Windows Tip Sheet
Wire Me Up
Windows Connect Now and wireless don't mix that well.
Let me start by saying I'm not a big fan of wireless. Sorry, Google,
I know that disappoints, but for my money nothing beats a nice CAT5 cable
and all the low-tech reliability and relative security it offers. That
said, wireless is inevitable in public spaces. So, why does it have to
be so difficult to implement?
Case in point: I'm working with a company that gives me access to its
wireless LAN (yay — give me a CAT5 cable next time). I run the Wireless
Network Setup Wizard in WinXP to select the network. Now, these access
points don't support the "Windows Connect Now" feature (read
more about this gem here)
— and I get an error.
To make a long story — and a long afternoon of troubleshooting and
wishing for a CAT5 cable — short, this is a known issue. If the access
point only accepts WPA connections, and it wants a key of under 64 characters
in length, and it doesn't support Windows Connect Now ... you can't connect
automatically. Instead, you have to enter the WPA key manually: When running
the aforementioned Wizard, there's an option to "Manually assign
a network key" that you have to pick. It seems that selecting WPA
causes the Wizard to create a 64-character encryption key; it isn't uncommon
for older access points to only want a 63-character (or shorter, like
50 characters in this case) key, which makes the Wizard barf. Entering
the key manually lets you respect the access point's limit. The trick
with Windows Connect Now is that part of the standard specifies a 64-character
key, so devices supporting Connect Now will accept a 64-character key.
Pass the $6 cable, please.
Don Jones is a multiple-year recipient of Microsoft’s MVP Award, and is an Author/Evangelist for video training company Pluralsight. Don is also a co-founder and President of PowerShell.org, a community dedicated to Microsoft’s Windows PowerShell technology. Don has more than two decades of experience in the IT industry, and specializes in the Microsoft business technology platform. He’s the author of more than 50 technology books, an accomplished IT journalist, and a sought-after speaker and instructor at conferences worldwide. Reach Don on Twitter at @concentratedDon, or on Facebook at Facebook.com/ConcentratedDon.