[unisog] XP silently configuring ad-hoc wifi networks

Robert Lummis lummis at aecom.yu.edu
Fri Sep 23 16:06:42 GMT 2005

I recently bought a PalmOne LifeDrive and it does exactly that. When you try
to initiate a connection to any SSID and the connection fails, it will then
go thru the list of SSIDs that it saw in the past and try to connect to each
of them in sequence whether you want it to or not. The remembered list
includes SSIDs that it never successfully connected to, just detected. It's
completely lame and very annoying. You can select "stop" but that takes time
and it doesn't stop instantly. You can manually remove SSIDs from the
remembered list but the procedure is cumbersome. And sometimes they come
back again - I'm not sure when that happens.

While I'm on the subject, another lame thing about the LifeDrive is that it
has poor Wi-Fi reception compared to most lap tops but before it tries to
connect to any given SSID it thinks it has a good signal. So initially it
might show an SSID with 2 bars, try to connect, wait 25 seconds to time out,
then show it as 0 bars, then try the next SSID on its list even though that
one can't possibly be reached. And there are no options to control that
behavior. Clearly a software update is needed, as this is practically

> -----Original Message-----
> From: unisog-bounces at lists.sans.org [mailto:unisog-bounces at lists.sans.org]
> On Behalf Of Frank Sweetser
> Sent: Thursday, September 22, 2005 10:55 PM
> To: unisog at lists.sans.org
> Subject: [unisog] XP silently configuring ad-hoc wifi networks
> As all of the students wander onto campus this year, we've been noticing
> that a
> lot of them have common ad-hoc SSIDs configured as a preferred network.
> So
> far, none of them admit to having any idea how those networks got
> configured or
> where they came from.  While it's quite possible that the users told
> Windows to
> connect without realizing or just without remembering, this has made me
> curious.
> Does anyone know of any circumstances under which an XP system might
> attempt to
> connect to a previously unconfigured ad-hoc SSID without any user
> interaction?
> --
> Frank Sweetser fs at wpi.edu  |  For every problem, there is a solution
> that
> WPI Network Engineer          |  is simple, elegant, and wrong. - HL
> Mencken
>     GPG fingerprint = 6174 1257 129E 0D21 D8D4  E8A3 8E39 29E3 E2E8 8CEC
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