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Having some trouble with networking - advice needed

Discussion in 'Networking & Security' started by t_ski, Dec 17, 2007.

  1. t_ski

    t_ski Former Staff

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    It never fails: I always seem to come up with some kind of problem no one has ever seen before, nor have any idea how to fix. However, with my desparation (ie: the wife is very pissed @ me right now), I figured I'd put our new Networking forum to the test and see if you guys can figure this one out. Let's start at the beginning...

    I have one PC running Windows XP Pro SP2 (the one in my sig & System Profile) which is wired into a DSL modem/gateway/router/WAP. I also have two laptops with b/g Broadcom cards preinstalled (with no PCMCIA slots available to use). I previously had the network running smoothly, sharing files on each machine as well as a printer connected to the main PC. For security, I was using 128-bit WEP. After taking several classes dealing with wireless and security, I felt WEP was no longer a wise choice, and wanted to switch to WPA-PSK.

    At first, I was able to get WPA-PSK configured and working, but my wife's laptop kept getting the "Limited connection or no availability" warning whenever she booted the laptop. Every single time she turned it on, she would have to go in and "repair" the connection for it to work. It seemed as though this may have something to do with DHCP, as the error occurred with the laptop's IP address being outside the pool. I tried to assign a static IP address, and that worked everytime i rebooted. However, the first time it powered down completely and then back up, the error was back.

    In the process of trying to figure this out, I realized that the machines were no longer connecting to each other, although the laptops could still access the internet just fine. I talked with two of my teachers, who gave me the standard line about updating drivers and firmware. I updated the drivers on the wife's laptop, as well as the HP Wireless Assistant. I also updated the firmware on my DSL modem to the latest one available. Unfortunately, nothing is working. The firmware update may have even caused more issues, because I can't even get back to WEP.

    Things I have tried:

    Reset the DSL modem - no change
    Made sure the computers were in the same network - MSHOME
    Tried renaming the network to HomeNetwork - no change
    Pinged the main PC's loopback address - works
    Pinged the main PC's IP address (192.168.1.35) - works
    Pinged the laptop's IP address (192.168.1.33) from the main PC - times out (as it should if it is not finding anything in Network Places anyway)
    Pinged the laptop's loopback address - works
    Pinged the laptop's IP address - works
    Pinged the main PC's IP address from the laptop - times out (as it should if it is not finding anything in Network Places anyway)
    Ran Window's Network Connection Wizard - no change
    Ran Window's Wireless Network Connection Wizard - no change

    Probably tried a few other things too, but I can't remember them offhand. I'll add them as I remember them.

    Anybody have any suggestions?
    Crunching for Team TPU
  2. DaMulta

    DaMulta My stars went supernova

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    Install IPX and see what happens.
  3. t_ski

    t_ski Former Staff

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    Why do you suggest that? IPX is necessary for (older) Netware systems, but not really for MS or most other current OSs.
    Crunching for Team TPU
  4. DaMulta

    DaMulta My stars went supernova

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    That's what I always do when windows gives me a fit with a network.

    It seems to fix all of those mind headache problems that pleage windows from time to time(Without reinstalling).






    It's funny my dads a network engineer for BP and I still get confused with network systems.
  5. t_ski

    t_ski Former Staff

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    Yeah, well I'm a second year student in a NetAdmin program and have CompTIA Network+ certification, and this baffles me.
    Crunching for Team TPU
  6. DaMulta

    DaMulta My stars went supernova

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    try the ipx just to see what it does.
  7. t_ski

    t_ski Former Staff

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    OK, I installed it on one laptop and the main PC, but it made no difference.
    Crunching for Team TPU
  8. DaMulta

    DaMulta My stars went supernova

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    last resort didn't help.....

    did you reset your router?


    Start with the basics check the wires.
  9. wiak

    wiak

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    firewall on laptop?
  10. t_ski

    t_ski Former Staff

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    Yes, I did reset the router (several times actually). As for wires, the main PC connects to the internet through the DSL modem/router just fine, so the cable should not be faulty. As for the laptop, its connection is wireless, so there are no wires to check :slap:

    However, your suggestion did give me an idea. I connected the laptop to the switch directly with a cable, and disabled the wireless connection. I'm getting an error that says "network is not accessible. You may not have permission to use this network source... (yada-yada-yada)... The list of servers for this workgroup is not currently available."

    @ wiak - I have McAfee's firewall on the laptop, the same as it always was. I had it on the PC, too, but the subscription for the Internet Security Suite expired, so I uninstalled it, set up XP's standard firewall on the PC, and have installed Avast for anti-virus. I can try XP's firewall on the laptop, too.
    Crunching for Team TPU
  11. DaMulta

    DaMulta My stars went supernova

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    Are you on DSL? Does your DLS modem have it's own IP address?(Which shouldn't matter)
    But d(ame it sliped my mind on what it was) at work we had DSL for 2 weeks and they where using this old old system that messed with ours.(But I think it was the incomming FTP and so on)it was a few months ago.

    ----

    Do you have a crossover cable to try one computer to another.

    Has the internet been working?
  12. t_ski

    t_ski Former Staff

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    Yes, I'm on DSL. The router's IP address is 192.168.1.1. It's also the default gateway and DNS server by default.

    I just uninstalled McAfee and restored the Window's firewall. Still not working. I have a crossover cable I could try...
    Crunching for Team TPU
  13. Namslas90 New Member

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    Try removing XP Hotfix Q815485 as it tends to corrupt wireless network adaptor software.

    Goto Add/remove programs and check box to "show updates" then remove. If it doesn't solve the problem you can always just go back to Windows updates and reload it.

    :toast:
  14. t_ski

    t_ski Former Staff

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    OK, I installed the crossover cable and it still would not work. Then I turned off the Windows firewall on the laptop and then it found the PC. :banghead::banghead::banghead:

    Now how do I set the firewall to allow the PC to connect to the laptop?
    Crunching for Team TPU
  15. t_ski

    t_ski Former Staff

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    Didn't see that one loaded, but they did have a roll-out that was supposed to fix some of those issues:

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/826942/
    Crunching for Team TPU
  16. lemonadesoda

    lemonadesoda

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    THIS IS A VERY COMMON PROBLEM WITH WIRELESS IN YOUR NETWORK.

    Q: What's causing the problem?
    A: After time the router gets difficult maining or issuing new DHCP over wireless, or WPA-SK over wireless. There can also be IP conflicts where more than one device is given the same address and it brings the whole router down. Nothing other than a full network reboot can solve it. Also make sure there arent any devices with "persistant" IP addresses. An unexpected router table might be overriding DHCP.

    Your options are as follows:

    1./ Do-it-all routers are fine in concept... but a more robust approach is to use a router SEPARATE from your wireless access point SEPARATE from your modem. It means more equipment and more power sockets.... yes I hate that too... but so often these consumer all-in-ones are less than reliable. (Its as much a software and memory management issue as hardware issue on the device).

    2./ Put one of those "timer controllers" between the wall socket and the power supply on your router and/or access point so that it gets a "hard reset" in the middle of the night every day, e.g. 3am-3:05 am.

    3./ Switch to WEP. Slightly less secure but also less complicated for your router/access point. PS. There are many enterprise wireless devices with ONLY work on WEP for certain functions, e.g. LAN bridging.

    4./ Set up an IP address table for your LAN. Put, e.g. your fixed infrastructure e.g. routers and printers in the range x.x.x.1 to x.x.x.99. Put your wired PCs on DHCP in the range x.x.x.100 to x.x.x.199 and but your wireless devices on FIXED in the range x.x.x.200 to x.x.x.255

    Repeat: DHCP can fail over wireless when the router is on >24hrs. I know this sounds odd... but sharing from community experience.
  17. lemonadesoda

    lemonadesoda

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    NOTE: Some people have solved similar issues just installing the "clunky fix" #2

    I fixed the issue by implementing #1, #3, #4. (Didnt need to do #2)
  18. t_ski

    t_ski Former Staff

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    The dsl modem/router has a static IP address of 192.168.1.1. The PC and the laptops use DHCP and pull from the pool of 192.168.1.33 to 192.168.1.64. However, the machines always pull the same IP address, even if the leases expire. I have never had any kind of issue with DHCP failing in the past two+ years of using this setup.

    Do you have any links to the info you posted? I'd be interested in checking them out - I'm reading everything I can on the subject right now.

    However, I do think this has a lot to do with the Windows firewall at the moment. After I was able to get the two to connect with a crossover cable and disabling the XP firewall, it seems to make sense. I'm trying to find some links on setting the firewall to allow each other machine, but I'm not having much luck finding that exact topic. :( Anybody have any links for that?
    Crunching for Team TPU
  19. t_ski

    t_ski Former Staff

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    I forgot to mention, I looked in the firewall exceptions and File and Print sharing is allowed (box is checked).
    Crunching for Team TPU
  20. pt

    pt not a suicide-bomber

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    get back to wep, and use a mac adress filter on the router
    or just don't use the wep at all, and just the mac, unless you got a 1337 hacker has a neighbour it will be fine
  21. t_ski

    t_ski Former Staff

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    That still doesn't help me with the firewall, and does nothing to make sure that private health information doesn't get lost. My wife works for a very big insurance company - if she's working on some insurance policies with your PHI on there, do you want to risk it being stolen? We can't afford the legal bills if it does. :(
    Crunching for Team TPU
  22. lemonadesoda

    lemonadesoda

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    Quite simply, WTF is she doing with other people's PHI in your home? That should be on a secure locked down corporate server. What's the name of the insurance company she is working with. I think you have whistleblower protection here... NAME AND SHAME


    P.S. 2 people have independently told you to try a different wireless solution. I think you should try their advice.
  23. pt

    pt not a suicide-bomber

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    i have to agree with lemonadesoda here, as far as i can see she shouldn't work with these at home
  24. t_ski

    t_ski Former Staff

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    Um, she is allowed to do that. She holds the second highest position in the office, and sometimes needs to bring her laptop home (the same one that docks on her desk). Usually there isn't anything to worry about, but if someone emails her a question about a claim or something, then it could be there. However, she is extremely aware of HIPPA regularions and such more than any of you might be, and she can handle herself in an extremely professional manner. None of this is the point. Besides, she only connects through a VPN, and never through the wireless. It's mearly an afterthought at this point.

    If, in the end I need to do that, I may, but for right now I'd like to see if I can work with what I have. It's actually a high-end DSL modem/router and I think I can make it do what I need to.
    Crunching for Team TPU
  25. lemonadesoda

    lemonadesoda

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    That kind of arrogance wont get you far here mate. If your wife is such a shit hot corporate jetsetter then get her to call her IT department to come round to her house and fix what her husband cant solve. Stop trying to solve everything on a shoestring. We are talking serious security issues and serious liability risk. Your IP has been noted and sent to the NAIC.:shadedshu

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