Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Windows' Wireless Woes

I don't know whether it's just me, but why do public wireless networks
seem to be such a pain to get into. I've lost count of the number of
times I've sat in airports or hotels trying to get the wireless to work
- getting connected is a breeze, but it's the web-based authentication.
It just takes forever.

I have a BT Openzone account and, in some situations, the BT Access
Manager does the trick - however, in some situations that's not an
option e.g. if the wireless is provided by some other vendor.

What am I doing wrong ? Once connected, I open a web browser ( makes no
real difference whether I use Firefox or Internet Explorer ), and open a
page such as It can take 5-10 minutes to get to a
point where I can enter credentials, or purchase credit etc.

Is it just me ? I'm also running IBM Access Connections which, perhaps,
doesn't help - however, that's really only focusing on finding the
access point and getting an IP address - it doesn't know about web-based

Someone else must have had this issue ? What am I doing wrong ???

Woeful without Wireless :-(

Dave - first off, IBM Access Connections is one of the worst pieces of software ever written. We reformat our (otherwise brilliant) Thinkpads and get rid of the whole Thinkvantage etc. rubbish. Native Windows wireless management is much better.

Second, we had the same problem as you trying to live off public wireless. Switching to 3G cards was the best thing we did from that perspective!
My Mac doesn't seem to have any trouble connecting to a new wireless network. My XP Thinkpad has nothing but trouble connecting, usually requiring a reboot or ipconfig/renew. That said, I am only using the Thinkpad when I can't use the Mac. I am hoping to install a VM on the Mac in the near future and dump the XP/Thinkpad.
Dave - you could try turning off the peer to peer and ad-hoc connection type in Access Connections. Goto Configure-->Global Settings. I turned those off at the weekend because my thinkpad was taking 3-4 minutes to get past the access connections bit when booting up. Disabling the above sped things up quite nicely.
Folks, thanks for the good advice. I've taken a radical(ish) step of moving my 2nd hard drive to Ubuntu Linux, and will see how I get on at the airport tomorrow AM.

I've still got Windows XP on my other hard drive, in case I get withdrawal symptoms.

I'll also try the suggestions re Access Connections as well.

Regards, Dave
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