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No admin rights? No Wi-Fi, says D-Link

Wireless networking is not for all

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The mysteries of wireless networking are many and arcane - ask anyone who's tried to type in a WPA key from memory - so much so that D-Link has taken the decision to restrict Wi-Fi usage to admins only.

At least, that's the way it looks to Reg reader Ross Smith. He installed a D-Link DWL-G510 wireless LAN card in a machine destined for use in a branch office some five hours drive away, only to find when the remote site user logged in there was no connectivity. Here's the response he got from D-Link's tech support:

"Unfortunately all users of the wireless card must have administrative accounts on the computer. If they do not have administrative accounts they may connect to the wireless but after 1 minuet or less they will drop the wireless connection.

"We hope that this answers your question and that your request is now resolved."

Mm, yes - so it's a feature, not a bug? Hang on a moment, that's just driven a coach and horses (or possibly danced) right through one of the most cherished tenets of PC security, which is that you only give users the access rights they need, and you most certainly don't give admin rights to all and sundry.

But wait - there's more. Not only do you have to have admin rights to use the wireless LAN, but the access settings are stored per user, not per machine. So as soon as a new user logs on - in your remote office, a 10 hour round trip away, for instance - they are disconnected from the network until they can enter their own network settings.

Nicely secure, but not as useful as it could be - and of course with the machine logged off the WLAN, there's no way for an administrator to log in remotely to fix things.

We asked D-Link to find us a technical spokesperson to talk about the WLAN card in question, but several days later no-one had stepped up to the plate.

Our reader says it is the first D-Link product he's had that needed admin rights for drivers, and will very probably be the last.

"After all D-links recent problems (hijacking time servers, denouncing the GPL), it looks like it's also given up on making decent quality kit," he adds. ®

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