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When do Wireless drivers load during Windows boot...??

pawhe955
Grafter
Posts: 106
Registered: ‎31-07-2007

When do Wireless drivers load during Windows boot...??

When running a Microsoft AD Network, i.e. where users have to logon to the Network, not a local account on the PC, the Ethernet network connection must be enabled and running (e.g. if DHCP, has obtained an IP address, etc.) by the time the user logs on, otherwise Group Policies couldn't be loaded on the PC, user authentication (communication with the DCs) wouldn't work, and data such as roaming profiles wouldn't download.....
When using Wireless to the same network, would you expect the machine to have loaded it's wireless drivers, connected to the AP, obtained an IP address and be communicating with DC's etc., *before* the user is presented with a logon box?  Obvioulsy you only get to see the "state" of the Wireless conenction after the user has logged on and, for example, the system tray shows the Wireless icon (connected or not) - but it could be that the Wireless connects only after the user logs on?
The issue we have is that in testing a Wirless enabled desktop, the user doesn't get logged onto the network, but get's logged on with a locally cached version of their roaming profile, suggesting that the Network connection wasn't available after boot, and not even at the point of logon.....but the systray icon (when if finally comes up) shows connected, suggesting that the Wireless only connects after user logon.
I would have thought that a network connection is a network connection, regardless of media - and that all network connections should be established and running before the point at which the user logs on.... but can anyone confirm that this is should indeed be the case?
Thanks,
3 REPLIES
mossgrove
Grafter
Posts: 68
Registered: ‎18-08-2007

Re: When do Wireless drivers load during Windows boot...??

Every business wireless network I connect to establishes the connection before log on, thus the log on is with the domain controller not the local machine.  Possibly there is something in the new machine connection profile that doesn't say "connect automatically"?
Community Veteran
Posts: 3,789
Registered: ‎08-06-2007

Re: When do Wireless drivers load during Windows boot...??

Network startup is processed asynchronously during logon.  Wireless networks necessarily take some while longer to establish than a wired network.
http://www.itnewsgroups.net/windowsserver/t16733-always-wait-network-computer-startup-logon.aspx may help - there is a GPO setting which will force waiting for the network to be available before presenting the logon screen - however in your case you might have to set it in Local Policy before you can get GPO's to work at all.
However, I'm not convinced that is the issue. You don't mention which OS you are using, but I am making the assumption that it's XP.  Are you using the Windows Wireless Zeroconf  setup for the wireless, or are you using a vendor-provided utility for the wireless?  If you're using a vendor-supplied utility, then it is possible this is only being loaded as part of the user hive, (or Default user / All users) and therefore the network will only ever come up after a user is logged in.
HTH
B.
pawhe955
Grafter
Posts: 106
Registered: ‎31-07-2007

Re: When do Wireless drivers load during Windows boot...??

OK - thanks for the replies - at least I know it should work the way I expected it to, and therefore can continue troubleshooting.....
Yep, should have mentioned OS - sorry - it's XP. And thinking that a vendor utility might indeed affect the startup time for establishing a connection, I deliberately installed only the drivers for the dongle - have used the 'advanced' settings of Windows WZC to configure an entry for the (hidden SSID) wireless network.....  and will take a look at the GPO setting.....
I'm pretty sure I do have it set to "connect automatically", but as we're running 3 WLAN's (and it's been configured with the encryption keys for all 3) but the one I want it to connect to is the only one not broadcasting it's SSID..... might start looking there first.....
thanks again,