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SSID and wireless connection problems

Discover why changing your SSID number might be the answer to resolving wireless connection problems when your client's wireless network seems to be properly configured.

I'm trying to help an end user access the Web from a wireless network. She's registered within the network, and her wireless card and software are properly installed.

The taskbar icon shows full signal strength. After placing the network connection icon in the tray, I see that packets are successfully being exchanged. Everything looks good, but both Firefox and Internet Explorer are unable to connect to the Web.

I successfully pinged the loopback address. What am I missing?

This might sound strange, but make sure you're really connecting to infrastructure that you think you are. A lot of people, for example, leave the SSID at its default (often the name of the vendor of the access point being used). Someone nearby might have the same SSID, but on a completely different network. I've seen this happen several times.

Check to make sure you can access other network resources, like files and printers. I'll bet it's either that or a network authentication/login problem that has nothing to do with wireless. Check your firewall settings; problems here are very common. You may have a blocked port.

For best results, always change your SSID, and disable SSID broadcast if possible. Change the security setting using a complex key and WPA security at a minimum.

This was last published in September 2007

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