[See this page for a diagram of a Wireless “Infrastructure” setup.]

802.11b (WiFi) cards can communicate in two different modes:

  • “Ad Hoc”– For direct card-to-card communication. [see this page]
  • “Infrastructure” – For communication through an Access Point.

If you are trying to set up a network that consists of mixed Ethernet and wireless clients, you’ll need to use an Access Point (which bridges the two types of networks) and set your wireless card(s)’ properties to match those of the Access Point.

Install your Access Point first and write down the values of the Properties below so that you have them when you set up your wireless clients. Then install your client card and set its wireless Properties as follows:

1) Channel
Set your card to the same channel as the Access Point.

 Tip: You may be able to skip this step.  When set to Infrastructure mode, many wireless client card drivers automatically scan all channels until they find an Access Point with a matching ESSID.

2) Mode (or Network Type)
Set to Infrastructure.

3) SSID (or ESSID [Extended Service Set IDentifier])
Set to the same as the alpha-numeric code as on the Access Point.
NOTE: This is not the same as the BSSID (Basic Service Set IDentifier), which is usually based on the MAC address of the card.

 Tip: Set the ESSID to ANY to connect to any in-range Access Points.

4) Encryption (or WEP)
Set to disable.  You can set this up after you get your connection working.  See this page for help.

If you’ve set all the above wireless Properties correctly and can’t get a connection, check your TCP/IP properties.  If there is a DHCP server on your LAN (usually in your router), then set the wireless card’s TCP/IP properties to obtain IP info from a DHCP server (or obtain info automatically).  Be sure that there is no gateway info entered and that DNS is disabled.  Sometimes doing a manual Release All / Renew using either winipcfg or ipconfig will get things working, even after a reboot.

If you’re setting your IP info manually, you’ll need to make sure you have your IP address set to a unique number in the same subnet as your Access Point.

Example: If your Access Point’s IP address is 192.168.1.22, make sure your client card is set to a different number in the 192.168.1.X subnet.

Use ping to test to see if you have a connection.