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I'm setting up two PCs, and I've been having massive troubles getting a USB wireless dongle working. I have two Sony VAIOs (Windows XP, SP2) that I found second-hand, and since they will be in a location too far to connect by Ethernet, I need to connect them by wireless. Easiest and cheapest way to do that at the moment is by using two USB wireless sticks that I've had for a while, but never used.

One of the computers is using a SMC-manufactured card, whereas the other is using a Belkin F5D7050. The box with the SMC card can see and authenticate with my router just fine, and has no problem obtaining a DHCP lease. The box with the Belkin, on the other hand, isn't so lucky. While it can see my router and associate with it, it will not obtain a DHCP-issued address. Worse, when I assign a static IP address to the NIC, it can ping the entire network and access the internet (meaning it can authenticate with the router), but no computer can ping to it UNLESS that computer pinged the computer that's pinging it first.

Confused? Well, so am I. Has anyone had this issue before? Is this just a sign of a bad card? (For the moment, I have it connected by Ethernet, as I haven't moved it yet. However, this will be a problem when I set it up in its new home later.)

Thanks!

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let me see if i'm following. the Belkin vaio can ping the whole network; other computers on the network can ping the Belkin if-and-only-if the Belkin has pinged them first? any Windows Firewall on the Belkin? (try disabling or making sure ICMP is not blocked.) –  quack quixote May 11 '10 at 1:48
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2 Answers

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Sounds likely to be a multicast problem. As an experiment, try temporarily disabling wireless security on the network and setting the multicast rate to 1mbps (or whatever is the lowest rate your wireless router will allow). If that clears up the problem, it's a strong indication that it's a multicast problem.

Usually multicast problems don't cause problems for DHCP, but I've seen some wireless routers that send their DHCP Offers and DHCP Acks as broadcasts for no good reason, which could be part of the problem here.

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Sorry for the lack of updates here; the machines were never used in the environment, so the problem went unsolved. Thank you for the help! –  Carlos Nunez Mar 28 '11 at 5:53
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Computer A not being able to ping you Belkin until the Belkin has ping Computer A, kinda sounds like an ARP issue.

ARP is used to resolve a computers hardware address when you know its IP address, it is how computers on one network communicate. So, why can't Computer A resolve the MAC address of the belkin.

Can you put a packet sniffer on the network and monitor what's going on?

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