Setup Belkin Wireless Router N150 with Windows Vista Home Basic

Summary:

If you have encountered problem when you are trying to hook up the Router with your Windows Vista Home Basic edition, see if that gets better by choosing “WEP 64 bit Network Key encryption type” for your Router (in security section of your router setup page), and you are good to go. [I have to warn you that this is not a very secure encryption method, if you think you are surrounded by hackers, you should consider either upgrade your Windows Vista to Windows 7, or change other brand of Wireless Router]

Update:

Since the Wi-Fi Alliance is seeking to abandon and ban the use of WEP standard from 2013, I took my friend’s computer back and have it installed and patched with all recent Microsoft updates, and the problem has gone. He is on WPA2-AES now. So, if you had the same problem, please have all your windows updates installed. [Period]

My friend has bought a Belkin Wireless Router N150 from Walmart. He had a Toshiba laptop with a Windows Vista home basic edition. I thought the setup process is going to be the same, typical, not-so-intellectually-challenging and familiar thing I’ve repeated many of times during the past several years.

As usual, the first thing you would do when setup a wireless router is unplugging WAN cable from back of your computer, and plug the cable to the wireless router. And then, looking for all the available wireless networks from your computer, recognize which network is the very network you are trying to connect, and connect to the network. Usually, Windows (or your OS) will pop up a dialog box and prompt you to enter “network key” or “passphrase” in order to connect to the encrypted network.

Everything went very smooth by then. After I entered the passphrase provided by the manufacturer, my Lenovo T400 Windows 7 laptop computer was successfully connected to the Wireless internet. (When I help someone to setup a wireless network, I always carry my laptop with me, just in case. Because sometimes my friends messed up with their computers, and such mess will directly influence the result.)

I thought the whole setup process was finished. BUT, when I tried to connect to the wireless network with his computer, weird thing has happened. His computer would find the network, but would take forever to be connected. Also, network icon in bottom-right hand side of screen shows the computer is already connected to the wireless network, but neither Windows showed any confirmation nor web browsers would successfully load a web page.

After almost an hour of trial and error process, I have discovered that it might have something to do with router’s encryption method. In a nutshell, Windows Vista Home Basic would not support advanced level of encryption method recommended by the router’s manufacturer.

Initially, by default, the router was using AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) encryption – a method used by US government computers. When I switched encryption method into WEP(Wired Equivalent Privacy) 128bit network key method, his Windows Vista popped up a dialog box and told me that I might need additional security certificates in order to be connected. But my Windows 7 computer have received such information. This is the point where I began to suspect that it might have something to do with levels of the encryption method. As inferred by my thoughts, then I switched the encryption method into WEP 64bit network key method, which successfully connected his computer with router.

So this was a case of incompatible encryption method between Windows Vista Home Basic and Belkin Wireless Router.

It is very unfortunate that in this point, his computer can only use WEP 64 bit method, while his router can support AES. Because WEP is considered as easy to break and not very secure method of encryption in nowadays. Hopefully, either Belkin or Microsoft can fix this problem in not so distant future.

Any suggestions or different idea? Please let me know.

I am also suspecting that my friend’s computer has been rejected by his router, because he has not been installing all Windows updates from Microsoft, so that Router has not found necessary certificate information from his computer. He was with SP2, by the way.

Update:
This article from Microsoft, seems supporting my theory.
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/935222
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2 Responses to Setup Belkin Wireless Router N150 with Windows Vista Home Basic

  1. Pingback: Setup Belkin Wireless Router N150 with Windows Vista Home Basic … : : router

  2. alex says:

    I resolved this issue by updating the Atheros driver for my Toshiba Satellite via Windows Update.

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