The last four paragraphs in this long tale ask the questions, if you don’t want to read it all.
I have a WinXP desktop with a Netgear router wired in and an XP laptop with built-in wi-fi which is now on the network. No problem with these. Actually, I sprang for Network Magic which is really a great program and makes things simple. Use MS SyncToys to quickly sync files between the two.
My wife has an older computer I built with 98SE and USB 1.1. Actually, it is dual boot with Japanese Windows 2000 also, but that is not germane to the problem. There is no way can get my broadband cable over to that computer, so just using dial-up on the rare occasions she wants to go online.
Anyhow, figured it would be easy to put in a wireless card and set it up so she could logon to the 'Net and access the other computers and the printer. Poked around online and found a inexpensive Linksys card. Installed the software, plugged the card into the box and followed instructions. Nothing.
Piddled around a while without luck and called their tech support. Tried all sorts of things and could not get it to work, so as got it from amazon.com, sent it back and got a credit. I then found Linksys has a neat little USB wireless adapter for only $13, so sent for that.
Installed the software, plugged it but it would not connect, despite supposedly being plug-and-play. It has a long USB cord, so tried it in several places. It is about 30 ft from the other computer’s router, and in another room. Again played around, but no luck. It just said it could not find the access point. Rebooted several times and found had to unplug the device before rebooting, or the mouse cursor would freeze and could not do anything. BTW, the specs insist it will work with 98SE and on USB 1.1, albeit slower of course.
So, finally called Linksys tech support and got somebody who was anxious to help. The only trouble is that I speak English 2.0 and she only spoke English 1.0. After making her repeat each sentence several times, I was able to follow her directions and we tried a whole mess of things, but none worked. She did have me install a driver from the CD, but that didn’t help as it most likely was the very one installed when I installed the software. After about an hour it became obvious that she had no clue, and besides it also was obvious that she was unfamiliar with Win98. Probably before her time! I had to go somewhere, so thanked her and said I’d try later.
When I got back in the evening, I decided to try it all again. I went to the Linksys site and downloaded the latest driver, copied it to my little external drive (my flash drive won’t work on 1.1/Win98), copied it over to the other computer and tried to install it from Device Manager. It told me it was the same one I already had.
So called tech support again, gave the case number, and got somebody who spoke English 1.5, so could more or less understand her when I made her slow down. I’ve heard of speed readers, but she was a speed talker. After making me go through all the things had already done (I’ve learned with these people you might as well, as it’s no use telling them you did this, as it just interrupts their script and confuses them). It still did not work. She then asked for the model number and S/N. After being on hold for five minutes, she came back and told me that the device was no longer under warranty, so could not help. I explained I had just bought the damn thing, so asked how could it be out of warranty. “When did you buy it?” she asked. I said, “July 29th” and she asked “What year?” And I almost, but not quite, screamed, “2007!” She insisted it was out of warranty. I asked to speak to a supervisor or next level techie but she said nobody else was there. Sure.
So, gave up again. Next day I sent an email describing the entire sordid episode to the email address they listed in the documentation. Hours later I got an automated email saying they no longer do support via email. Went to their site and checked their knowledge base and all the help files, but of course, nothing there that was helpful. They did offer live chat, but assumed even if they knew how to fix it, I’d be running back and forth between rooms dozens of times. In any case, logged on to chat and my initial message described everything. John, who did write English 2.0, assured me he could fix it, and started telling me to do what I had already done. Thanked him and logged off.
Next day made the third phone call, and got somebody who’s English was quite good, and had a really cute accent I could actually understand. At this point I had uninstalled and reinstalled the software and hooked up the device again. To my surprise, it showed instead of “disabled” that it was “scanning.” Progress. Just as she got on the line, I put the mouse over the icon in the sys tray, and to my astonishment, it said “Connected.” I told her to wait a minute and opened the program. It then said, “Connected but cannot access the Internet.” Weird. I tried it with the encryption on my router both on and turned off, but no luck.
So, back on the phone, we tried a few things, and by this time it was no longer connected anyway. After a while I thanked her for her time and patience, hung up, put the damned thing back in its box and threw it into a cabinet with other useless junk. Heck, it only cost me $13 and hours of frustration.
Now, I figured if I bought a Netgear adapter, as I had one of their routers, there might be a slight chance that somebody there would know how to get it working. I emailed them and they suggested their WG111v2 USB adapter. Looked it up, and it is an older 2005 model, but the only one they have that will work with Win98 & USB 1.1. Amazon had only two vendors listed, one selling it for $16 and the other for $64! Yes, identical, new ones. Go figure.
Finally, does anybody think that one (yeah, the $16 one I think) might work in this situation?
Any other suggestions on how to get that antiquated box online and networked? I’m loath to go through all that again unless somebody thinks it might work.
Oh yeah, amazon’s listing had only one user review, and he wrote the thing didn’t work. That’s encouraging, eh?