Sunday, January 24, 2010

Having hard time establishing a wireless connection with your router?

I have been suffering this wireless connection problem for about a month. Every time my desktop boots into Windows 7, it takes several attempts to successfully establish a wireless connection with my router. Each time it first tries to connect, then soon pops up a message saying that "Windows cannot connect to XXX", and I have to manually click "connect" again. Sometimes this process can take up to 10 minutes. The other desktop of mine installs Windows XP, and has similar problem. It just always fails at "Acquiring network address". However, for the same router, my new laptop doesn't have this problem. It connects to the wireless network as soon as I log into Windows 7.

Today I finally solved the myth. It has something to do with the setup of my wireless router. Previous I set the "Authentication Type" to "WPA-PSK", and set the "Cipher Type" to "AES". I found that Windows XP only supports "TKIP" as the "Cipher Type" (Control Panel -> Network Connections -> Wireless Network Connections -> right click -> Properties -> "Wireless Networks" -> choose your home network -> Properties -> Data Encryption. You'll find only "TKIP" in the drop-down list.). Therefore I changed the "Cipher Type" in my wireless router from "AES" to "TKIP", and bingo, my Windows XP desktop connected to the network immediately. My Windows 7 desktop connects to the wireless network much faster too.

I think this is because the wireless adapters in my desktops can't handle AES encryption very well, but the new laptop doesn't have this problem.

It turns out that TKIP usually goes with WPA, while AES usually goes with WPA2. The latter has better security than the former. (

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