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I have a Panasonic Toughbook with an embedded Verizon Wireless air card. We are currently running XP, but are considering an upgrade to Windows 7. My question is: If I install Windows 7, is there any way to get the Verizon Wireless aircard to connect to the Verizon Wireless network prior to login so that users can log directly into the VPN. The purpose of this is to be able to have field units be able to authenticate against the Windows Server and get group policy updates. If this is not possible, are there any other solutions that might achieve a similar goal?

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2 Answers 2

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Verizon Wireless mobile broadband cards use the Dial-Up Networking function of Windows to establish a connection. (If you look, the VZAccess Manager software creates a dial-up connection in the Network and Sharing Center.) You can use this and the Pre-Logon Access Providers function of Windows 7 to login using the mobile broadband card.

After you install the Verizon software, run it once so it properly sets up your card's drivers and connection settings, and connect once to make sure everything works. Then, disconnect and close the software. Click on the Network icon next to the clock on the Windows taskbar, where you'd normally choose a wireless connection. There should be a listing for a Verizon connection. Click on that, and choose Connect. A box will pop up asking for logon credentials, pre-filled to Verizon's generic credentials (the connection is authenticated by the hardware and the network, not Windows). Select the option that allows you to save the password for all users and click Connect. (User Account Control may prompt for elevation.) The connection will now be configured for systemwide use. Repeat this process for the VPN connection to make it usable by PLAP as well.

From now on, there will be a blue button to the left of the red shutdown button on the logon screen that will allow users to log on using the mobile broadband connection:

PLAP button highlighted on Windows logon screen

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Fantastic, that you so much for your response! –  bobert5064 Apr 10 '11 at 1:10

Another way is to add an entry in the registry to run the network connection at machine startup, before login. After setting up a working connection in VZAccess manager or similar, a mbs (mobile broadband service?) profile should be created.

You can see the name of your profile(s) by running

netsh mbs show profile

In the registry, add a string value under HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run. Create any meaningful name for the key. The value should be something like:

%comspec% /c netsh wlan connect name="<profile name>"

I've used this for a VPN client, NetMotion, so that it could before user logon. An answer from this post helped.

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