Hi, I�m Molly Wood from CNET, here with some advanced WiFi troubleshooting tips that I hope
can help you out of a wireless jam.
Wireless networking is still ridiculously hard, and trying to figure out what�s wrong in the mess of
b, g, n, 2.4 gigahertz, channels, power output settings, WEP and WPA can make you want to kill
someone. Hopefully, ONE of these tips can help you out when you just can�t connect.
First, let�s find out what�s going with Windows. Can you actually see any hotspots? If not, your
wireless adapter software might be getting in the way. In Windows XP and above, you want to
make sure the Wireless Zero Configuration service is running, and that Windows is set to
manage your wireless networking.
First, right-click the My Computer icon on your desktop and choose Manage. Expand the
Services and Applications menu and click Services. Scroll all the way down to Wireless Zero
Configuration. Make sure it�s started, and set to automatic. If it isn�t started, click Start, and then
double-click the listing, here. Under startup type, select Automatic, and click ok. Now, go to My
Network Places and click View Network Connections. Right-click the wireless network
connection and click the wireless networks tab. Check the box next to, Use Windows to
configure my wireless network settings. You should see the pop-up that says wireless networks
are detected, and you should be able to click one and connect normally.
Now, let�s say you can see the wireless networks, but you can�t connect. Sometimes XP has
problems with connecting to networks that are protected with WEP. Try manually adding the
hotspot and typing in the WEP key. In the same network connections dialog as before, right-click
the wireless connection, choose Properties, and click the Wireless Networks tab. Click Add and
type in the SSID, that�s the name of the network you want to connect to. Then, choose the
authentication type, uncheck the box next to, �The key is provided for me automatically,� and
type in the WEP key that came with your router or that you set up when you configured your
WEP could be your problem across the board. Let�s say you have an error that says you have
Limited or no Connectivity, even if you have an excellent connection to the wireless network.
That could be your router having a problem with WEP security. Plus, WEP doesn�t always work
with Windows Vista � and it�s not as secure as WPA, and it doesn�t always work with Windows
Vista, so it might be time to upgrade, assuming all the computers and wireless bridges on your
network can support WPA or WPA2. Note that there are several varieties of WPA and WPA2
security; it shouldn�t matter what you choose, as long as all the devices on your network can
support them, but if you run into trouble, try Googling the specific device that�s malfunctioning
and something like, �WPA problems.� For example, Windows Vista doesn�t always play nice with
WPA and you may need to turn off IPv6 support. You know, little stuff like that.
See, remember, these are just a few of the million or so troubleshooting options out there. But if
you try these and EVERYTHING else, you might have to do what I recently did: buy a new
router. These house routers you get from your cable or DSL company are notoriously flaky.
Check CNET�s reviews for the latest recommendations � I recommend a dual-band router if you
have a lot of 2.4 gigahertz interference, like this Linksys WRT610N.
And if NONE of that works, just pray to the WiFi gods. They�re fickle, fickle creatures.
For CNET.com How To, I�m Molly Wood, and � good luck.