June 15, 2011

Connecting a PC to a Secure Wireless Network

Posted in technology tagged , , , , , , , at 4:52 pm by degyes

Now that you’ve password-protected your wireless network using WPA-PSK security with TKIP (“tee-kip”) encryption, despite your smart phone and your kids’ iPods easily connecting, you’re having difficulty getting your laptop PC to connect via its wireless radio.

Problem

Whereas the portable devices simply display a password entry screen to facilitate connectivity, with PCs (or at least those running WinXP, like mine), it’s apparently not quite as simple.

Solution

This procedure describes how to repair PC connectivity to your wireless network, once you’ve secured the network via a password.

  1. On your laptop PC, make sure your Wireless Radio hardware is turned on (usually via a switch on the side or somewhere else on the machine).
  2. Open Network and Dial-up Connections > Select Wireless Network Connections. Right-click and choose View Available Wireless Networks.

    The Wireless Network Connection dialog is displayed.

  3. In Wireless Network Connection, from the left-side bar, click Change Advanced Settings.
  4. In the Wireless Network Connection Properties dialog, choose the Wireless Networks tab, and select the ‘Use Windows to Configure My Wireless Network Settings’ checkbox.
  5. Under Preferred Networks, choose the wireless network you want to configure, and click the Properties button (or, if this is a new router connection, click Add).

    In the Properties dialog, configure your settings as follows:

    • In Network Authentication, choose WPA-PSK.
    • In Data Encryption, choose TKIP.
    • In Network Key, enter the password that you defined in your wireless router’s firmware.
    • Ditto for Confirm Network Key.
  1. Click OK x2.
  2. Before your PC will connect to the wireless network, you might have to repair the connection.
    • Make sure your wireless radio is turned on.
    • Go back to your Network Connections window (as in Step #2).
    • Select Wireless Network Connection, right-click, and choose Repair.

      This step should perform authentication between the PC and the password-protected wireless network, as well as perform the IP refresh needed in order for your router to connect to your machine.

Reconnecting in the Future

Once you’ve disconnected from the wireless network and wish to reconnect, you may have to re-authenticate (i.e. perform Step #7, above) in order to before reestablishing connection.

If when attempting reconnection, you get a message indicating “one or more of your preferred networks is out of range,” do as follows:

  1. Click on that message; or right-click on the Wireless Network Connection glyph in your system tray, and choose View Available Networks.

    Note: Make sure your wireless radio is turned on!

  2. In the Wireless Network Connection window, click Refresh Network List.
  3. Double-click on the desired network.

    You’ll be prompted for password authentication.

  4. If the password isn’t already typed in, retype it and click Connect.

    After a few moments, you should be reconnected.

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