Re: Coffee shop wifi will not give me IP address, but gives everyone else IP address. But static IP works!
- From: dualdflipflop <dualdflipflop@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Wed, 26 Sep 2007 10:33:04 -0700
Jeff Liebermann wrote:
Jennifer R <james.raden@xxxxxxxxx> hath wroth:
I'm sitting here in my favorite coffee shop, noticing people working
around me with their laptops. They're all connected to the internet. I
have a Dell M90, with a Dell Wireless 1490 Dual B and WLAN Mini-Card
(Microsoft's Packet Scheduler), Windows XP SP2. I set up my connection
using all the defaults -- WPA-Personal (PSK).
Anyway, terrific signal strength, I have the password, the network ID
is broadcast. BUT - the router refuses to give me -- and only me -- an
IP address. With Ethereal/Wireshark in promiscuous mode, I can see
packets flying all over the place on my adapter. I can see my computer
sending "DHCP Discover" packets every 3 seconds. But the router NEVER
sends a packet in reply. Nobody else here is at all sophisticated --
they're using the default OS wifi settings, DHCP, etc.
However, if I set my IP address to a static address, I can use their
network just fine. Everything's peachy.
What the heck? This is a new coffee shop, new router equipment, my
laptop is new -- why would they refuse me (or my NIC type, or god
knows what category they might be using)? I tried every other
combination of wifi settings, to no avail.
Nothing works. Help!
Well, I'll assume that your M90 connects to other wireless access
Does the coffee shop really use WPA-PSK encryption? Very very few
coffee shops and public hot spots use encryption. Are you sure that
"password" you're using is for WPA-PSK, or might it be for a login
splash screen once you're connected?
If you wanna double check, try this DHCP test tool:
If you get a DCHP offer as a reply, then there's something screwy with
your XP IP stack. I've seen DHCP failures with XP that I could not
fix. However, it was where all DHCP would not work with any wired or
wireless router (and required a registry cleaned to fix). This seems
different. I've also seen VPN shims and failed spyware removals mess
up the DHCP client. However, again it should fail with all wired and
wireless connections, not just one, and apparently that's not the case
Any clue what they're using for a wireless router? Deploying new
routers, with antique firmware seems to be a common practice. Methinks
this is the most likely culprit.
Have you tried to reboot your M90? I've found that running Wireshark
sometimes causes my various NIC interfaces to go nuts which requires a
reboot to clear.
Also, are you perhaps spoofing your MAC address on the wireless card.
That's usually harmless, but strange MAC addresses (i.e. all zeros or
1's) can do odd things.
Typically, I go to the counter and ask them to restart the router. "Because it seems to be down" usually works. Who are they to argue whether it's working for other people, since they are not on their computer actively going to Myspace, or wherever it is baristas go to these days. What might have happened, as what happens from time to time with my friends, is the router seems to have a long DHCP lease time, and only a small number range of IP addresses it's willing to give out. That's typically from not knowing how to properly install a public access point, or at least one that will encounter more than 50 MAC addresses a day, or however long the lease lasts. Attempting to fix the issue may be more difficult, and perhaps requires more social engineering on your part. Perhaps they run a router that happens to be a DD-WRT compatible device. TFTP a better alternative for them and make it, well, better!
Sorry for the block of text.
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