with Norton, nothing complains that it can't get a connection, but as soon as you allow traffic again, off it goes. I can't see any function on the Norton firewall that allows you to see what programs are sending and receiving data, which my old Kerio firewall used to allow.

I installed the full Norton Internet Security 2006 when I got DSL and the antivirus, firewall etc is all enabled on that so I shouldn't have a bug should I? At the moment I have blocked all traffic while I run a virus scan and am writing this on the laptop.

It also now tells me that support for XP SP1 ends on October 10 and that I should download SP2 - no way I am going to do this on this connection though!

I can see I am going to end up having to get hold of an SP2 CD and reinstall the whole damn thing from scratch to get rid of this problem, does anybody have any ideas that might allow me to spend some of the weekend on the forum instead of all bl&&&&y weekend trying to back all my stuff up and reinstall it....?

Is there a chance something nasty could have got in overnight? I know people moan about Norton hogging lots of system resources and I can live with that, but I thought it was pretty good at keeping unpleasant things out?

Land Rover content - all this cr*p is getting in the way of forum access and sorting out my LR photo collection on Photobucket :angry:


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I need some more advice please....

I dug out and reinstalled Kerio so I could monitor connections, and the process that is blitzing the bandwidth is called ccproxy.exe which according to Google appears to be part of Norton Internet Security 2006!

Surely this is wrong - it doesn't do this on NIS 2005 on this laptop? Why does it need to be running massive amounts of data transfer in the background when all the virus definitions and programs are up to date?

totally puzzled now and on the point of fist going through shiny new 19" tft screen <_<

does anybody have any ideas about what might be going on here .... ?


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If you have no problem moving large files from one computer to the other then you can download SP2 from your laptop and move it to your PC.

You do this by going here:


and finding the link that says 'download and deploy to multiple computers'

Note that its BIG, about 266 meg

Im baffeld as to why Norton is playing up.

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Thanks, I looked at that earlier but I'd rather reinstall from scratch if I am going to have to live with the hassle of doing it - I've seen microsoft's idea of an "update" before - I spent ages updating the PC at work and it totally buggered up everything with the auto updates, it wasted hours of my time and then in the end I had to reinstall absolutely everything from scratch anyway....

I've uninstalled Norton now and that is ok, that problem is gone (though now I have no virus protection at all but that is better than what was happening!) but now something called SVCHOST.EXE is downloading tonnes of stuff too - and that is supposedly part of Windows...

Stupid bl**dy thing I am going to go and dig my Amiga out of the loft soon and tell all PCs and Microsoft to **** off forever :angry:

Not a good start to the weekend!


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Might not be much help,

in the control panel for 'Windows updates' change it to 'notify me but don't download or install' my laptop is set up for this & only tells me when new updates are ready, you can choose when to download/install them.

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Cheers Ralph, I tried that too, put it to "do not update".

Well I have spent (wasted) 8 hours so far today and I am worse off than when I started. Reinstalled Windows and Norton (twice) and it now just doesn't work properly, half the time there is no web access, 10 times slower than it should be and the whole thing is just basically f***ed, takes a week to start up and keeps throwing up a message telling me to put in a CD for a program I have never heard of and definitely never owned....

No idea what is going on but it looks like I am going to have to buy a new computer as this one is f***ed, its the first time I have come across anything that isn't fixed by reinstalling windows so I guess something is knackered somewhere else, I give up :(

I guess tomorrow will be wasted trying to back up all my photos and things before it dies completely

I hate computers - I don't know why they can't just make one that WORKS!!!!

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and that landrovers were complicated.

anyone else managed to utilise oranges aquisition of wanadoo for the free broadband offer?! - its great

the difference is with a land rover that if something doesn't work you can find out what it is, smash it and fit a new one. I do this all the time. This is equivalent to having to smash the whole vehicle and then wait 3 months for a new one to arrive though, so that isn't much good...

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Try a Mac :D

Useful suggestions only please Mr 90 :P

It's sort of working again now but only at about 1/4 the speed it should be ... no idea why. I can see a full reinstall coming on but I need to get hold of a copy of SP2 first, not much point in doing all that work to end up back with SP1. Bang goes next weekend then ... I really must find some way of doing a "mirror" backup that can be reinstated at v short notice :(

Bluddy nuisance, these computers, its eating into LR time and I have already been away for nearly a month without any mud :angry:

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Full reinstall (clean, minus all the 'bonus' s/w) gets my vote. In your favour it sounds like you have reasonable h/w, much of mine won't run WPA (and some is even pre WEP!!!)

I'm being entertained here by a laptop that keeps downloading updates (which means svnhost or whatever hogging the cpu and bandwidth) and then failing to update due to a hard disk error... so it tries again, download,... and again,....

Don't ignore the Mac option. OK, I've had one taken out of action by the rabbit but the other has only been rebooted once since I acquired it (for a firmware upgrade) and happily runs both XP and Win2003 as virtual OS's at the same time.

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Yep I think that is the way it is heading and hope for the best.... I hate doing it because it is a pain in the butt and takes AGES to get everything back how you want it, and you ALWAYS forget to back up some little thing or other before formatting the hard drive - last time it was my bookmarks :(

The PC is ok spec-wise, P4 2.66GHz with 512MB of memory so I wasn't planning to replace it just yet...

The moral of the story ladies and gentlemen must be NEVER USE WINDOWS UPDATES for my money you are better off accepting the risk of something nasty getting into your computer than downloading something which will F*** it up for sure! I have used Windows automatic updates twice now - this time and once at work - and it has wrecked everything and eventually required a full reinstall on both occasions so I don't really see the point of having it :angry: I certainly won't use them ever again....

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never had any probs with Windows updates, I just don't let it download/install when I'm not sat by the PC. also I've ditched Norton2005 & changed to PC Tools anti virus & Spyware Doctor, pc runs much better & the new ones are very easy to set-up/use.

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Once I'd got over the mental block of 'do I trust Microsoft', and realised that I had no option but to trust their update service. If I didn't I had to go another route, say Mac. This wasn't viable in my case.

If you really aren't going to accept MS Updates then you are leaving yourself wide open to another kick in the balls.

I've haven't used Norton stuff for years. Currently I run McAffee Virusscan 7, although I'll be updating to 8 soon, hopefully within the month.

When I installed SP2 I was fortunate to get a magazine cover disk.

For MS Updates, I also choose the middle course of 'download and advise me', mainly so I could time the installations when I wasn't busy.

It is true that sometimes, and this is more common if the PC is out of date, installing one set of updates reveals more that needs doing, so more updates are downloaded and need to be installed. This merely re-inforces the view that it is better to keep on top of the situation by accepting every update MS sends. They aren''t doing it to tiddle you off.

You very first recovery option is to look in Help and Support to see if you have a System Restore point from before you started your downloads. If so, use it. If the PC now seems to be running OK, set a new Restore Point. As I suspect this will be with your Norton installation you may want to take that out. Create another Restore Point. Reinstall your preferred protection system. Set another restore point. Get an SP2 CD, someone, even me, will snail mail you a copy if required.

Then sign up for Update download but not install, go to the MS site and have their system check yours, installing what they suggest, although I'd never leave the PC running overnight, just have something else to do.

Initially, always set Restore Points before making any changes. As your confidence returns you can ease off on the Restore Points. When the system appears stable and satisfactory, use the Disk Clean-up Advanced option to remove all restore points but the last one. This gets you some of your harddisk space back.

If you aren't happy with that recovery system, then I'd say the next option is to insert your Windows XP CD and select install. During this it will recognise that an installation exists, and one of the options is to 'repair' that installation, maintaining your settings.

If neither suggestion appeals, or works, the next is not a new PC, but to buy a new hard drive. Boot from the XP CD and do a virgin installation. You are aware of the disadvatages, that is why this is the last suggestion. Also buy an external case that will take your existing hard drive so that when the time comes you can copy back the personal files.

For a slow PC, don't forget to run CHKDSK from the Command Line, and don't forget that Defrag does help, even on a modern machine.


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Thanks David.

My pessismism stems from having used it twice and seen it F up the computer both times... both of which has caused much more inconvenience and work than any virus I have ever had in the 23 years since I got my first computer, I have had a few viruses but never found it any problem getting rid of them. Until I found Windows Updates the only thing that had ever necessitated a complete reinstall was just when things got slow and messy through too much chopping and changing of installed software, in my experience there comes a point with every version of Windows back to 3.1 - usually about every 2 years - when you just need to go "aaaagh" and bite the bullet and wipe the slate clean :) but it is always a job you can plan for a rainy weekend rather than having it dumped on you.

I unfortunately had System Restore switched off, because I had a problem with it once (I had a virus and it kept trying to restore the virus!!) and never switched it back on.

I also have a program called Norton Goback and another called Norton Ghost which came as a special "PC World Norton offer" with NIS, does anybody know if these are any good? (I haven't installed them yet) one is backup and one is an alternative to System Restore.

Thanks for the offer but I should be able to get SP2 here thanks, ideally I want to find a late version of windows with it already built in to the installation, like my laptop has on it (unfortunately only has it as a "Toshiba recovery CD" so no use to me) - the bloke who I think I can probably get it from is away till Monday. New HD had crossed my mind as the one I have is over half full and I have just bought a 9MP digital camera which churns out 4.5MB images :unsure:

The other problem with the updates is simply size - I may have DSL now but it is not very generous compared to what you would get in the UK and the unsuccessful update burnt up half my monthly data transfer allowance, which completely p****ed me off as it was all for nothing. I did have it set to "download and notify" ... I thought that would be "safer" (ha ha) and it was once I set it going that it wrecked everything :angry:

Some days I am afraid I think MS do everything to p*** me off :)

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"I unfortunately had System Restore switched off, because I had a problem with it once (I had a virus and it kept trying to restore the virus!!) and never switched it back on."

The way to deal with this is to switch System Restore off, then reboot the PC. When it restarts it will loose all the restore points, thus won't try to re-install your virus. After starting, switch System Restore back on and create a Restore Point.


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