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Re: [vox-tech] [OT] Two questions regardless Wireless 802.11b
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Re: [vox-tech] [OT] Two questions regardless Wireless 802.11b

Richard Crawford wrote:
I'm trying to fix things up with my wireless setup at home. I was using
WEP for awhile, but decided to stop because (a) our computers were having
a lot of frame errors and dropping the connection frequently; and (b) I've
heard that WEP is just not all that secure anyway. So now I'm setting it
up to do MAC address filtering, and allowing only the MAC addresses that I
specify. Seems to be working just fine so far.

Two questions, though.

First, I have a Sony Clie TJ37, which has a wireless card built in. I was
hoping I could use it to get into my network, but I can't seem to figure
out its MAC address. Anyone have any idea how I could track that down? Am I barking up the wrong tree?

Second, I would also like to disable SSID broadcast on my wireless
network, but when I do, our laptop computers can't log in to the network
when they're turned on. Is there a way around this?

I don't know anything about Palms or Clies but here is one decent google return for "finding mac address palm os": http://www.temple.edu/cs/helpdesk/macaddress.htm#PDA

I presume that the networking config options are part of the palm os and not Sony add-ons, but you never know. Also, with the various versions of the palm os, that link may be useless, but it at least suggests that you can look up the MAC somewhere in the prefs.

As far as your wireless network goes, I don't think you should tolerate "WEP frame drop" (or whatever the error said). I'm currently on my 5th off-the-self WAP, and until the most recent one (a Netgear WGR614), they've all had some unacceptable hardware failing (some immediately, some over time). One had weird routing bugs, another had wireless flakiness, and the rest of them had problems doing WEP with mixed clients or with lots of network traffic. I was never able to determine if these were model specific or actual device specific (i.e. "Does THE WAP99023 suck, or does THIS WAP99023 suck?") No amount of arguing with tech-support about "This WAP doesn't support large file transfers over WEP with my [Zaurus, Linux box, Powerbook]" is going to get you any help, so I just kept trying new WAPs over about a year-and-a-half until I found what I was looking for.

You want WEP. Even though it's a "broken" encryption scheme, you want to use it. I don't have any recent stats, but breaking WEP keys with the available tools (let's say AirSnort) isn't a quick process. Somebody looking to sabotage a business is probably going to put in the requisite energy. Otherwise, you have to consider who cares about breaking your WEP key - your bored neighbor, your tech-saavy enemy, or somebody else willing to sit in your driveway anywhere from a few hours to a few days depending on how long it takes to break the WEP key... You never know.

Here's a good "Why use WEP even though it's broken" article: http://www.wi-fiplanet.com/tutorials/article.php/2106281

My suggestion is use mac filtering AND wep AND ssid hiding. I can't use SSID hiding myself because it confuses the Macs, of which we have two, but it works great with wireless tools/Linux clients, and the Zaurus is cool with it too. I'm guessing you can manually configure the SSID into your Clie, so that should be OK too.

I can't tell you which model WAP will do for you what you want. My experience leads me to believe that it's not a Linksys vs. D-link vs. Netgear thing, but that these things are made so cheaply and in such high numbers, that every time you buy one, you have pretty good odds of getting one that sucks. There are some high-end corporate models, but I can't promise spending $600 is going to solve your problem either. Especially since I paid $39 for my Netgear, and (knock on wood) everything has been going great for months now.

As much as tech-support almost never seems to help, you may give it a try. Also, sometimes bugs are fixed by firmware upgrades, so try that if you haven't.

I hope that helps,
Dave M

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