Halp

Quick appeal – just taken delivery of my shiny new Eee PC 901, but bloody thing cannot connect to my wireless router (Siemens Gigaset SE587). Tiscali "help desk" can only say they haven't been trained on Linux (or Macs, can you believe) and suggest I contact the vendor. The Eee can see my wireless, it just can't connect to it. Anyone got any suggestions? I worked til 8pm tonight and am just too knackered to think straight.

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6 responses to “Halp

  1. Tom March 24, 2009 at 9:41 am

    Things you could try:
    1) Check the password a million times (sorry if this is an insult to your intelligence, but you’d be amazed how many people make this mistake, myself included). Also check that you’re selecting the right encryption type on the laptop – Linux isn’t as good at automatically detecting this as Windows is.
    2) Check the router settings. See what speed setting it’s using, and switch it to 802.11g only (not “mixed mode” or anything like that) if it’s not set up that way already. If that doesn’t work try switching it to 802.11b only mode to see if that works.
    3) You could try downgrading the encryption on the router from WPA to WEP to see if that jump-starts it. Bear in mind, though, that WEP is trivially easy to break so I wouldn’t recommend using it full-time.
    4) Here’s the bad news: when I was testing the Linux Eee 1000 (very similar model) I found that the wireless was just buggy and often failed. In the end I had to install a different operating system to make it work. So, you could try that..
    5) .. or you could return the Eee under the Distance Selling Regulations and get a different model. If it’s within seven working days from delivery you can return the item at no penalty.
    Tom

  2. Rachel March 24, 2009 at 9:48 am

    Oh, poop. I did see on several forums that Linux was a bit crap with wireless, but I deliberately wanted Linux over Windows that I’d rather try buying new routers before giving up 🙂
    The whole WEP / WPA thing got confusing – the only thing Tiscali guy was useful for was telling what it was, and that if I flip over the router I could find the WEP key. Unfortunately the Eee then said the key was tooo long and I was tired to sit there and figure it out.
    Thanks, that’s all really useful – annoyingly I doubt I’ll be able to try any of it until just inside the 7 working days limit (away – hello, burglars!), but I think I do recall seeing ‘Mixed’ on my router settings yesterday. I’m also going to try re-installing the router. I tend not to futureproof and it would be just typical if I’ve checked something that says ‘don’t allow anyone to connect wirelessly to this router’ for some dumb security paranoia. (My desktop doesn’t have wireless; again, spot the lack of futureproofing.)
    But apart from that, the Eee is lovely. I kept walking past it yesterday saying “oh, you’re so cute!”. I’m such a girl.

  3. Tom March 24, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    Linux is generally OK with wireless – there’s just (annoyingly) something a bit wrong with the version used by Asus. I dragged an Eee all around California for work and half the time it wouldn’t connect to anything at all – nearly threw it at a motel wall at one point.
    Mixed mode could well be the culprit, but if not try changing the wireless encryption settings and choosing your own password (if only the Eee needs to connect wirelessly there’s no risk of annoying the other computer).
    It is a pain when this stuff just won’t do what it should, though. Good luck!

  4. Rachel March 29, 2009 at 11:44 pm

    Holy Fuck Monkeys. I’m typing this from my Eee -connected wirelessly (after disabling all security on my router completely). This was after 3 attempts to connect to random unencrypted networks in Spain failed and I was THIS close to sending the thing back and getting a Windows model. Well, at least I know it works in principle – all I have to do now is get it to work with a secure network, and to work when it’s not a mere foot away from the router. But – I feel like it’s a massive success! Yay!

  5. Tom March 30, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    Erk. Sounds like the same problem I had with the 1000 (completely refusing to connect to most hotspots) – the Asus wireless driver must be borked.
    I’m afraid I don’t know of a good solution there short of installing a different version of Linux – search for “Eee 901 Ubuntu” and you’ll find several people have done just that, but it is a bit fiddly. Or you could (illegally) crowbar Mac OS X onto it, or failing that there’s even Windows XP..

  6. Rachel March 30, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    Ah. After I posted this, I did manage to connect using WPA, but couldn’t actually get to any sites.
    One call to the supplier coming up, I think.

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