MN740 & WPA (Chris - any thoughts)

Discussion in 'Broadband Hardware' started by Jim, Jan 11, 2005.

  1. Jim

    Jim Guest

    Gang,

    It seems a shame that the MN740 doesn't support WPA-PSK (at the moment it
    only supports the weaker 64/128 WEP standard). My network consists of the
    MN820 wireless G kit and the MN740. My home computer (XP Pro SP2) is wired
    directly to the MN700 and I use the PCM card for my work laptop. I am forced
    to use the flimsy WEP for my encryption because of the limitations of the
    MN740. I am in the process of putting a new computer on my network that will
    be connected via a PCI Wireless G card, but again, I'll have to settle for
    WEP.

    I think the issue that has me a little animated regarding this subject is
    the new DLink game adapter (see links below). It has all the advantages of
    the MN740 + WPA-PSK... and it looks exactly like the MN740 (I guess maybe
    they make it for Microsoft). It even has hooks into the XBOX dashboard,
    which is the only advantage the MN740 had over the competitors.

    When MS released the MN740 it was the newest one on the market to support
    802.11G, but didn't support WPA even though the standard did exist. I
    thought for sure (and everyone else did on this newsgroup) they would
    release a firmware update to support WPA. I know that MS has stopped
    manufacturing their line of wireless products EXCEPT the MN740. If they had
    stopped making and selling this I could understand them not being interested
    in adding this feature, but they are still selling it.

    I'm not sure if there are technical limitations in distributing a firmware
    release to support the WPA standard to a piece of hardware that extends the
    XBOX functionality. I guess they would have to patch the dashboard to
    support the new option and that could be problematic because not everyone
    that has the MN740 uses it to connect to XBOX Live. This would force MS
    offer some sort of CD to update the dashboard - obviously complicating
    matters.

    I guess I needed to vent ;-) I'm not a MS basher - in fact I owe my
    livelihood to MS as I am a programmer and use their tools almost
    exclusively, but I really would like to understand this issue better.

    Thanks reading my rant ;-)

    Jim

    New DGL-3420 info...
    Picture: ftp://ftp10.dlink.com/images/products/DGL-3420/DGL-3420.jpg
    Specs: http://games.dlink.com/products/?pid=383
     
    Jim, Jan 11, 2005
    #1
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  2. Jim

    Chris H. Guest

    Jim, I agree in your venting on the lack of WPA support on the MN-740. That
    device came from the Xbox side of the hardware house at Microsoft, and not
    the now-defunct networking hardware team which created the regular computer
    routers/base stations and adapters which were dropped by Microsoft last
    spring.

    That said, putting WPA on the MN-740 - as I understand it - would require a
    different hardware configuration or chip, not just the Xbox Dashboard setup
    as you suggest. So I seriously doubt any "update" for the MN-740 software
    will be forthcoming in the hardware area.
     
    Chris H., Jan 11, 2005
    #2
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  3. Jim

    Chris H. Guest

    Slight correction here. The MN-740 does run the Atheros chip, like the new
    D-Link
    DGL-3420. However, I still would not look for a software update enabling
    WPA from the Microsoft folks.
     
    Chris H., Jan 11, 2005
    #3
  4. And that is very sad. I mean why would you degrade all of the security in
    your house for an Xbox? My current Xbox wireless setup is running the
    prorietary 256 dlink encryption with no degredation in performance. I don't
    see how WPA 256bit could be that worse.

    I'm soon switching to an MN-700, and it chaps my hide that MS doesn't
    include WPA support for the 740, otherwise I'd be buying another product
    from them. For now I'm going to find another vendor for the WPA bridge to
    the Xbox, and that is unacceptable.
     
    Joseph Wallis, Jan 12, 2005
    #4
  5. Jim

    Chris H. Guest

    I agree, but there isn't anything as a user like you I can do except
    complain via the Microsoft Wish program:
    http://register.microsoft.com/mswish/suggestion.asp

    However, since you've mentioned adding another router to your system you CAN
    segment the Xbox device off on its own portion of your LAN so it is isolated
    from the "important" stuff.

    Check out Microsoft MVP Barb Bowman's article regarding this subject on the
    Expert Zone:
    http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/networking/expert/bowman_segnet.mspx
     
    Chris H., Jan 12, 2005
    #5
  6. Jim

    Jim Guest

    I'm glad to see that others feel the same way. Thanks for the input... maybe
    I'll enter something in the suggestion box. What are the odds that anyone
    looks at that and, if they do, that anyone will care. I know... very
    pessimistic, but I guess one never knows until you try ;-)

    This news group is always filled with the "it doesn't work" stories, and
    rightly so. But this one is more like "It works good, but would be great if
    only MS would extend their recent security focus to their wireless
    products". MS should know that this leaves the home network very vulnerable
    and is as important as blocking spyware and viruses, which they seem very
    focused on given XP SP2, their accusation of Giant for AntiSpyware, their
    upcoming beta for an AntiVirus, etc.

    I just would like to see a company step up to the plate and say, "hey - we
    know there is a significant (in this case security) gap in what this product
    provides and we'd like to fix it".

    Again, this topic is just cathartic in nature. It feels good to express the
    frustration and have others agree.

    Jim
     
    Jim, Jan 12, 2005
    #6
  7. Jim

    Chris H. Guest

    Remember, this newsgroup is peer support. The MVPs you see posting here do
    so voluntarily, on their own time. When the Broadband Networking products
    first came out, there were Microsoft hardware folks here nearly on a daily
    basis, but that division was dropped at Microsoft. The MN-740 comes of the
    Xbox side of the house, was never actively supported here officially, and I
    believe one needs to be a Master Chief to have access to those folks. :cool:
     
    Chris H., Jan 12, 2005
    #7
  8. Jim

    Tim Guest

    Well, for me it is justthe fact i flatout feel denied. I
    love the product as it works well. And what chaps my
    hide about it is this little quote that can be found on
    the product information page for the mn-740:

    "Upgradeable for future security features."
    found here under High Security:
    http://www.microsoft.com/hardware/broadbandnetworking/prod
    uctdetails.aspx?pid=015#

    to me, that says they had plans to do it, and for the
    better part left us high and dry....and more importantly,
    unsecure....


    Tim
     
    Tim, Jan 14, 2005
    #8
  9. Jim

    Chris H. Guest

    I agree, Tim. We all want the best security on our LANs, and it is more
    necessary is some residential areas than others. However, there is a way to
    get around it as I posted previously, to segment your LAN to isolate the
    Xbox, and provide higher security for your computers. What can anyone do
    accessing your Xbox? :cool:
     
    Chris H., Jan 14, 2005
    #9
  10. Since I first wrote about segmenting WEP segments, things have changed
    in the security world. It's no longer safe to have a WEP only segment
    on the same network under most conditions. A new column on wireless
    zecurity reflecting today's frames of references will be up very soon
    on the Expert Zone.

    I've replaced my MN-740s with DLink DWL-G820's which offer WPA. I've
    removed all WEP only devices from my network.
     
    Barb Bowman [MVP-Windows], Jan 14, 2005
    #10
  11. There isn't much they can do to the Xbox, but the fact
    that it is passing the WEP key gives hackers a window
    into your network. By dropping having to drop down to
    WEP for the Xbox, you are exposing your entire network.
    Having to segment off the network is an expensive and
    unnecessary kludge thanks to Microsoft dropping the ball.

    Everyone write in the wish list link provided and demand
    WPA. It takes several voices and this isn't rocket
    science to implement.
     
    Joseph Wallis, Jan 15, 2005
    #11
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