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Old 05-30-07, 08:15 AM   #1
dragracer
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Computer Question (Wireless/SSID)

Got my new wireless router(Belkin G+ MIMO)working but having a small problem. For security I want to disable SSID broadcasting. When I turn it off, my laptop will no longer connect to the router. As soon as I re-enable SSID broadcasting, it connects again. Any idea why it does this??

Have done this before on others and never had this issue. As long as the network was setup to auto-connect, you don't really NEED to be able to see the network. I don't get it.
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Old 05-30-07, 08:34 AM   #2
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As far as I understand, SSID is in place for security only. There is a SSID key that you have supplied your laptop with and no one else will be able to access the internet through your router unless they have that key.
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Old 05-30-07, 08:44 AM   #3
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As you said it should work but I have also found some wireless chipsets have problems connecting when the SSID is not broadcast. May be some type of broadcast/discovery timing issue, I have not been able to disable SSID on my home network because 2 of my 3 computers have connection problems if I do. I also have an issue with my DLink router that for whatever reason ocasionally it just stops communicating via wireless. Networks alway seem to require a lot of care and feeding.
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Old 05-30-07, 08:53 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crypticlineage
As far as I understand, SSID is in place for security only. There is a SSID key that you have supplied your laptop with and no one else will be able to access the internet through your router unless they have that key.
No, that's the WEP or WPA key that's there for security. SSID is a "beacon" signal whose purpose has nothing to do with security. It is an identifier (like a radio callsign) and a presence indicator. It gives the user something useful to identify the Access Point Station other than the Basic Service Set ID (BSSID, which is, for all intents and purposes the MAC address of the Access Point, which is a 8-octet hexadecimal serial number that's hard to remember)

Go ahead and disable the SSID broadcast, then go back into your wireless setup and try to force it to join the network using the SSID you specified. It should find it.

I have SSID broadcasting disabled on my AirPort express, and occasionally when I've been out and connected to other networks, I'll have to manually re-connect. Hope this helps.
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Old 05-30-07, 08:55 AM   #5
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Hmmm....... I was thinking about taking back the Belkin and getting a Linksys(or something) to see if it worked better .......but sounds like this may be a common problem with any brand router.
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Old 05-30-07, 08:59 AM   #6
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ax0n,

How do you force it to connect(Windows XP) if you can't see the SSID in the wireless networks list?? It is listed in the list of preferred networks, but I don't see a way to "force" it to connect from there. Can you explain?

Have it setup using WEP right now but I'm going to change it to WPA-PSK tonight. Have to load WPA support patch for my wireless adapter before I can use it.
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Old 05-30-07, 09:35 AM   #7
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WEP is so easily cracked, its sad. I think there is even software out for smartphones which can crack it. WPA-PSK is your best bet.
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Old 05-30-07, 09:41 AM   #8
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Turning of SSID Broadcast is more security by obscurity than anything (ie. not secure). In addition to an encryption protocol, you should enable MAC Address filtering on the router, so only the physical addresses of the devices you specify can access the router. For example my router is set up so only the only things that can talk to it are my computer, me and my BF's Nintendo DS and PSP, and my Nintendo Wii...

FYI: You can find your MAC Address by going Start->Run->"cmd" [enter] then type "ipconfig /all" [enter] (sans quotes) in the command box that comes up. Your Mac address should be the "Physical Address..." near the top.

This, along with encryption, pretty much guarantees security of your network unless someone is smart enough to spoof your MAC Address in which case you're screwed anyway.
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Old 05-30-07, 09:55 AM   #9
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Yup.... These days, WEP is only slightly more secure than a no trespassing sign. Going to work on getting WPA working before I get my broadband installed this Friday.

MAC filtering is already setup to allow ONLY my one laptop. Also have DHCP set to a range of only two addresses....and those two are already used by my laptop and my desktop. So it will not hand out any others unless I change the address pool. Would still like to disable SSID broadcasting if I can figure out why my laptop won't connect. Not that it would be any more secure....but it would make me feel better knowing it's not being broadcast for the whole freakin' nieghborhood to see.
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Old 05-30-07, 10:04 AM   #10
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WPA is the way to go and like locking your car doors every little bit helps. MAC spoofing and WEP cracking are pretty easy these days. Of course my daughter just got a new Ninetendo DS which only supports WEP no WPA, so do I drop the security to let her play her toy, probably. Realistically my network doesn't broadcast too far from the house and I live in a gated community so its not like people can park on the street and attack my system. Best thing for me is that I shut the whole thing down every night, you can't get in if the power is off.
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Old 05-30-07, 06:18 PM   #11
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You have to know the name of the network (which you can specify in the router setup) in order to connect with SSID disabled. You will have to type this name correctly in the wireless setup wizard.
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Old 05-31-07, 08:38 AM   #12
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Got it working.

Had to update the wireless networking client for XP. Has a place now to tell it to connect to the wireless network even if it is not broadcasting. Also got WPA-PSK up and working. With WPA, MAC filtering, DHCP pool set to two addresses, and SSID broadcast disabled...I think it's about as secure as I can get it.
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Old 05-31-07, 09:16 AM   #13
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This is a pretty simple thing you can do to keep sniffers from finding your router. They'll see there's a signal, but without the SSID - as you've found out - can't connect.

You will need to tell your laptop what the SSID is in order for it to connect. You'll set up a profile or connection in your wireless configuration on the laptop and you'll have to put in the SSID. With the proper encryption code on both ends and both ends knowing the SSID, you'll connect no problem.

I've done this with Linksys and now a Belkin. Are you using the Windows wireless configuration on your laptop or the app that came with your card?
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Old 05-31-07, 09:42 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skiahh
.....You will need to tell your laptop what the SSID is in order for it to connect. You'll set up a profile or connection in your wireless configuration on the laptop and you'll have to put in the SSID. With the proper encryption code on both ends and both ends knowing the SSID, you'll connect no problem.
Done deal....that's what I did last night. It's all working like I want it. Getting a 63 character WPA key the same on the router and the laptop was a lot of fun......NOT!


Quote:
Originally Posted by skiahh
I've done this with Linksys and now a Belkin. Are you using the Windows wireless configuration on your laptop or the app that came with your card?
Using Windows wireless config. I DID load the utility for the wireless adapter(Atheros), but when I went to try it, it said something like "this adapter is being controlled by the windows wireless configuration". It's working so I ain't gonna mess with it.
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