||[Saturday 26th March 2005 at 11:55 pm]
Okay, here's a good one: why does a wireless-to-ethernet bridge authenticate using the mac address of whatever computer was first plugged into it?
Bridge: a Netgear WGE101 802.11g to ethernet bridge.
Desktop: a random collection of parts that has been mangled and shuffled over the course of 3 years. Considering renaming it to "Igor".
Laptop: a nice laptop with butil-in ethernet and a DWL-610 802.11b wireless card.
Access point: a Netgear WGE602 802.11g access point, rigged with mac filtering and encryption.
Switch: a generic 5-port 10/100 ethernet switch.
Also full host of Cat5 cables, kettle leads, and an 8-way surge protector made by Belkin.
Rough sequence of events, carried out over the course of a week:
- Plug in bridge and config it from Igor. At this point the mac address for desktop and bridge are in the access point's allowed list.
- Bridge warbles happily away at access point and spews out packets into the ether. So far so good.
- Point and drool at internet from desktop.
- Point and drool at internet from laptop. The laptop's mac address is *not* in the allowed list.
- After about a week, reboot bridge by virtue of hitting the off button on the extension cable. Why Belkin had to make it a hair trigger, I shall never know.
- Bridge comes up, but flashing lights on bridge tell me it's not talking to the wireless anymore.
- Plug laptop into bridge (thru generic 5-port switch) and tinker with settings. Bridge can see access point in the list of SSIDs.
- Feed bridge passphrase and reboot it (through web interface). No joy.
- Pound head for a moment, then remember wireless PC Card.
- Log into access point config with laptop, look at settings and find that the wired mac address of the laptop is "Disconnected".
- Add that address to allowed list and apply (no reboot needed). Bridge still flashes lights at me.
- Re-enter passphrase into bridge (using wired connectoin on laptop), reboot the thing and it comes up sweet as pie.
- Ponder for a moment, before deciding that mac address lists and bridges Don't Work.