Dwight Watt - Watt Thoughts #139 6/5/2007

#139 - Wireless setup and web page glitches

If you are setting up a wireless network, you should definitely considering using security. You have several choices on security including WEP and WPA. For home usage, WEP should be plenty. WPA uses longer passwords/phrases and is more secure since harder to guess longer words.

You will be given two options when you set WEP on your wireless router. The first will be a passphrase limited on number of characters. You can choose a passphrase and as long as your PCs are using the same brand network cards as the wireless router that is all they will need to enter to connect. Easy to remember but secure.

When you enter the passphrase the router will automatically fill the security key lines with what may look like gibberage but is a code that the computers will actually exchange. It is in hexadecimal numbers so all you will see is numbers and letters A-F. If you will be using several brands of equipment on your wireless network (network cards and routers is all we are concerned about on brands) then you will need to use the security key as different brands work differently with passphrases. You could write down the first security key and then enter on each PC connecting but high risk of typing errors. An easy way in this case is enter your own security key for the first key and leave others as generated by passphrase. You are limited to numbers and letters A-F. You can come up with what you want using those characters to fill the security key. I have seen people use all of one number or letter or a sequence of the characters. Then you can remember to type in the PC and if someone visiting with laptop easily tell them code. But your neighbor or a hacker on street canít connect in your network and use your Internet connection since they do not know the pass phrase or the security key.

On a different note. Apparently there is a glitch with Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0 and some web servers. It causes some web pages to return a message of page not found when you had the address correct. Simply hitting REFRESH or RELOAD will produce the page. However every link that is part of their page produces similar results. I have encountered this with the United Methodist web server where many UM churches host their web sites (I host two churches there) and also when checking my e-mail at Peirce College. It appears to only occur if you have .NET Framework 3.0 installed. If you get a page not found and think you really did type it right, try the REFRESH button (has two arrows beside each other pointing opposite direction) or if your version of browser has a menu entry for something like View, Refresh.



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