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If your wireless software says you're connected, but you aren't able to access the LAN, read this:

Even though your wireless software reports you're connected to the wireless network, it doesn't always mean what it says. If you mistype the security key, it may still say you're connected, even though you're not; this varies model to model and whether you're using "Open" or "Shared" authentication. Also, if someone has setup MAC filtering, and your MAC address isn't allowed, it may say you're connected to the network.

A simple way to tell if you're actually connected to the wireless LAN, is to see if you have an IP address. You can check to see if you have gotten an IP by following these four steps:

•Go to "Start"

•Go to "Run"

•Type "cmd"

•Type "ipconfig/all"

The IP address listed should be something similar to 192.168.1.x (or whatever you've chosen to run your network on). If your IP address is listed as 169.254.x.x, this means you're not getting an IP from the DHCP server on the wireless router. Most wireless routers (and wired) have the DHCP server enabled by default. If you're getting a 169.254.x.x IP via the wireless link, try a wired link. Use a networking cable to plug into the router, and see if you can get an IP address that way.


If you can't get an IP:

If you still can't get an IP when wired:
•Make sure the link light for the port you're plugged into comes on. If it doesn't come on, then try a different port (or cable). If the light still doesn't come on, there's probably something wrong with your router.
•Consult the routers manual to see if there are special setup instructions and see if the wireless router has a built-in DHCP server.

•Try setting your IP information manually through Windows (See this FAQ: How do I set a fixed/static IP address on a LAN PC? ). Make sure the IP you give your computer is in the same network as the routers default address. If you don't know what your DNS servers are, try using some that are listed in this FAQ: What are the DNS Server addresses? (preferably pick the ones closest to your location).
•If you still can't get an IP address when wired into the router, and other computers on the network can connect perfectly, your TCP/IP stack may be corrupt or having problems. See this FAQ for repairing techniques: How do I repair the TCP/IP stack in Microsoft Windows?

If you were able to get an IP via DHCP when wired, but not wireless:
•Make sure you're using the correct authentication option. Some routers have the option of using "Shared" or "Open". Make sure the client is using the same kind.
•If you still can't get an IP after making sure the authentication option is correct, change the wireless settings to disable all wireless security features (WEP/WPA and MAC Filtering), then try to connect again and see if you can get an IP. (Do this when you are wired directly into the router)

•If you still can't get an IP with all security disabled, try reinstalling your wireless card or using a different program to connect to the wireless network. Most people will either use WZC (Windows Wireless Zero) or the software that came with the card, so switch which one you're using, and see if that fixes the problem.
•If it still doesn't work after a reinstall of the driver and switching programs, try a different wireless card and/or network. Find a friend and try using their wireless card and/or AP. See if you're able to associate with it fine. If the new wireless card works, then you may have a faulty card. Take it back to the store and get a new one. If you try a new AP, with your original wireless card, and it works, then your wireless router may be having problems. Try taking back the router, and getting a new one.


If you can get an IP:

Make sure you are able to successfully ping your router. You can ping the router, with this procedure:
•Go to "Start"

•Go to "Run"

•Type "cmd"

•Type "ping", then put in your routers IP address. Ex: If my routers IP address was, I would type "ping".
•Make sure all the packets were sent successfully

If the ping was successful, and you have an IP, you are connected to the wireless LAN. You got an IP via DHCP, or more advanced users may have setup their own static configuration. You should be able to access all network resources, just as if you were a wired client on the network.

If you can't share files, try disabling your software firewall. Windows XP SP2 firewall hates file-sharing (even over the LAN), so either configure it to allow file-sharing, or disable it completely (preferably configure it, since it may be a security risk to have no firewall on your computer). You'd need to do this on both computers, where you're trying to share files. Also, if your router/AP has a "wireless client isolation" feature, make sure that is turned off. The point of wireless isolation is so people can't share files or data, when connected to the wireless network. Also, see this FAQ entry: Why Can't I Share Files?

If you can't access the internet via your wireless connection, make sure the internet connection is setup properly in the routers configuration. If you believe it is setup properly, make sure by checking it via a wired computer. If the internet does work on a wired computer, but not your wireless computer, then try tweaking firewall settings to allow internet access. Also, make sure you have correct DNS servers and a gateway set; usually your gateway will be set as your routers IP address and DNS servers are set to what your ISP has told you.


Some other useful threads:
Desk top receives wireless signal but no access
Wireless Network Detected But Won't Connect?
trying to connect to Airport Express


Submitted by Bill See Profile

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by No_Strings See Profile
last modified: 2005-02-20 22:52:44