Enabling WPA rather than WEP on Dell laptop

  bart warstein 14:20 27 Apr 06

I'm preparing to set up a wifi connection for broadband on my Dell Inspiron 8600 laptop (which has built-in Intel 2100 Mini PCI wifi adapter). According to an article in PC Advisor (Oct 2004)computers such as mine - ie more than a year or two old - may not be enabled for WPA protection, only for WEP. The article says that (a) a patch to enable use of WPA encryption has to be downloaded from Microsoft - ref is possibly 815485?...and also that (b) before doing so on Intel Centrino laptops, one has to check with the manufacturer whether to upgrade the Intel drivers in order for the patch to work.

This isn't exactly crystal clear. How can I find out if my Inspiron needs any updated drivers (do I get them from Dell or Intel?), and how can I tell if I need the MS patch? I'd rather make sure my computer is set up properly for WPA encryption before I try to set up the router and the connection.

  Aargh 15:22 27 Apr 06

Have you actually tried to set up WPA yet?

The MS updates come from windows via their update service - update to SP2 if not already done so and install all fixes. Intel support for your PCI is here
click here

It should be capable of WPA.

  Aargh 15:27 27 Apr 06

Or perhaps more directly here

click here

It supplies the windows patch and updated driver/software for your card.

  bart warstein 21:50 27 Apr 06

Thanks, Aargh. I'd been doing some more research, and it's clear that as I've already installed SP2, I have the necessary WPA-related software in the OS. Both MS and Intel support websites suggest that a driver update may also be necessary for the Intel adapter card. But both say that it should be obtained from the laptop manufacturer (Dell, in my case), not the generic one from the Intel site - because the maker may have modified the device when building/ installing in the computer! And the Dell website isn't clear about whether they offer such an update. Maybe I'll just hit "update driver" in the Device Manager" and see what happens...

  bart warstein 12:41 04 May 06

For the benefit of anyone else reading this thread, a couple of points to note.
The Intel site has a useful chart which shows which device and driver versions support WEp and WPA. See click here

But... updating the Intel 2100 Wireless Adapter can create new problems. I did so, then when shutting down got a popup titled "End Program - Sample" and had to click 'End Now' several times to close down. I feared a virus, or some file-corruption. Turned out this was a known glitch with the Intel PROSet and 2100 adapter(there are posts on the Dell forum about it). I had to uninstall and reinstall the entire Intel PROSet utility to get rid of this End Program popup.

Hope this helps....

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