belkin software or windows wizard?

  v8 07:25 21 Jun 06

having read several threads on this forum, there seems to be a consensus that using the windows wireless wizard is a better option than using the manufacturers setup software when setting up a wireless network. i have bought a belkin wireless g router (model no. F5D7230uk4) and belkin wireless g notebook card (model no. F5D7010uk) and would like advice on whether the windows wizard IS the best option please. the network will be 2 desktop computers wired and 1 laptop wireless, all running xp pro sp2 and using ntl cable broadband. if the windows way is better, a few general pointers on method would be gratefully received (or is the windows wireless wizard straightforward?).
ps: the 2 desktop computers are at present networked via an FR4II mentor router - will i need to uninstall anything (apart from taking the router out) before i try to set up the wireless network? thanks in anticipation, rob

  mgmcc 11:15 21 Jun 06

As you are using XP SP2, I would definitely recommend using Windows' own wireless networking software, it is much more straightforward than Belkin's. Plug the PCMCIA card into the laptop and let Windows "find new hardware". Follow the wizard and select the option to install from a specific location. Insert the CD and 'browse' to the Drivers folder. If the CD "autoruns" to install the Belkin software, just Exit from it.

With the drivers installed, you will now have a "Wireless Network Connection" in the Network Connections folder. Right click it and select "View Available Wireless Networks". After a few seconds while it scans, it should display the SSID (network name) of your Wireless Router and you click the Connect button at the bottom. If necessary, you will be prompted to enter the WEP/WPA encryption key which will have to match the one you set up in the router. It is that simple. Once Connected, and as long as you don't click the Disconnect button, it will connect automatically in future to your wireless network when the PC is booted and provided the WiFi network is available.

<<< will i need to uninstall anything (apart from taking the router out) before i try to set up the wireless network? >>>

No, because a router isn't installed as either software or hardware in a PC - it is a network device that the PC connects to.

  v8 16:44 21 Jun 06

thanks very much for that mgmcc - its much appreciated. i presume i just do the same thing for the actual router also - power everything down, connect the router to the cable modem, the 2 desktops via cat5 to the router then power it all up - modem then router then computers (presumably i can use a desktop to configure the router - set an ssid name, set the wpa-psk - so i don't need to connect the laptop to the router via an ethernet cable?) and then set up the laptop like you say? i presume i use the normal network setup wizard (rather than the wireless wizard) to set up the wired desktops, or does the wireless wizard do the lot? sorry to be such a pain, but i'd really like to get it right first time (the laptop is a birthday present for the daughter and i'd like the wireless to work when she gets it). thanks again for the input, rob

  ade.h 17:10 21 Jun 06

In 99.9% of instances, do not use 3rd-party wireless management software. At the very least, it is unnecessary except in rare exceptions (and I would not buy any hardware that insisted on using it) and in a lot of cases, it doesn't work properly. Those of you who are stuck with Win9x will need to ignore that advice though.

  ade.h 17:13 21 Jun 06

You do not need to use the Network Setup Wizard - it's purely hand-holding - but there is no significant problem if you wish to use.

Do not use the Wireless equivalent. Follow the normal procedure for connecting to a wireless network (which I will provide if you would like me to, but it's very straighforward).

  v8 21:53 21 Jun 06

thanks for all the input guys - much appreciated. present position is: both wired pc's are up and running, but got a prob with the wireless connection to the laptop. had to run belkin's setup for the laptop card as there were no drivers available on the cd (only had setup and things like manuals on there). have set up a wpa-psk on the router and changed the ssid (as advised in another thread) and have managed to connect the laptop to the router wirelessly (with wpa-psk enabled). however.... the connection keeps breaking and reconnecting every second(ish). the only firewall on the laptop is windows firewall, which could be the problem as when i try to open it in control panel, i get the message "windows firewall settings cannot be displayed because the associated service is not running. do you want to start the windows firewall/internet connection sharing service?" when i click on yes, i get "windows cannot start the windows firewall/internet connection sharing service"
bought this laptop second hand from a computer fair (with what turns out to be an invalid preloaded version of xp pro sp2, so had to repair using my legit version), and what with the fact that since i used windows update yesterday it now takes forever to load windows from starting and now this firewall prob, i think i'll probably format and start from scratch.
however, i would seriously appreciate your offer of a walkthrough of the "normal procedure for connecting to a wireless network" ade.h for when i do get windows sorted, as i feel i must be a total numbskull and am doing something daft that i cannot see.
many thanks again - i constantly see your two names answering threads mgmcc and ade.h, so i know how much time and effort you put into helping us lesser mortals, and if i knew you, i'd buy you lots of beer as a sign of my appreciation. cheers, rob :)

  ade.h 22:40 21 Jun 06

Here's how to connect to your wireless network when not using any 3rd-party software.

1. If - as is almost always the case now - your wireless receiver is intergrated, make sure that it is switched on via the keyboard or fascia. Ideally do this after XP has booted but before you log in.

2. In the Notification Area (or System Tray for Win9x diehards) you will see a Wireless LAN icon - a computer screen with a small red cross. Double-click on it.

3. The View Wireless Networks window has just appeared. Refrsh it from the link on the left pane.

4. If your network is not now listed, then your router is not configured or positioned correctly. All being well, it will be visible and the Connect button will now be available. Click it.

5. Enter your WPA-PSK twice (if you have security enabled of course). Make it easy; do this by pasting it from a text file to avoid errors. 20 or 30 letters, numbers and symbols is not fun to type once, never mind twice.

6. At or around this point, your client firewall (software firewall) should ask you what to do about this new connection interface; make the appropriate rule according to your firewall's manual/help file/pdf guide or whatever.

TIP: Know your firewall inside out. If you don't know how to set it up, don't use one at all. Particularly don't use the Windows ICF, and keep an eye on its status when creating a network connection; it has a habit of enabling itself - sometimes even when a 3rd-party firewall is already running.

I think that's everything. Oh, and if you spot the Wireless Network Wizard in the Control Panel, ignore it.

  v8 21:39 23 Jun 06

thanks for all that ade.h
everything seems to have worked fine - got a little computer in the notification area that says "Wireless Network Connection. Speed: 54.0 Mbps. Signal Strength: Excellent. Status: Acquiring network address."
trouble is, it doesnt acquire a network address - if i run cmd/ipconfig it returns:

Connection-specific DNS suffix: blank
ip address:
subnet mask:
Default gateway: blank

no third party firewall on the computer, and still the same results with windows firewall disabled and my anti virus (avg free) turned off.

if i wire it via ethernet, i have no probs connecting, getting an ip address etc etc.
i have put both MAC addresses (ethernet and wireless card) into the allowed connections in the router.

any help on sorting this is, as usual, greatly appreciated. cheers, rob

  ade.h 22:17 23 Jun 06

If it cannot acquire an IP from the DHCP service, then it is possible that you are not connecting correctly. For example, you may not have switched on your adapter early enough, or your router may not have been running long enough to establish the internet connection (which can take a few minutes).

If my Intel adapter is switched off - as it will be if I have been using my laptop away from home - I cannot just switch it on at any time and expect it to connect. If my laptop has been in standby or hibernation with the adapter off, I have to reboot it before turning it on; the router sometimes needs a reboot as well, especially if I was absent minded and let the "acquiring network address" situation occur. My router is always off at night, so I am careful to leave it for five minutes or so before switching on my laptop in the morning.

Option 2 is that your laptop's configuration is incorrect: for example, you may not be using the right protocol or a particular service may not be running.

By the way; don't disable your AV at any time. It has no effect on network or internet connections. You can run without a firewall, but don't run without an AV at any time.

  ade.h 22:19 23 Jun 06

Oh, and triple-quadruple check all your wireless settings at the other end, such as the WPA-PSK. I have seen people trying to connect and swearing blind that their key is correct, but they were one figure out or something!

  mgmcc 22:30 23 Jun 06

Have you followed ade.h's instructions for connecting to the wireless network? If so, and "connecting" has been successful, the little icon for your network should now have its "halo", per this screenshot click here

If it does have its "halo" but hasn't got an IP address, right click the Wireless Network Connection in the Network Connections folder and select Repair. This should force a renewal of the IP address.

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