Why doesn't my internet work sometimes on a wireless network?

hikeNM

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
I travel alot. I have a Tibook with an Airport card. Admittedly, I know very little about wireless networks, except that my trusty powerbook usually recognizes when a network is in range and asks me if I want to join it. Brilliant.

Sometimes though, when I join a network, the internet still won't connect. And it's not because the network isn't hitting the internet. Somebody at the next table will usually be able to.

Are there ways that a network can be restricted to allowing somebody to join the network, but not be able to use the internet through that network? Or, is there something I'm doing wrong?

Thanks
 

Applespider

macrumors G4
Some hotspots will require that you have an account with the access provider. The PB will find the network and appear to join it but you then have to sign in.

Sometimes, it's set up so that if you try to go to any webpage, it will be redirected to a sign in page. Other times, you need to figure out what the provider's webpage is, where there'll usually be somewhere to sign in.
 

hikeNM

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Applespider said:
Some hotspots will require that you have an account with the access provider. The PB will find the network and appear to join it but you then have to sign in.

Sometimes, it's set up so that if you try to go to any webpage, it will be redirected to a sign in page. Other times, you need to figure out what the provider's webpage is, where there'll usually be somewhere to sign in.
Thanks for the reply.

So it can join the network, but not use anything from the network?
 

Applespider

macrumors G4
yeah since you have to be able to access the network so it can take you through its account authentication which is usually online. It just limits you to their home page until you provide it - you can usually buy hourly timeslots etc. I think if you're on a PC using IE, it will automatically pop up the appropriate webpage. T-mobile does in the UK even on the Mac but BT Openzone over here, I have to go to btopenzone.com manually since it doesn't always bring up the page automatically.

Thankfully, at least in Europe, a lot of the providers are starting to provide roaming capability so if you have a BT account you can also use T-mobile etc. I don't know what the equivalent in the US is.
 

Mitthrawnuruodo

Moderator emeritus
Mar 10, 2004
13,807
179
Bergen, Norway
You can easily check if you have found a network that should take you anywhere if you open Network preferences... (in System Preferences or directly under Apple menu -> Location).

If you choose Show: Network Status you get the status of your Airport connection with a little red/yellow/green light and a short summary...

If the light is red you haven't got any connections, and if it's green then you should be able to go online. (Even if it's green you may have a problem if you cannot connect to a DNS server, but that's not a common problem...)

If it's orange (and the summary mentions a "selfassigned address") then you have connected to the network, but you have not gotten any (usable) IP address, which you need to go online. Often this can be obtained by entering some sort of portal, as explained by Applespider, but on rare occasions (but not as rare as they should be) it can also be because you have connected to a network which is wrongly configured and thus not accessible for Macs...
 
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