How to join [PowerBook G4 17"] to an encrypted wireless network? HELP!!!!!!!!!!

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by diehldun, Nov 18, 2003.

  1. diehldun macrumors 6502a

    Nov 15, 2003
    I have finally decided tomorow is the day: I will get to pick up my very own, brand-new Apple PowerBook 17-inch! YAY.

    but, I have one final question, which Apple Store doesn't really answer that well for me:

    I currently have a 256-bit data-encryption wireless networking (D-Link). all the PC's in the house are connected. I am concerned only because on the internet, Apple seems to say that it will only work for :

    40-bit hex
    40-bit ASCII
    128-bit hex
    128-bit ASCII

    it never once mentions 256-bit.

    i was told when I purchased the set that 256-bit is not as common as 128-bit, but offers more security.

    is it possible for an Apple Airport Extreme card to connect to an encrypted 256-bit wireless network? i know for a fact that the network is a 802.11g. (pardon me- i'm not that techno-whiz when it comes to all the fancy language in computers!)

    i really need to know this by tonight (Apple Store for some reasons won't clearly answer me). because if it doesn't, then it [Powerbook] is completely out of the question.

    also, is the connection still fast when using an Apple AirPort wireless card in a PC-network? I am not too sure.

    thanks again!
  2. makingmesick macrumors newbie

    Nov 18, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Hi there, well I am new to the Mac scene, but I am the owner of a brand new 15" powerbook. I purchased the airport card with it and I too have a wireless network at home (all PCs). Unfortunately, I don't think the airport card supports 256Bit encryption, I've been using 128 ASCII without any issues. As far as speed, Browsing both the internet and the internal network is pretty fast, downloading large files is a little slower (or seems like it) but not enough to abandon it. Actually, if you are running a DSL line at home, then the wireless network is probably running faster than the DSL line itself, so you will not see a decrease in performance at all. Hope this helps. If you have further quetions you can PM me, or email me. I am a pc tech and network tech on my spare time! =)
  3. diehldun thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Nov 15, 2003

  4. manitoubalck macrumors 6502a


    Jul 17, 2003
    Adelaide, Australia
    Sorry to burst you bubble but it would be one tightass to sit out the front of your house and use you internet, or hack your computers(do you have something to hide?.) I don't see the need for high level encryption in a home user environment. Maybe it's just my upbringing in Australia but have a little faith in the rest of humanity
  5. dotcomlarry macrumors regular

    Jul 16, 2002
    Akron, PA
    Why isn't 128-bit good enough? as a Home user, 40-bit would be even good enough. If you're concerned about people joining the network, just limit it to your wireless computers' MAC addresses...
  6. Westside guy macrumors 603

    Westside guy

    Oct 15, 2003
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    Re: anyone...

    1) The powerbook will NOT do 256-bit WEP

    2) It doesn't matter. Here's why.

    The algorithm for cracking WEP works equally fast on 40-bit, 128-bit, 256-bit,1024-bit... there's a design flaw inherent in WEP; that's why it's a problem. So for speed's sake on my home network I just use 40-bit.

    What you REALLY want to be using is WPA, which OS X Panther does support and D-Link is slowly rolling out for all its products.

    For now, here's what to do for a reasonable level of security:

    1) Turn on WEP (use 40/64-bit for speed's sake)
    2) Turn off SSID broadcast
    3) Change the SSID of your router
    4) Turn on MAC filtering**, and add only those MAC addresses associated with network cards in computers you own.
    5) Go around to all the client computers and make the appropriate changes to SSID, WEP keys, etc.

    ** BUT FIRST, be sure to enter the MAC address for the computer you're using to configure your D-Link router!

    Don't just take my word on WEP's problems; just do a Web search. It's very well known in tech circles. Here is one succinct and not-all-that-technical article that might be useful:,14179,2897654,00.html
  7. diehldun thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Nov 15, 2003
    how to switch back to 128-bit

    ok ok ok so I will wait until November 28 (Friday) when the 10% discount off all Apple products when I buy my powerbook.

    i guess that 256-bit was a bit overkill in terms of security (i though the safer, the better). i guess not, as it affects performance and speed.

    the only problem I have is that i have absolutely NO clue regarding the encryption-idea. infact, when i first purchased the DLink networking, i had someone come over just to set all the codes and software (believe me, the most i can do is just follow what the directions say on the manual booklet).

    is it very hard switching from 256-bit to 128-bit??? i hope it doesn't mean redoing EVERY process.

    and also, i found out that my DLink is not 802.11g, but rather 802.11b. will this affect overall performance as well??? ( i am getting so concerned about this i thought i might as well get the AirPort station along with it! ;-P )
  8. Westside guy macrumors 603

    Westside guy

    Oct 15, 2003
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    Re: how to switch back to 128-bit

    It is pretty easy, especially if you've kept the paperwork that came with your D-Link router. You just fire up your browser, type in and log in (the username is probably "admin", and there's no password unless the person you had set it up changed it). From that point it's just clicking on buttons and drop-down menus, following the directions.

    But it does mean changing this on your router AND all of your computers. But really it is easy.

    As far as encryption goes: Normally the size of an encryption key does matter, so 256-bit would be better than 64-bit. But WEP makes up part of the key itself with what's called a 24-bit initialization vector (IV), AND that is sent totally unencrypted! So a person trying to hack into a WEP network doesn't have to guess long passwords; they just gather a few million of these IVs and can basically just calculate the password (key) you've chosen. So that's why I said 40-bit is just as good as 128 or 256. Bad programs like NetSnort just lazilly collect IVs until they've got enough, and then they can calculate the key in one or two seconds (that's taken from their home page).

    802.11g is five times as fast as 802.11b in theory, but for most things it really doesn't matter. Your shared internet connection is probably much slower than either of them. If you're sharing a printer, it still only takes a fraction of a second to send the entire print job. The only time you'll see a difference is if you're transferring lots (hundreds of megabytes) of data from one of your computers to a different one. That's not going to happen very often, I'd guess.

    Also, if you bought an 802.11g access point like the Airport base station, you're not going to see a benefit unless you buy 802.11g cards for all your computers! It's been shown that even one 802.11b client will basically pull the entire network down to its speed (I'm overly simplifying but basically that's the truth).

    edit: I just realized I gave the wrong IP address for setting up the D-Link router. It is (I've corrected it above too). Sorry!

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