The wifi trouble

Jun 01, 2006

Wifi is supposed to be easy, yes? All the standards play nicely with each other and bla bla bla... oh well. In reality, sometimes things just don't work.

At home, I have...

  • DI-614+ Wireless Broadband Router from D-Link
  • in my desktop, SMC2402W wireless PCI card from SMC
  • in my laptop, until recently, the IBM T41 built-in wireless. But since it kinda broke down recently and didn't really work, it now has "Linksys Dual-Band Wireless A+G Notebook Adapter ver 1.2", which is a PC Card type adapter, obviously from Linksys

Now… when I got this place, I didn't really install any Ethernet cabling because I thought I'd just get wireless and have the Internet fly in radio waves all over the place and lock it down securely and be very happy. HA! The apparatus thinks different obviously.

The most retarded thing in this config is that the SMC card can't do WPA -- it only knows WEP. How silly is that. We know WEP can be broken so it's kinda useless for security. But better than nothing I guess. So, I had to bite the bullet, say bye to the proper WPA security and resort to WEP.

Now… enter the Linksys card. This thing just doesn't play WEP with the D-Link router!!!! damit. You try to make it connect over WEP and nada. It just ignores you. It has its own agenda. It must be some sort of incompatibility with the D-Link thing because at some other locations, it plays nicely with Linksys routers over WEP.

But it does WPA nicely. So, basically, I'm screwed if I want wifi security, because if I use WEP, only the desktop works, and if I use WPA, only the laptop works. That is quite retarded.

Since I figured that I still want to keep both computers without switching the config over all the time, I went "screw it", turned off encryption altogether and turned on MAC filtering instead, and whitelisted these two guys. Now they say that MAC security really isn't that great either and as I've understood about wifi security, the only secure thing these days is WPA.

So next up on the agenda: since the desktop has tons of unused USB ports, throw out that SMC crap and go get an el cheapo USB wifi adapter that can talk WPA, and switch over to proper security once and for all.

Oh and next up #2: maybe get a FON Router instead of this D-Link. They're running a promo until June 1 (tomorrow) where you can get the router for just 19 €. I was about to buy it when I saw that shipping cost to Estonia would be 38 €, so twice the price of the thing itself. Goddamn. This turned me off a bit and I'm now sitting recovering from the shock. Still not sure what the cable operator would think of it -- probably would not be too excited about it, but then again, they have no way to find out either.

UPDATE: spent 40 € and got "LevelOne WNC-0302USB 108Mbps Wireless USB Adapter" that goes into USB port. Supports WPA fine and reception seems to be more stable too, so all fine now. Why oh why didn't I just get a USB wifi adapter in the first place and had this idea that I need a PCI card. Oh well.