I’ve tried many ways to extend Wi-Fi through my house. Powerline networking, which creates networks through electrical wiring, works the best for me. TP-Link has this kit with 2 units. One unit plugs into your wall outlet and router. The other unit can be plugged into any wall outlet in your house to provide Wi-Fi in that area. I've had great results with it.
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The decade-old warning to stay off public WIFI systems is no longer valid.
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There are still a few small information leaks: HTTPS protects the content of your communications, but not the metadata. So when you visit HTTPS sites, anyone along the communication path—from your ISP to the Internet backbone provider to the site’s hosting provider—can see their domain names (e.g. wikipedia.org) and when you visit them. But these parties can’t see the pages you visit on those sites (e.g. wikipedia.org/controversial-topic), your login name, or messages you send. They can see the sizes of pages you visit and the sizes of files you download or upload. When you use a public Wi-Fi network, people within range of it could choose to listen in. They’d be able to see that metadata, just as your ISP could see when you browse at home. If this is an acceptable risk for you, then you shouldn’t worry about using public Wi-Fi.
Similarly, if there is software with known security bugs on your computer or phone, and those bugs are specifically exploitable only on the local network, you might be at somewhat increased risk. The best defense is to always keep your software up-to-date so it has the latest bug fixes.
What about the risk of governments scooping up signals from “open” public Wi-Fi that has no password? Governments that surveill people on the Internet often do it by listening in on upstream data, at the core routers of broadband providers and mobile phone companies.
At Detroit Metropolitan Airport, police removed two passengers from a GoJet/Delta Connection flight because they apparently wouldn't turn off a mobile phone that reportedly had a WiFi network name of "Remote Detonator." From the Detroit Free Press:
...Flight attendants announced that they’d be calling police if personal WiFi wasn’t turned off, (passenger Aaron) Greenberg said.
It was a nerve-racking moment when an estimated 10 emergency vehicles with flashing lights surrounded the plane, he said...
A flight attendant told him there was a personal WiFi called “remote detonator” that was never turned off.
(Wayne County Airport Authority spokesperson Lisa) Gass could not confirm the name of the WiFi hot spot, but said both removed passengers – a 42-year-old woman and a 31-year-old man, both from Quebec – were released following the incident, pending further investigation.
image: Kai Hendry/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
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My brother was having a ton of issues with his home WIFI network. One quick look and his 7 to 10-year-old WIFI router suggested he needed a new one.
The number of packets we expected early generations of 802.11 wifi to push barely anticipated the huge amounts of internet traffic we currently sling around. Ten plus years later, a router that was perfectly fine for surfing early YouTube video and maaaaybe occasionally streaming a movie is no longer adequate. My brother is paying for a connection that'll burst well over 100mbps and should sustain 60-80mbps no problem. Sadly, he hadn't upgraded his WIFI router in forever.
His 100mbps pipe was limited to around 20mpbs. Laden with packet loss whenever 2-3 people were doing much beyond web surfing, the old box was overloaded. With 3-4 phones, 2-3 laptops, 2-3 tablets, and two tv's attempting to use this tiny, not much bigger than a deck of cards, router connections were hard to maintain.
My brother was looking at all sort of online configuration options with Google Home wifi and other tools. Years ago the solution for bad connectivity in parts of the house, or failing connections, was to add these god awful WIFI repeaters. They rarely worked as described very well, or for very long. I suggested he simply buy one big honking wifi base-station with great antenna and a lot of CPU.
Enter the NETGEAR Nighthawk X4S AC2600 4x4 Dual Band Smart WiFi Router.
A few years ago I switched from an OG Apple Airport to a slightly older model Netgear. Read the rest
CNLohr discovered that underclocking the ESP8266 wifi module's Baseband PLL made the wifi channel progressively narrower, until it could not longer be detected by an unmodified wifi receiver -- but a similarly modified wifi module can detect the narrow signal, creating a s00p3r s33kr1t wifi channel; here's sourcecode (which may violate FCC Part 15 rules, so please use responsibly). (via Four Short Links)
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When wifi first appeared, it was secured by something called "WEP" that was so laughably weak that many people believe it was deliberately sabotaged by US spy agencies (who have a history of sabotaging security standards in order to preserve the ability to spy on their adversaries).
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40% of Detroiters have no internet access. The Detroit Community Technology Project and similar projects across the city are skipping over the telcos altogether and wiring up their own mesh broadband networks, where gigabit connections are transmitted by line-of-site wireless across neighborhoods from the tops of tall buildings; it's called the Equitable Internet Initiative.
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US CERT has privately circulated an advisory warning key stakeholders about the imminent publication of Key Reinstallation Attacks (KRACK), which exploit a heretofore unknown flaw in the WPA2 wifi security protocol, allowing attackers to break the encryption and eavesdrop upon -- and possibly inject packets into -- wireless sessions previously believed to be secure. Read the rest
Reading Brannon Dorsey's guide to cracking Wifi passwords is a good wake-up call to set a decent password for your own network -- it's pretty danged easy otherwise. Read the rest
This novel mapping technique developed by Yasamin Mostofi allows two drones to map the interior of an unknown building by using wifi signals and some impressive number-crunching. Read the rest
A group of computer scientists from Tsinghua University, Tencent and Tsinghua National Laboratory for Information Science and Technology have posted a first-of-its-kind paper to Arxiv, analyzing the problems that make connecting to wifi networks so achingly slow. Read the rest
Randal Munroe nails it again in an XKCD installment that expresses the likelihood that your houseguests will be able to connect to your wifi (I confess to having been the "firmware" guide -- but also, having been reminded to do something about my own firmware when other difficult houseguests came to stay). Read the rest
Germany's ruling coalition is modifying the country's legal "Störerhaftung" theory, which currently makes people liable for copyright infringement if they operate an open wifi network that someone else uses for copyright infringement, even if the operator didn't and couldn't know about it. Read the rest
QF481, from Melbourne to Perth, was delayed last week because a passenger spotted a wifi network called "Detonation Device." Read the rest
Plug your router into it, and the WiFi Reset Plug does just one job: it monitors your Wifi network and resets your router whenever it loses its connection. If you're thinking it's a great idea, maybe… you need a better router? It's $60! [via The Internet of Shit] Read the rest
A leaked memo from the Ministry sets out new bills it would like to see introduced into the French Parliament as early as next month, setting out an ambitious plan to block privacy tools, something only technically possible by recreating China's Great Firewall in a European democracy, spying on all networked activity to prevent the use of Tor. Read the rest
In Tahlequah, Oklahoma, things escalated quickly at a local Taco Bell when Amber Henson discovered the fast food restaurant's WiFi wasn't working. Read the rest