To Zero Or Not To Zero?

Discussion in 'Wireless Internet' started by jschall, Feb 11, 2006.

  1. jschall

    jschall Guest

    - that is the question.

    I have installed a Range Expander (Linksys WRE54G) in my WLAN in order
    to get coverage into my "sunroom" - an extension to the back of my
    house. The signal from my WRT54G Access Point in my office is partially
    blocked due to the brick exterior house wall and the aluminum siding of
    the extension. I am trying to link to the AP from a Windows XP SP2
    laptop equipped with a Linksys WPC54G CardBus adapter. The laptop's
    adapter came with the Linksys WLAN Monitor software which displays the
    relative power and MAC addresses of the SSID's it can "see".

    I THINK I finally got the WRE correctly set up. It's a version 1
    expander, and I had to upgrade its firmware to 1.06. I also had to
    upgrade the WRT v5 to firmware 1.00.6. After the upgrades and four or
    five fairly useless live chat sessions with Linksys techies, I FINALLY
    got the Setup Wizard for the WRE to run all the way to the
    "Congratulations!" screen.

    So, I now have the WRE running with two blue lights (link and activity
    lights), and placed in my sunroom so I get a good signal there, and I
    can connect to it and the internet. The WRE is set up with its default
    IP address. I have disabled WEP temporarily until I get the basic setup
    correct. The WRE has "copied" the SSID of the WRT AP.

    Now that I have painted the background, on to the question:

    Should I use Windows XP's Wireless Zero Configuration service on my
    laptop/WPC, or not?

    The default for XP is to have the WZC service start automatically, and
    for the WPC adapter to have the "Enable XP Zero Config" checkbox

    With this arrangement, I note the following behaviour on my laptop:

    I carry the laptop to the living room of my house. The AP signal is
    stronger, but the WRE signal is 50% or better, as displayed in the WLAN
    Monitor. When I "Display Available Networks", XP shows only
    "Connected", with no details of which MAC address is providing the
    connection. But the WLAN Monitor assures me I am connected to the WRT.

    Now I carry the laptop to the sunroom, where the late afternoon winter
    sun is streaming in. Keeping my eye on the WLAN Monitor, I see the
    signal from the WRT gradually drop. But then, Lo! and behold, the
    monitor shows that the MAC address has changed and the signal is
    booming! The WRE has taken over the role of the AP. I THINK this is the
    way it should work.

    If I deselect the "Enable XP Zero Config" checkbox, but leave the WZC
    service running, the switch to the best available signal no longer
    happens automatically, but the WLAN Monitor tool allows me to switch
    over manually.

    Third variation: If I turn OFF WZC altogether and leave the "Enable XP
    Zero Config" checkbox unchecked, the WLAN Monitor software appears to
    make the switch to the best signal automatically!

    So, with my setup as described, what are the advantages and
    disadvantages of running the Windows Wireless Zero Config service?

    None of the above is covered in the Linksys documentation, and the
    Linksys live chat techies don't seem to grasp my situation.

    And a second question, does the above behaviour and setup of the WRE
    appear "normal"? I HATE to have to rely on the Wizard to optimize my
    repeater setup!

    - Jeff Schallenberg
    Saint Lambert, Québec
    jschall, Feb 11, 2006
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  2. jschall

    Rico Guest

    Pick either of the two options you list above that works for moving the
    computer around. There is no real downside to either one. You likely will
    want the WZC running when you come to Myrtle Beach this spring (Can-AM
    week) in the hotel as IMO this makes logging into the hotel network
    easier same would apply to coffee at Starbucks. At home, which do you
    prefer, go with it. Again no real downside. to leaving WZC on or disabled.

    fundamentalism, fundamentally wrong.
    Rico, Feb 11, 2006
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