Troubleshooting: Securing Home Wireless Networks

Q: I’m having a problem with my wireless connection at home. Internet browsing works for a while but then goes dead — even after several reboots. Two days later, it will magically work again. The wireless router has a laptop and a desktop with a Cat5 cable connected to it. The strange thing is that the desktop, a three-year-old workstation, works. Help!

– Robin

A: This happened to a buddy of mine. I decided to pay him a visit, as there is only so much you can do remotely.

When I took a look at the connections, I saw that his Linksys wireless router was hooked up to Vonage, a Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) device. My friend said he hadn’t experienced any interruptions in phone service while his laptop Internet connection was down, which surprised me since Vonage relies on an Internet connection. Since the desktop workstation was working and there weren’t any phone issues, I figured the problem probably wasn’t related to the Internet service provider (ISP).

When I powered up the laptop, I found that it was associated to a wireless SSID (service set identifier) named “Linksys” and received an IP, but would not connect to the Internet. It was able to ping the default gateway, but couldn’t get to the domain name system (DNS). Meanwhile, the desktop computer was connecting just fine.

I compared the configurations side by side. Both used the same SSID, but after running the “ipconfig” command, I found they were on…



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