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#47309 - 12/28/17 05:59 AM WiFi access
grelber Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: North of 49th ||
Out of curiosity I checked out my neighborhood for unprotected (ie, no password required) WiFi access and found a couple of base stations (+ a couple dozen password-protected networks).
When I tried to gain access and go online, it seemed as though they were functioning, but I was not able to bring up any internet website. Moreover the transfer rate was no better than my dial-up access.

Any idea what's going on? And just how safe would it be should I actually be able to bring up a SSL website?

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#47310 - 12/28/17 06:48 AM Re: WiFi access [Re: grelber]
joemikeb Online
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
WiFi does not automatically equate to internet access. It is entirely possible to have WiFi networks without internet access. For example I have four WiFi networks in my house:
  1. The regular WiFi network that interconnects all my computers, iDevices, printers, scanners, postal scale, etc and connects all of them to the internet
  2. A "Guest" network that permits guests access to the internet but does not interconnect to any of the devcies on the first network.
  3. A special network used for home automation devices such as light switches, door locks, video doorbell, garage door opener but has only very limited and tightly controlled internet access.
  4. The last WiFi network interconnects the satellite television control/recorder to remote televisions in other rooms of the house. It connects directly to the satelite dish and has no internet connection.
If I had to guess I would suspect your unprotected networks were something like my fourth network or perhaps an ungaurded cellular "hot spot".

As to their speed there are many factors effecting that and without knowing
  • actual signal strenght (the number of bars)
  • the signal to noise ratio
  • the actual protocol (802.11 a,b,g,n,ac)
  • the type of connection to the internet

it would just be a shot in the dark.

Finally tapping into someone elses signal could be considered theft of services. For example if you are tapping into a WiFi connected through a cellular HotSpot you are using someone's download data without their permission and it is costing them real money.


Edited by joemikeb (12/28/17 08:33 AM)
Edit Reason: this time spellcheck failed me in a different way
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#47311 - 12/28/17 08:00 AM Re: WiFi access [Re: joemikeb]
grelber Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: North of 49th ||
Thanks for the info and advice.

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#47336 - 12/30/17 09:59 AM Re: WiFi access [Re: joemikeb]
Ira L Online


Registered: 08/13/09
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: joemikeb
WiFi does not automatically equate to internet access. It is entirely possible to have WiFi networks without internet access. For example I have four WiFi networks in my house:
  1. The regular WiFi network that interconnects all my computers, iDevices, printers, scanners, postal scale, etc and connects all of them to the internet
  2. A "Guest" network that permits guests access to the internet but does not interconnect to any of the devcies on the first network.
  3. A special network used for home automation devices such as light switches, door locks, video doorbell, garage door opener but has only very limited and tightly controlled internet access.
  4. The last WiFi network interconnects the satellite television control/recorder to remote televisions in other rooms of the house. It connects directly to the satelite dish and has no internet connection.
If I had to guess I would suspect your unprotected networks were something like my fourth network or perhaps an ungaurded cellular "hot spot".


How many of your above networks would show up as "unlocked"?
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#47337 - 12/30/17 12:59 PM Re: WiFi access [Re: Ira L]
joemikeb Online
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: Ira L
How many of your above networks would show up as "unlocked"?

Of the four originating on my premise, one (the Satellite TV) network displays as unguarded but apparently requires a hardware encoded signal to access.

But when I checked the other half dozen WiFi networks passing through the ether in my home (most bearing names like att97gyNNN or similar) there were two unprotected networks. One that by its name I know to be a satellite TV network like the one in my house and the other looked suspiciously like a cellular hotspot the creator had neglected to protect with a password, but I cannot vouch for that nor did I attempt to logon.
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#47344 - 01/01/18 09:04 AM Re: WiFi access [Re: joemikeb]
MG2009 Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
RE: "For example if you are tapping into a WiFi connected through a cellular HotSpot you are using someone's download data without their permission and it is costing them real money."


----------------------


If I turn on my iPAD while on the bus, the IPAD automatically will search for signals - locked or unlocked. I select an unlocked option and connect.

So . . . . how can one tell when they pick up an UN-locked Wi-Fi signal away from home that the use of it is "legal" and "not stolen" from someone else's account?
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MG2009

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#47345 - 01/01/18 09:15 AM Re: WiFi access [Re: MG2009]
grelber Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: North of 49th ||
Originally Posted By: MG2009
RE: If I turn on my iPAD while on the bus, the IPAD automatically will search for signals - locked or unlocked. I select an unlocked option and connect.

Isn't that the erstwhile definition of "war-gaming" which used to be "in vogue"?

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#47346 - 01/01/18 09:35 AM Re: WiFi access [Re: MG2009]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: MG2009
So . . . . how can one tell when they pick up an UN-locked Wi-Fi signal away from home that the use of it is "legal" and "not stolen" from someone else's account?

How can it NOT be someone else's account unless your bus or community has got a public hot spot (which I imagine would be clearly identified as such)?

Even if it's a store's free account, it's meant for customers.
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In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#47350 - 01/02/18 09:49 AM Re: WiFi access [Re: grelber]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
Originally Posted By: grelber
Moreover the transfer rate was no better than my dial-up access.

Any idea what's going on? And just how safe would it be should I actually be able to bring up a SSL website?

Might be connecting to someone's cell phone or tethering hotspot?
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#47354 - 01/02/18 12:05 PM Re: WiFi access [Re: MG2009]
joemikeb Online
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: MG2009
If I turn on my iPAD while on the bus, the IPAD automatically will search for signals - locked or unlocked. I select an unlocked option and connect.

So . . . . how can one tell when they pick up an UN-locked Wi-Fi signal away from home that the use of it is "legal" and "not stolen" from someone else's account?

Given the range of most WiFi networks that bus you are on would have to be moving painfully slow to reap any benefit from the passing WiFi networks. laugh

Public WiFi networks are typically named something like "Joe's Sports Bar Public", "DFW Traveler", "XYZ Corp Visitor", or some similarly obvious name. (NOTE: More and more public networks, even those in public libraries, require you to acknowledge their User agreement before you access the internet even though a login password per. se. is not required). Otherwise an unprotected WiFi network may be:
  • A phishing hole hoping to lure uwary internet users into using it so the data can be trapped and mined.
  • An unwary or technically uninformed (ignorat?) user who
    • is simply carelss and neglected to tun the hotspot off
    • can't be bothered with all those passwords
    • a careless cellphone user who does not realize that by leaving his hotspot unprotected is opening themselves up to potentially massive data overage charges and potential theft of their own data
  • Someone who is providing free WiFiinternet access and has not talked with their attorney about thier libility and the practical necessity of protecting thismselves with a mandatory user agreement for using the services.
My personal choice is to avoid the use of unprotected networks, unless they are clearly identified as public and even then, I am often to use a VPN (Virtual Public Private Network) when accessing the internet. That can slow connections, but at least I know everything is end to end encrypted at least between my computer and the VPN server. There are places where I would go so far as using Onion Routing and the The TOR browser. NOTE: I am neither paranoid or a security freak — just careful.


Edited by joemikeb (01/03/18 10:21 AM)
Edit Reason: My mental grammar check was on vacation
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#47366 - 01/03/18 09:21 AM Re: WiFi access [Re: joemikeb]
Ira L Online


Registered: 08/13/09
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: joemikeb

…I am often to use a VPN (Virtual Public Network) when accessing the internet.


I think you mean "Virtual Private Network". A public one would defeat the purpose, no? wink

I have to smile at your list of names for public wifi networks. Recently in a hotel I saw one named "Tell My WiFi Love Her". grin
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#47367 - 01/03/18 10:18 AM Re: WiFi access [Re: Ira L]
joemikeb Online
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: Ira L
I think you mean "Virtual Private Network". A public one would defeat the purpose, no?

I need an Artificial Intelligence Spell Checker that knows what I meant to write. blush
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#47376 - 01/04/18 05:14 AM Re: WiFi access [Re: Virtual1]
MG2009 Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
All along I thought hotspots were perfectly legal to use. Learn something new everyday.
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Many thanks,
MG2009

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