Fixed – wifi not resolving dns on laptop with Windows7

I had a strange case the other day at work when all of a sudden my laptop would fail to resolve dns queries for my wireless connection only – my wired card was not affected. Changing dns entries to another server did not fix the issue. Eventually I tried disabling the Microsoft Virtual Wifi Miniport Adapter (from device manager) and immediately I was able to resolve dns again. Once I discovered this fix I remembered something similar with this adapter. Looking back through my previous notes we had an issue with Shrewsoft’s vpn software – with the Microsoft Virtual Wifi Miniport Adapter enabled we were unable to get a vpn session working to a Cisco client.
So far, disabling this adapter does not seem to have caused any issues – apparently it’s purpose is to allow you to connect to more than one wireless connection at the same time – an unlikely requirement in most business situations.

Fixed – unable to connect to vpn with Verizon wireless cards

After about 3 weeks and many calls with Verizon technical support we finally got to the bottom of being unable to connect via a VPN on USB Verizon wireless cards (an older PCMCIA card was still working fine).

It turns out that the IP Code was set to general – which is normally placed on residential air cards to restrict ip traffic. The tech removed this “feature” and we confirmed vpn worked again.

So, if you are having this problem, contact Verizon Technical support and ask them to remove General IP code from the phone. If the Tier1 support person doesn’t know what you are talking about, request they instant message level 3 support who will know what you are talking about.

Good luck and I hope this prevents 3 weeks of VPN failure for other people.

Thanks to Eric for persevering and finally getting an answer

Linksys WRT54G upgrade and WPA2

I upgraded my wrt54g to the latest dd-wrt firmware over the weekend from v23 to v24sp1. The annoying thing is that they highly recommend the unit is set to factory defaults which means re-entering the config in by hand after the upgrade. This is not a quick and easy task, especially whn you have to get the config off the there doesn’t seem to be a “print config” page. However, by using the screengrab firefox extension it didn’t take long to open up each dialog page, right click and choose screengrab, save, complete page.  Saving all the screenshots into a unique folder means I have a nice copy of the config that I was then able to refer to when rebuilding the unit.

The new firmware also supports wpa2 so I enabled that on the router and then found that my xpsp2 box couldn’t see the router. I was pretty sure I had all the updates for xp on the laptop but I guess not.  A quick download of the hotfix 893357, one reboot later and I was connected with wpa2.  I’m sure we’re going to see more of this sort of thing on client laptops so this will also be a good placeholder for work.

I haven’t got the openvpn configuration sorted out, I think I have to set this up from scratch as I forgot to save one of the keys – but openvpn seems to be more integrated in this version – at least there are dialog boxes for openvpn – there didn’t use to be.

Ubuntu 5.10 is worse!

(in my opinion) than the 5.04 release that was out a while back. At least 5.04 would boot on my machine but 5.10 doesn’t. It gets as far as detecting hot plug devices and then the machine hangs. Various messages are displayed in the other consoles (ctrl-f2 to f4 i think) but nothing obvious as to what is going on. I thought I would try 5.10 on the desktop as the 5.04 would not let me use ndiswrapper for the Hawking Technology wifi usb card that I have (which incidentally uses the zydas 1211 driver). I think that if I risked putting ubuntu onto the hard disk rather then running from the livecd then I might stand a chance of getting it to work, but ideally I want a combination of livecd & usb wifi adapter which means I can use this at other wifi enabled pc’s.

Wifi with Mobile phone now works.

For some weird reason my wifi started to get disconnected whenever the cordless phone was used. Apparently 2.4Ghz phones cause interference with wireless as they operate on the same spectrum. The weird thing is that this was working ok for 3 months without causing obvious dropouts. A bit of searching suggested that changing the channel that the wifi is on should fix or reduce the problem. I changed from channel 11 to 1 (the other end) and the problem didn’t go away. I changed it to 6 and still it didn’t go away. Interestingly though a wifi card placed about 1′ away from the access point with the cordless phone being used downstairs would result in no wifi service. I changed the channel back to 11 last night and for some reason the wifi no longer gets disrupted when the phone is in use.
Seeing as though that is how I started off I am not sure why this problem has occured. Still, at least I can now use the internet when other people are on the phone.

ip testing on a pocketpc

VxUtil is a free (for personal use) suite of network utilities for a pocket pc that will give you dns lookups, ping sweeps etc and the all important ipconfig of your pocketpc. Downloaded it this morning and it works great. If I had had it installed last night I *might* have found it handy!

Wireless points in Congleton

I switched on the wireless card in the pocketpc last night as I drove into town to get our indian meal. I was surprised to see 4 access points active in the town (at 7.30pm on a Friday night there is unlikely to be a business need for wireless access) active. Surprised because when I last did this about a year ago there were NO access points in Congleton at all.
Needless to say 3 of them were using out of the box settings, but 1 of them did have WEP encryption set. The other 3 had the default ssids of linksys,belkin54g set.

Linksys pt 2.

Well I’m still waiting for feedback from Linksys on the original router and have not heard anything back since their “have you tried resetting and logging in?” question. However I’ve been given a swap from the customer (it is a good job he works for an electronics company) and this one seems to work fairly well. The firmware is at a higher level than the original box but not the most recent level but I’m not going to risk the upgrade of firmware again as this has already cost quite a bit of time to troubleshoot and fix. Performance doesn’t seem bad and this unit works much better with the linksys card than the other one did – xp recognised it immediately and connected with no problems and most importantly, no having to run up and down the stairs again.

More linksys pants equipment.

Decided I’d have a go at setting up the linksys wag54g. At first glance it all seemed to work on on the lan side (I’ve not yet plugged it into the telephone line) I upgraded the firmware, or tried to. As the upgrade process got to 100% of the bar across the screen, internet explorer then refreshed to a 404. When I closed the browser down and opened it up again it came up with a successful upgrade process. (weird).
Now though, whenever I connect to the lan interface it comes up with “Cannot find server” even though I can ping it.

Linksys Wireless NIC

I’ve had the misfortune to have to reconfigure an xp machine with a linksys WPC54G pcmcia card and it is awful. Sitting in the lounge it very rarely connects to my netgear wifi hub upstairs. It keeps asking me for the wep key and doesn’t connect even though the signal strength is about 60%. However if I leave it long enough or walk up the stairs, the card kicks in and then I can walk back downstairs again and use wifi ok…..until I need to reboot. As I am doing a reinstall, there are lots of reboots – about 4 for windows updates, Norton Internet Security has needed about 4 (and its still not finished) and I’m sure other software has also needed reboots. Hopefully the performance will be better when the linksys card is partnered with the adsl gateway that has been purchased – I’ll find out later this week (as I have two installs scheduled this week!)