Belkin Wireless WEP woes!

By Foggymuppet
Dec 18, 2004
  1. Hope someone can help. I have just installed a complete Belkin wireless network in our house which consists of :

    ADSL modem with built in 802.11g router F5D7630-4A
    Wireless desktop Network Card F5D7000
    Wireless Notebook Network Card F5D7010uk

    Main unit and laptop are both running windows XP Pro with the main unit having SP2 installed.
    Both have Norton's antivirus

    I have the following problem though.

    Network works fine with WEP disabled, can see other computer, connect to internet etc but when I enable WEP it all goes Pete Tong!
    This is how I've been doing it so far, with a few variations. Access router via web page and enable WEP. Selected 64 bit WEP and have inputted the passphrase which then generates a key in HEX. Applied changes and then I loose comms with router...seems fair enough as I haven't enabled the WEP on this PC. Double clicked on Belkin icon in bottom right of desktop and selected advance. Removed preferred network and re-configured available network with WEP key, by doing the following:
    Data encryption ticked, network key inputted in normal text with key format ASCII characters selected, key provided for me automatically de-selected, then clicked ok and apply. Still no access to router or internet. What am I doing wrong?
    It must be something really simple as everyone else can do it aprt from me, or is it an age thing (late 30's!!). I have tried inputting the network key in hex form, well, I call it hex anyway. I just copied the hex code and put it straight in without any gaps between the pairs. Is that the right way? I had changed the key format to take account of this to no avail. The only way that I could get it all to work again was to reset the router and start all over again....which I'm getting quite good at!!

    I'm hoping that someone out there can show me the error of my ways so that I can have at least some form of security!

    Cheers all

    PS: Have tried the above on the laptop and have the same result. I did read that for WPA to work I would have to download some software, but surely not for WEP?
  2. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Maniac Posts: 2,244

    are those cards compatible with passphrase? Some cards are not. You might want to disable passphrase and simply use 64 bit HEX, better yet, enable MAC filtering, it is much more secure and doesn't slow down throughput like WEP does. The only drawback to MAC filtering is that you have to add the MAC address of any new adapter you add(such as a friend who is using the network while at your house)

    WEP is pretty weak anyway, truth is, someone who wants to get on your network can prolly do it more efficiently than you can if you are having key problems. There are tools out there that will simply bypass WEP like it isn't even there. WEP is considered "weak" because every so often there are packets sent that are almost completely "open". With the right utility, anyone could get in the network in a few seconds.
    WPA or LEAP would be better choices, but all suffer from slowing throughput because of every packet having to be encrypted and decrypted.

    Basically, the more secure you make your network, the more problems you may encounter and still not keep anyone out except maybe a nosy neighbor(simply hiding the ssid would keep most of those out)
  3. Foggymuppet

    Foggymuppet TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks StormBringer for the advice. So basically, there's no real way of completely securing the network without degrading the performance! Why is wireless still popular, apart from the ease of no cables etc the problems of security would limit their usefulness wouldn't it? Or, are pepole relying on others to be trustworthy and not hack into their network? Is there anything else that can be done to minimise the intrusion as well as having a form of WEP, WAP or MAC?
    I think that I will stick to using the MAC filtering as you suggested. Can people still get around this as well or can I just rely on this and firewall's etc?

    Enjoy your sunday

  4. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Maniac Posts: 2,244

    Basically, the lack of reliability is probably the thing that helps you the most. Since wireless is subject to interference from many sources, it makes it difficult for someone to "jack" into the system and stay there very long without a lot of effort. Most people looking to simply leech some bandwidth will usually look for an open network rather than bothering with a secure one.

    Yes, MAC filtering is much more secure than a simple WEP key because it would require an intruder to "spoof" their adapter with the address of one that is authorized. No, it isn't perfect, no security is perfect. Truth is, if you can access it, someone else can "crack" into it if they really want to.

    Wireless security and firewalls are two completely different topics. Wireless security such as WEP, WPA, MAC filtering, etc is designed to make the wireless portion of your network as secure as the wired part. Getting on the network is the easy part with wireless, all someone needs to do is bypass whatever security you have, after that, they can leech internet, to do more, they need to be able to access your "workgroups" and get past your firewalls. This part takes more effort if you have software firewalls in place and configured up correctly. If you have filesharing set up it makes it a little easier for someone to access your files, since it is already "open" to the workgroup.

    Basically just turn off the SSID broadcast feature, use either 64bit WEP or MAC filtering, turn on and configure the firewall settings in the router as well as configuring a software firewall. Never use defaults, change the ssid, workgroup, router login, etc...

    PS: The troughput slowdown I mentioned is going to only be seen with in network traffic, internet access usually isn't affected since it is already slower than the bandwidth of the netwok itself.
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