Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Wireless Security

Sometimes it seems like I go out of my way to make things hard for myself!

I got home from work to find a note from Shelley that her laptop wireless wasn't working. Oh yeah, I hadn't got it working with the new Time Capsule.

I run the Airport Utility, change the Wireless Security to WEP, and try to set the password to what I was using previously (so I didn't have to mess with the laptops or other devices).

Nope, it will only take an exactly 13 character password. Okay, I make up a new password and go to connect Shelley's Windows laptop. But it won't work. I mess around with the settings, stupidly failing to record the original settings. No luck.

I search on the internet. Some people say that on Windows you have to use the hex version of the password (you get that from the AirPort Utility from Equivalent Network Password on the Base Station menu). I type in a 26 character hex password multiple times. No luck.

More digging reveals that this is 128 bit WEP. (More or less. It's also Transitional Network Security that is also WPA compatible. Whatever that means.) The older 40 bit WEP that I was using previously is actually available - you just have to turn off the new 802.11n :-( and then hold down the option key while you pull down the Radio Mode list. (how could I have missed that!)

Now I can enter the old 10 digit hex password (with a dollar sign). And now the Windows laptop connects.

I pull out the Chumby to make sure it can still connect. It can, but in the process I find that it does handle WPA! So I don't need to use WEP after all. Argh! (It must have been my old Squeezebox audio player that was WEP only, but I'm not using it any more - too much hassle to run its proprietary server.)

Back to the Airport Utility, re-enable 802.11n, set it back to the default WPA. Back to the Windows laptop, enter the new password, it connects fine. Back to the Chumby, enter the new password, it works fine. Same with my MacBook.

So I think I'm all good. I'm glad my Mac mini is hard wired to the Time Capsule. Trying to configure wireless through a wireless connection would have added even more fun to the process!

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