Troubleshooting Wireless Networks

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Joe writes, I have a Linksys “B” game adapter. Try as I might I can’t get it to work on my “G” wireless network. The router is configured correctly, the WEP encryption is configured on both the router and the game adapter correctly. I am at a loss. Do you have any suggestions on how to make the network “see” the game adapter?
I tend to sit in the camp that believes if it is configured correctly, it’s already working. 😉 Networking is always a tricky proposition, especially when you are trying to get a handful of components using slightly different standards to all play nice. If it’s in your budget, the easy solution is to dump the 802.11b game adapter and purchase an 802.11g game adapter. Using 802.11b devices on a network with a bunch of 802.11g devices slows down the network for all the other devices on the network, which doesn’t really help network performance for everything else. Gaming is almost always better with higher network speeds, which is why hardcore gamers swear by wired connections over wireless. If upgrading isn’t an option, there are a number of configuration options on your router to verify:
1) Most of the Linksys 802.11g routers offer more than one option for wireless networking. A G-only mode prevents 802.11b wireless devices from connecting, while a mixed B & G network mode supports both. If your router is set to G-only, an 802.11b devices will not connect to your network.
2) MAC Address Filtering is another common trouble spot. If you MAC address filtering turned on, only devices listed in the MAC address table on the router will be able to connect, even if you can see the network. If you have this feature turned on, you need to enter the MAC address for the game adapter in the list of approved MAC addresses before a connection will succeed.
3) WEP encryption is a common source of incompatibility. While Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) is a standard, I have found many networking problems when trying to connect devices to WEP enabled networks. Turn off WEP encryption temporarily to verify whether the encryption is causing a problem on your network. Long term, you really want to use WPA encryption, which provides more security for your data. WEP is better than nothing, but isn’t really a secure solution.
4) If you have an 802.11b router in your house, verify whether the gaming adapter will connect to the B router. If it will connect to the B router, consider segmenting your wireless network to have the gaming adapter route through the 802.11b router with all other wireless traffic routing through your G router. This has two advantages: Your problem is solved and any G devices take advantage of the G network without having a legacy B device slowing down the network.