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Video: Configure wireless network settings via Group Policy

Manually configuring the wireless settings on hundreds, or even thousands, of PCs can be a real chore. Luckily, there is a way to speed up the process. In this IT Dojo video, I show how to save time and effort when configuring the wireless setting on your Windows PCs using Active Directory and Group Policy.

For many offices, wireless networking is an important complement to the wired network, and in some cases, may even replace it. But, manually configuring the wireless settings on hundreds, or even thousands, of PCs can be a real chore. Luckily, there is a way to speed up the process. In this IT Dojo video, I show how to save time and effort when configuring the wireless settings on your Windows PCs using Active Directory and Group Policy.

For those of you who prefer text to video, you can click the Transcript link that appears below the video player window or you can also read Derek Schauland's article, "Configuring Wireless settings via Group Policy," on which this video is based.

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About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

24 comments
rldleblanc
rldleblanc

I've been beating myself on this for the last two days. We have a Windows 2008 domain and I've tried to create an XP policy using both Vista and 7, but no settings are applied to the client. Gpresult show the policy is successfully applied, but I don't see anything in RSoP on the client. RSoP reports that the Component Wireless has Success (no data) status. Looking at the gpttmpl.inf file in the policy on the sysvol share show a very bare file, no settings at all. I'm very confused as to what I am missing, I've followed several HOW-TOs (each are very much the same) without any success. The clients are XP SP3 all up to date.

Aseks
Aseks

Excellent tip. Thanks

seshu0222
seshu0222

Hi Bill Detwiler, This is seshu From India, i am working as a System Administrator, u r suggestions and tips are very highly useful for me. coming to the Topic 1. in my Domain Server i cant see "Group policy Management" Option in Administrative Tools. 2. how to assign & configure wireless network access previlages to Users Example: administrator. or power useres. please tell me the suggestion about above 2 questions. i awaiting for your reply. Thanks and Regards Seshu Kumar P INDIA

itvendors
itvendors

No option for WPA2 in the Group Policy "Network Authentication" section. How would we implement WPA2 with Group Policy?

akwaheed
akwaheed

How the wireless PC will comunicate and get settings from AD if its not connected on LAN(wire). and if its connected on LAN why we need wireless???? Plzz reply akwaheed@hotmail.com

wildwestgoh
wildwestgoh

How to configure it on a pure wireless network? The PC is not even connected the to network to access the Domain Controller, this technique still has flaws. Any other ideas?

FAST!!!
FAST!!!

How many companies let Windows manage the wireless network? I know in our company we use the Intel PROset for wireless configuration because it supports our authentication and encryption types whereas the Windows drivers do not. I don't think an AD GP can manage third party drivers...

bernalillo
bernalillo

Good tip. I've been using it for a while. Makes life much easier.

jnickell
jnickell

I am trying this and don't see how this allows a fully managed interface from AD because there's no way to input the password. And from what I'm seeing so far, if it's misapplied it's difficult to back the 'profile' out, even after removing the computer from the domain and then re-adding the computer after the Policy has been removed. If I'm missing something please let me know because I can see a great value in this.

csmith
csmith

Bill, I think your video's are great!

ayaz.haniffa
ayaz.haniffa

Thank you nice article! We created a GPO to make users to not by pass the VPN when they use an air card

mattinmd
mattinmd

Stopped after only 2 minutes of the 7 minute length

rfabbri
rfabbri

I'm gonna save much time with this tip ! Thanks a lot for this great tutorial

soul1239
soul1239

Hey there --- did you ever find the fix for this issue? I'm seeing the same thing on a 2003 domain. Group policy modeling shows that the policy should be applied, however I get the same Wireless success (no data) on all workstations and in the RSOP console.

athalman
athalman

I am having the same problem. I can get the SSID to be added via my GPO. But I don't see a place to enter the shared key. The only thing you can do is add it later (in the wireless profile), but I don't want my users to have to do that, plus they don't know the key. Can anyone point me in the right direction on this one? Just to clarify I need to add the shared key for my WPA2-PSK setup in my GPO. Thanks

johnmckay
johnmckay

Open your mind a little please... Suppose you roll-out broadband routers to employees and decide to use the same settings. (It makes life easier in the long run). Then just enable via AD like the guy said and hey presto... homeworking with no hassle. Admittedly it's not my forte but I do know my company rolls out home BB to certain areas, with the exact same settings and the exact same letter for them to configure manually. They could opt for wired but most folk prefer wifi and work where they feel at thet time.

johnmckay
johnmckay

If it's totally wireless and inop it wouldn't be on the domain either. So it's on the LAN to get built, you log on and it gets its hardware and user GPO's on 1st logon. End of story. Any other grumbles?

jonhp
jonhp

there are a lot of good questions like "password", "third party drivers", other security modes like "WEP, WPA2 Personal...". And yet no answers...how sad.

jnickell
jnickell

I had accidentally added the setting under the Default Domain instead of the Wireless GPO I had created. So now that part is fixed, but I'm still at a loss for how this will really work.

nicoyogui
nicoyogui

"Listed under Security Settings you will see Wireless Network (IEEE 802.11) Policies. Click on this node to display any existing configuration items." What if I don't see this? It goes: - File System - Public Key Policies

johnmckay
johnmckay

Ask and thou might get an answer. I found it useful and I'm sure you did too... otherwise you would know the answers already. Stop bleating and be a bit more positive. As for other part drivers: who cares. The guy has let us know a good tip for MS WIndows and MS AD. If there's a benfit to other drivers and a catch too.. it's a decision to be made at design. It's still a good idea whatever problems folk introduce beyond it.

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

Wireless Network Policy is a feature of Windows Server 2003 or later and uses the ms-ieee-80211-Policy class that's included in the 2003 Active Directory schema (http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms682508(VS.85).aspx). The simple answer is to open Group Policy from your Windows Server 2003 (or later) machine. Edit: Fixed typo

nicoyogui
nicoyogui

Ah, I see. All our domain controllers are 2000. I hope you were sitting down.

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