I am helping my brother hook up his wireless network and am getting a brain fade. I have a wireless network in my home and have no problems with it, but his is a different story.
He has a desktop with Windows 98, won't change because it runs perfect and won't get rid of the computer and it is not worth upgrading that particular one.
Comp #2 is a laptop with XP. About a year old with built in wireless.
I used the Laptop to install the network because the requirements on the router box did not support 98. Wired through the laptop, the network router works fine. This kind of defeats the purpose of a wireless network attached with a cable to a laptop.
All security settings were used when installing the router, such as SSID disabled and encryption.
Do I have to enable SSID so his laptop can see the router? If so, will it always have to be enabled?
You have to enable the wireless adapter on the router.
You should also enable the SSID broadcast on the router. Without the broadcast it makes connections more difficult and with some wireless adapters it makes the connections impossible because they won't associate with an access point which does not broadcast the SSID.
For the initial test you can turn off wireless security but later you should enable it. Use WPA2 or WPA if possible as WEP can be cracked within a few minutes.
As I wrote before: some wireless adapters connect to SSIDs not broadcast and some don't. If yours does not it is most likely the latter. Just enable the SSID broadcast.
Do you use Windows to configure the wireless connection or some software which came with the laptop?
The program on the CD does only configure the router. Not more. It does not load anything on the laptop. If the router works you don't need the CD anymore and you should not use it anymore.
The only way to secure a wireless network is to use WPA2 or WPA with a strong preshared-key. Anything else won't.
* SSID broadcast disabled: the SSID is always transmitted unencrypted. It is easily picked up with a network adapter in monitor mode.
* MAC address filter: just like the SSID the MAC address of the sender and receiver are never encrypted. Any wireless adapter in monitor mode will pick up which MAC addresses are part of your wireless network. Almost ever driver for current wireless adapters allow you to configure any MAC address you want on the adapter.
* WEP is cracked within a few minutes.
Enable WPA2 or WPA with a strong key and forget about disabling SSID broadcasts or wireless MAC address filtering. Anyone who (hypothetically) cracks WPA2 or WPA must be so knowledgeable that the missing SSID broadcast or the MAC address filtering will not make a difference in the successful connection into your LAN. Apart from that, pretty much every attack works with (some) passively captured packets thus the attacker already knows the SSID and the MAC addresses used...