Windows 7 - Trouble connecting to a 'non ssid broadcasting' wifi network

Asked By Gregor Stefka on 30-Dec-08 04:15 AM
Hi all,

i try to keep it small and to the point:
i ve got a Toshiba Protege R500 + Windows XP SP3 and all the latest greatest
drivers+firmwares from Toshiba (auto update toshiba tool). The R500 works
without any problems on almost all WiFi Network i ve come in touch with
accept of two. These two (cisco aironet based) networks  do not broadcast
their SSID.  Other devices (HP compaq nc6400, HP iPAQ 214, etc) can connect
to the non-broadcasting cisco WiFi Networks without any Problem.
The settings on the nc6400 and the Protege R500 are as far as i can tell,
exactly the same.

What i ve tried so far on the Protege R500:
- Using Intel Software to manage WiFi Networks, with no luck
- Using the Toshiba Software to manage WiFi Networks, with no luck
- Using Windows zero config to manage WiFi Networks, with no luck

Its preefered to use Windows zero config, the other two were just a try to
solve the problem.
The option "Connect even if the network is not broadcasting" is enabled.

So: Why does the Protege R500 can connect to all and every WiFi Network
which broadcasts its
ssid but not to networks that do not broadcast its ssid?

any help is greatly appreciated

Gregor Stefka

Pavel A. replied on 30-Dec-08 04:51 AM
Ok, I'll try to reply shortly and to the point.
The driver and SP3 WZC client definitely support connection
to non-broadcasting SSIDs.
A sniffer can help to explain what's going:
- configuration problem on PC side, or wrong driver version
- configuration problem on the AP side
- a bug :(

-- PA
Gregor Stefka replied on 30-Dec-08 05:08 AM
Can you point me in the right direction? How do I diagnose this with what
Wireshark?  or some special WiFi Sniffer?
What I am I looking for once I ve got sniffed something?

Gregor Stefka
Pavel A. replied on 30-Dec-08 05:50 AM
This already is not going to be a short reply ;)
I've used Omnipeek, others could recommend Wireshark or something else.

Look for probe requests from your PC for the specified SSID,
on the channel specified on your AP; and whether
the AP replies to them. If it does reply - what follows.

Gregor Stefka replied on 30-Dec-08 08:42 AM
Thank you for your help Pavel!
I ve hoped that something like this (sniffing/analyzing the network traffic)
is the absolute last resort
and there are less drastic options for me to try first. Any local security
policy / registry or driver
setting of some kind,.....just something quick & simple. :-(

Gregor Stefka
Pavel A. replied on 30-Dec-08 09:21 AM
Hmm. Then can you enable SSID broadcast on the router,
will it help? If not, the channel of the router may be
unsupported or blocked in the wi-fi adapter,
or the router has some kind of security, MAC address
filtering, etc.