I have had some annoying problems in recent months with my work laptop refusing to connect to certain WiFi login pages (more technically known as Captive Portals), essentially locking me out of the WiFi in certain places. Here is how I solved it.
What you Want
After connecting to some kind of public WiFi, you want to see a page like this:
What you Get
But instead I got this. Basically, the Captive Portal is at IP 192.168.2.1, and my machine does not manage to connect to that address (which is a bit odd):
This is mildly annoying, especially when spending many hours waiting for a flight somewhere or in a hotel. For better or worse, Internet access is the lifeblood of business and private travel.
It definitely sounds like my laptop have some issues with the 192.168.2.x network address range – but where? I assumed it was something to do with the various security features on my work laptop… but that was not actually the case. It was something I had wrought on myself by using VMware Workstation. Checking the network configuration from CMD reveals the culprit immediately:
The VMnet adapter stole the IP of the captive portal, and my machine was trying to talk to itself. Which will not work.
The solution is obvious. Disable the VMnet adapters: