TechSpot

WiFi Access Points with Same Name

By logitech
Nov 2, 2008
  1. So im in a region with multiple access points that all have the SAME name ..
    But at various times only 1 specific one has the Internet on it..

    Id like to know of a way to lock my wireless card to that specific one at times.. instead of it jumping to the others without the internet..

    Whether by a program that allows me to connect to a specific MAC address or something..

    Tnx in adv.
     
  2. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    Your wireless setup can include MAC addressing in the security part
    But having all computers with the same name may cause conflicts, unless they are physically unplugged from the Network

    Ideally have unique names setup (and include MAC address)
     
  3. logitech

    logitech TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 17

    It's not my setup..
    Its on a school campus and so all of the access points have the same name, but sometimes particular access points malfunction, and so you have to connect to another one in order the get the internet.

    what i would like to know is, if there is a program or somewhere in wondows that i can specify the specific MAC address of the access point/router that has the internet so i can always connect to it.. instead of my wireless card switching every minute to another which does not have the internet..

    let me know if you understand what im sayin
     
  4. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    Yes I do understand (now :) )

    I am going to PM one of our Networking specialists to have a look here, and possibly recommend one.
    Note this may take a day for the response (if at all)
     
  5. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +183

    Just for terminology, the network name of a wireless access point is called the SSID. In your case, the SSID of each access point has been assigned the same value (i.e. the same name)

    As you noted, the MAC address of each access point is unique. fyi... The different access points may also possibly broadcast on different channels. An easy way to find all this out is download and run NetStumbler to find out about all the wireless networks around you.

    I'm going to guess you're running XP and using XP's wireless configuration tool (called Wireless Zero Configuration service). The bad news is the Wireless Zero Configuration tool only allows you indicate your preferred SSID (not MAC address or preferred channel). And i believe it just connects to whichever one has the strongest signall. HOWEVER, your wireless adapter's vendor probably offers their own configuration tool which often provides the functionality you want (at least allowing you to distinguish between multiple access points/same SSID. Not certain about automatically connect to whichever has the Internet connection.

    But at least can check on your options via vendor configuration tool as well as your adapter settings. If you'd tell us your Operating System along with make/model of your wireless adapter can see what options you have. Tho, you may also want to check with your school as many students must deal with the same situation and i would think the school offer some guidance/solution.
     
  6. logitech

    logitech TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 17

    @ Kimsland: No prob.

    @LookingAround: Ok.. well the OS is XP.. And im not using XP's wireless cofig util. Im using the one that came with my MSI PCI turbo wireless card... And i have been using it to select the one with the net, but it keeps jumping to another SSID when the one with the net goes down or whatever
     
  7. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +183

    Are you assuming as to the reason it's jumping around? (i.e. thinking it has to do with Internet access).Or could it be that adapter is too quick to jump to whichever access point happens to have the strongest signal at the moment?

    In either case, do the following to report info:
    1. Start->Run, enter devmgmt.msc
    2. When device manager opens, click the + to expand Network adapter. What does it say is your wireless adapter make/model?
    3. Rt click->Properties, click Driver tab. What version of the driver are you running?
    4. Now start the wireless configuration program. Click Help->About and tell us the program version info
     
  8. logitech

    logitech TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 17

    Ok the make/mode in device manager is: 802.11g PCI Turbo Wireless Adapter
    The driver version is: 1.0.4.0
    Program version is: 1.0.0.302
     
  9. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +183

    Looks like i'll need a bit more info. There should be a model code for the wireless adapter. Should look like USR54xx where xx can vary.

    Two options to get it.

    1. Click here to find the information manually or
    2. It should be reported by one of the tools we use around here.
    Click to download then run Everest Home. From top of Everest window:
    • Click File->Preferences
      • Check English
      • Then (still under Preferences) click Report and uncheck Include Debug Information
      • Close Preferences window
    • Click Reports->Report Wizard. Get a Custom Report report in plain text. Check these items
      • Computer
      • Motherboard
      • Network
    • Attach the report file to a TechSpot post. When you create your TechSpot post, use the paper clip icon to attach the report. (If you don't see it among your icons, you need to click the TechSpot Go Advanced button towards bottom of window)
     
  10. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,342   +622

    I believe that LookinAround is on the money here. Your WiFi adaptor can specify the
    preferred connection, but that's on the SSID. Sites with multiple APs typically use the same
    SSID and encryption key to make relocation transparent (ie laptops move about w/o issues).

    Your issue (different access rights per AP) is an anomaly of the school and I see no
    possible solution.
     
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