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Old 01-03-2009, 08:40 PM   #1
borgward
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Windows Only WiFi spot?


I was at a coffee shop. Connected w/Window laptop, but not W/Linux laptop.

Kwlan reported :

eth0 is disconnected
The radio is off

The scan results window comes up empty.

On the windows machine, I clicked on the wireless icon and then clicked on "View wireless conections" then clicked on "The Coffee House" and then entered the access code they gave me.

I am running an old PII Latitude CPi w/Netgear MA401 PCMCIA card. This laptop is so old that it does not have wireless, MODEM, and no Ethernet port. The Windows XP laptop is identical to the Linux one.

The Windows laptop is running XP and is using a Netgear MA521 802.11b PCMCIA card
The Linux one runs Knoppix 5.1.1 installed on the HDD and is using a Netgear MA401 card. It does not have an Ethernet card or adapter attached.

I just booted it up at home, brought up Firefox, and automatically got a connection. I have not changed any settings between the coffee house and home.

At the coffee house the card was blinking, indicating that it is on, but not connected. I am not running any encryption on it either.

The KWLAN icons at the bottom right of the screen were: The Green one With K under 3 green curved line was lit up. The one to the right of it, 2 blue dots w/3 blue curves over it were darkened out.

Remember, the other identical laptop saw their signal, and let me connect after entering their ID number. Again, it had a Netgear PCMCIA wireless card 802.11b

I am wondering why the Linux laptop did not see their signal, why Kwlan reported that the WiFi card was disconnected, when the cards blinking light indicated that it was turned on, and why this behavior at this and some other spots, but it works at most places.

I have heard of some free WiFi places denying access to anything but Windows. Has anybody heard of this?

Last edited by borgward; 01-03-2009 at 08:43 PM.
 
Old 01-04-2009, 02:32 AM   #2
everest40
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Quote:
I have heard of some free WiFi places denying access to anything but Windows. Has anybody heard of this?
I've never heard of it, but I wouldn't be surprised. Did you get a good signal strength at the coffee house on the Windows laptop?
 
Old 01-04-2009, 03:13 AM   #3
MS3FGX
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I have never heard of anyone denying wireless access to non-Windows platforms, and I am almost positive it isn't even technically possible. You could block a system from accessing various network services through a captive portal (or even just using proprietary software), but you couldn't stop a particular OS from authenticating against your AP, that is layer 2 connectivity, below the operating system itself.

Unless I am misunderstanding the situation, it sounds like you just need to properly setup encryption to connect to the network. The "access code" they gave you is the WEP or WPA key, which you need to configure under Linux before the card can authenticate with the network. Without the key, the machine will simply fail to connect to the network after a few seconds.
 
Old 01-04-2009, 12:17 PM   #4
borgward
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Quote:
Originally Posted by everest40 View Post
I've never heard of it, but I wouldn't be surprised. Did you get a good signal strength at the coffee house on the Windows laptop?
I just got a reply from the Netgear moderator who indicated that a WiFi spot can deny access to b. I am waitng for more details about how. However in this case the spot saw b from the windows laptop.

Very good strength
 
Old 01-04-2009, 12:29 PM   #5
borgward
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MS3FGX View Post
I have never heard of anyone denying wireless access to non-Windows platforms, and I am almost positive it isn't even technically possible. You could block a system from accessing various network services through a captive portal (or even just using proprietary software), but you couldn't stop a particular OS from authenticating against your AP, that is layer 2 connectivity, below the operating system itself.

Unless I am misunderstanding the situation, it sounds like you just need to properly setup encryption to connect to the network. The "access code" they gave you is the WEP or WPA key, which you need to configure under Linux before the card can authenticate with the network. Without the key, the machine will simply fail to connect to the network after a few seconds.
The situation is that the MA401 is not even seeing their signal. I do not even have the opportunity to input the access code.

At coffee house KWLAN reports:

eth0 is disconnected
The radio is off

The cards indicator light is flashing which indicates to me that the card is turned on.

What does "The radio is off" mean. I take it that the card does not see their WiFi signal.

I am running Knoppix 5.1.1 on the laptop HDD. KWLAN 0.5.8 (Using KDE 3.5.5)

Shouldn't the card see their signal regardless of encryption being on or off?
 
Old 01-04-2009, 09:32 PM   #6
MS3FGX
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Quote:
What does "The radio is off" mean. I take it that the card does not see their WiFi signal.
"The radio is off" would mean that, literally, the card's transceiver is off (presumably in a power saving mode). Obviously the computer is not going to see any networks if the radio itself is not powered on. The light on the card does not necessarily indicate that the radio is active, more that the card itself is initialized and the driver's are loaded properly.

Have you tried scanning from the command line to see the exact output? Something like:

Code:
iwlist device scan
Where device is the name of your WLAN card (which seems to be eth0 from your posts).
 
  


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