While uploading pictures from home last night, I did a little searching around on Google to try to figure out what the problem was with the internet connection at the hospital. And what I found was lots of people with the same issue: able to connect to the access point, but only in some kind of “local only” mode without access to the internet. It turns out this is a problem with Windows Vista. Apparently Microsoft changed the way the operating system tries to configure a DHCP address compared to how XP and previous versions of Windows did things (something to do with the “Broadcast flag” in DHCP discovery packets), and the result is that Vista will not work with “certain routers” without tweaking a few obscure registry keys by hand. Now “certain routers” is Microsoft’s description of the problem. The hospital is using a Cisco wireless hotspot system, and you would think that Cisco equipment is used widely enough that Microsoft would want Vista to work with it. So maybe “certain routers” really means a whole bunch of routers don’t work with Vista. Anyway, the registry key information for the fix is in this Microsoft knowledge base article if you ever run into the same problem.

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