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This document was last updated on the 6 November, 2006

Accessing an Airport wireless network from a wifi enabled PocketPC 2003

Most new PocketPC devices now have wifi built in or you can get very cheaply SD or CF wifi cards.

This guide implies that you have not tried to access your wireless network before, you can achieve the samee by hard resetting your device as well. Further troubleshoooting guides will come later.

Turn on your PocketPC and enable the wireless adapter, you should now see a screen similar to the following:

Turn on your PocketPC and enable the wireless adapter, you should now see the following screen. e

Select your wireless network. In this example I can see two wireless networks, default and wccb, I am going to select wccb.

Click the Connect button.

if you have WEP encryption on your wireless network you will see the following screen.

if you have WEP encryption on your wireless network you will see the following screen.

It is important that you enter the HEX key and not any ASCII or plain text password.

You should also check that the PocketPC wireless adapter supports whatever encryption you are using, not all adapters can support 128bit WEP for example.

One of the problems with WEP is that the actual standard relies on a 10 character HEX key for 40bit WEP and a 26 character HEX key for 128bit WEP.

In order to make things easier for people, vendors use certain algorithms to convert simple alphanumeric passwords (or passphrases) into HEX keys, thus enabling people to use simple memorable WEP password rather than lengthy HEX keys.

The problem is that different vendors use different algorithms to generate the HEX key and therefore a ASCII password on an AEBS will be hashed differently on a Netgear client and vice versa.

In theory a 13 character 128 bit WEP password will be hashed by all vendors in the same way (if you use 40bit WEP then a 5 character password is required). However not all client devices have algorithims and therefore it can make sense to use the HEX key regardlessly.

Airport Wireless Security

If you enable WEP on the AEBS, you need to note down the Hex Airport Network Password, if you are using 128bit encryption this will be a 26 characters. If you open the Airport Admin Utility, you need to click a button called Password depending on which version of firmware you are using.

Airport Screenshot

The Wireless ASCII Equivalent Password is the plain text network password you use to access your Airport network with a Mac. An example plain text password could be: airportpassword. For 128bit WEP networks you should choose a 13 character ASCII password this in theory is hashed in the same way by all vendors.

The Wireless Hex Equivalent Password is the hex version of the plain text, and this is what you would use with your PC. An example HEX password could be: BAC34DAAAB56B7CADA336B23DA

Having noted down the HEX key, enter the value into the relevant field on the PocketPC.

Now click Connect and you will be connected to your wireless network.