Fun without wires

Archive for the ‘wap’ tag

Crackling Speakers

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So my speakers were crackling and hissing for the last couple days, and I was getting annoying, playing around thinking it was feedback from my microphone or something. Turns out it was feedback, but not from that.

Note to readers: Don’t put your WAP on your speakers/subwoofer – it will most likely cause constant crackling or hissing in your speakers πŸ™‚

Written by Beau Lebens

July 14th, 2004 at 4:00 pm

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Netgear WGR614 Wireless Cable/DSL Router

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When I came over here, I brought my Netgear DG824M, because I figured that it’d be useful, at the very least as a WAP, hooked off whatever I got sorted out with here, if not as my main DSL modem for my connection here. Instead, it turns out that I got cable, and it didn’t work as a WAP for that, because I couldn’t get it to not act as a DHCP server, and have the cable modem do that part of things, and it didn’t like to play otherwise. So – long story short, I bought a new modem!

Netgear WGR614
Having had a good experience with Netgear products so far, I stuck with them for my new modem, and hunted down a WGR614, which I bought from EBuyer.com. Once I get my rebate, it will have been a $35 router – not bad for something that would probably cost $200 in Australia πŸ™‚

Since I previously had difficulty getting WEP to work with my XP machine, and had been running with it turned off (only using MAC-based restrictions), I figured it would be worth a shot to see if I could get it going using this modem. For some reason, it works! I still don’t know why, but when I turned WEP on, entered the generated key on my PC, laptop and iPAQ, everything Just Workedβ„’.

I thought I was doing really well, had my wireless connection to the ‘net via PC, laptop and iPAQ, when I noticed that I was having problems with my PC – every 5 minutes or so, I would lose my connection to the WAP, then it would reconnect. This wouldn’t have been the end of the world (although it was annoying), but half the time my PC would pick up the connection to the other, un-secured network that’s around here, and connect to that instead. Then there was also the obvious problem of if I was doing a download or upload or gaming or something, a connection that consistently drops out every 5 minutes isn’t much use.

I checked Netgear’s support site for the modem, and downloaded the firmware update for it, which I hoped would fix the problem. I applied the update (no need to re-enter any configuration on the modem BTW, it retained all settings), but the problem persisted.

Just in case, I did a Windows Update to see if it would pick up anything. What do you know, there was an update there for Netgear, under the ‘Driver Updates’ section (not listed in ‘Critical Updates and Service Packs’). I installed it, and hey presto, my connection is clean as now. Haven’t had it drop out now in over 12 hours (which is only how long it’s been installed, so it’s never dropped off since installation).

This makes me happy – it means that now I can actually run WEP, which makes me feel better about having wireless, especially knowing there’s another network within range. I have a solid connection, which my iPAQ, PC and laptop can all share, which is relatively secure, and pretty darned fast. I haven’t bothered optimising the position of my WAP, because it has perfect range into my bedroom and onto my balcony, so there’s no need, and hopefully having it under my desk will reduce the overflow into the street and around the place.

Yay Netgear, yay wireless!

Written by Beau Lebens

July 4th, 2004 at 4:00 pm


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HP iPAQ H5550 (click to view specs on hp.com

Went for a walk down my street today with my new iPAQ H5550, sporting a copy of WiFiFoFum (it works, MiniStumbler doesn’t, WFFF looks excellent anyway!), and what did I find?

  1. My WAP is visible from the street, walking immediately past my driveway – d’oh!
  2. I found 3 other WAPs on my street, 2 show up at the same place
  3. One of the WAPs that I found identified itself as apparently beloging to this website; MustWebCast.com

I was surprised at the apparent power of the internal card/antenna on the H5550. I might have to do some comparitive tests on it and my Netgear laptop card, would be interesting to see how they compare on basic signal strength.

It will be very cool when WFFF gets GPS support, and my new CF GPS card gets here, then I’ll be able to get geographic information about the WAPs that I scan as well.

Written by Beau Lebens

April 22nd, 2004 at 4:00 pm

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Security Preference?

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Here’s a question for anyone out there who’s ‘wireless-security-minded’. If you have to choose between the 2, are you better off having WEP enabled on an access point, or only allowing trusted stations to connect (via MAC-address restrictions)? Obviously it’s better to have both, but if you can only have one, which one is more secure?

I was thinking that if you couldn’t get WEP to work for whatever reason, then it might be ok to just configure your WAP to only accept connections from certain MAC addresses. This would mean that the data wasn’t encrypted in transmission, but wouldn’t it also mean that people couldn’t snoop your traffic, because they couldn’t connect in the first place? Or am I missing something?

The down-side is that if (somehow), an outsider knew the MAC address of your machine/network adaptor, then they could use something like SMAC to spoof it and connect to your WAP.

WEP is supposed to be pretty insecure, and tools like AirSnort can be used to determine the encryption key given enough sample data, so is it really worth the effort? (unless you’re regularly cycling your keys perhaps?)

Any thoughts out there?

Written by Beau Lebens

March 5th, 2004 at 4:00 pm

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First War-Ride

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Well, I needed a ride, and I hadn’t scanned for any networks lately, so I thought it’d be a good chance to combine the two and try something new. I rigged up my laptop with a new power profile, whacked in the headphones, slapped it all in my backpack and rode off into the night (being 8pm and all) to stumble for networks through the middle of Perth (expecting it to be a relative hotspot).

I wasn’t disappointed with my findings, and below is a small, standardised summary according to the format that I’ve used in other stumbles. I’ve also included a map of the ride route, with a few interesting points marked on it for reference.

  • 31 different SSIDs scanned
  • 59 unique MAC-addressed nodes scanned
  • 32 WAPs encrypted with WEP [54%]
  • 7 WAPs using what appear to be default SSIDs [12%]

As you may notice, the percentage of WAPs using WEP is much higher than previous stumbles, and the percentage of default SSIDs is much lower. I would most likely attribute this to the commercial nature of the majority of these nodes (see ride route below), which went through the main business street of the city. I suppose at least some businesses are securing their networks πŸ™‚

A couple of interesting observations from the results;

  • 3 ‘WesWiFi’ devices were located when passing Wesley (private school); all of which were NOT encrypted
  • An SSID called ‘HayStNet’ was scanned, which sounds like a rather ‘community’ sort of a thing, but it was encrypted, so I wonder what it is
  • Cino To Go 182 has a WAP, which is not encrypted, and I am assuming that it provides public Internet access (marked on map)
  • The Chifley Hotel appears to provide free/public Internet access as well, since their SSID is ‘Chifley Public Wireless Internet’ (marked on map)
  • Posh Nosh, a cafe at the West end of St George’s Tce, provides access via the HotSpots network, but it’s paid access, and from memory is something like $20 for 2 months!
Complete map of the war-ride.
Close-up of the city part of the ride, including what appear to be public access sites.

I will definitely have to go for another war-ride soon, it was very fun indeed. There are a few things to watch out for;

  1. Heat: I stopped 3 or 4 times on this relatively short ride for a little break, but also to take my laptop out of the bag and let it cool down a little bit. Being in the enclosed space for that long means that it heats up.
  2. Power Profile: I customised a special power profile for handling my laptop, which basically tells it to never hibernate or suspend the drive, but to turn off the LCD screen and keep running when the lid is closed, with the CPU running in ‘battery-saving’ mode. This way, I can close it all up and tuck it away in the bag without worrying about it suddenly going to sleep πŸ™‚
  3. Damage: Be very careful riding around on a bike with your laptop in a backpack – if you fall off, think about how you land, you really don’t want to roll in any way, or fall directly on your back, because your laptop will most likely be crushed.
  4. Headphones: Getting the volume level takes some tweaking, and it’s kind of hard because it needs to be up louder so you can hear it while riding, but when you slow down or stop it will be very loud. It also gets a bit much if you have 16 APs dinging away at you all at once (like I did!), so you might be better of turning off the MIDI mode in Net Stumbler
  5. GPS: Just thought I’d mention it again – I really want one πŸ™‚

Ok, that’s enough for now – more write-ups later on some more of my equipment, namely my backpack and laptop, which I realised I haven’t really talked about yet.

Written by Beau Lebens

November 5th, 2003 at 4:00 pm

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