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interesting broadband experience
Old 02-21-2009, 06:40 PM   #1
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interesting broadband experience

I turn on the computer in the morning and leave it on all day. I do chores and errands, and sit at the computer in between.

This morning there seemed to be a problem with the connection.

I looked over at the modem to see if I should reset it, and noticed the power strip wasn't turned on.

I was connecting via someones wireless network (on the margins).
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Old 02-21-2009, 07:23 PM   #2
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A prime opportunity to download some ill-gotten music and, ah, educational videos?
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Old 02-21-2009, 07:29 PM   #3
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I have had that happen to me every once in a while. I am in an area where I can pick up a number of signals, several are unsecured. My computer jumps over to someone else's signal if for some reason something happens to mine.
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Old 02-21-2009, 08:34 PM   #4
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Khan, I think I see an opportunity for some budget cutting.
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Old 02-21-2009, 08:39 PM   #5
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Khan, I think I see an opportunity for some budget cutting.
It did cross my mind, but I am on the edge.
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Old 02-21-2009, 09:24 PM   #6
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On my recent midwest sabbatical, I had no internet access other than this type of unsecured signal. I did use same for my e-mail, but little else. I've heard that there could be security issues when using other wireless accounts. Anyone know about such things? It sure was handy not to have to sign up with the cable co. for access for less than 2 months. Still, I was a bit uncomfortable. I wasn't bothered by the "borrowing", but by the possibility of a security breach on my 'puter. What say ye? I'm pretty much a dummy on this stuff.
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Old 02-21-2009, 09:39 PM   #7
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On my recent midwest sabbatical, I had no internet access other than this type of unsecured signal. I did use same for my e-mail, but little else. I've heard that there could be security issues when using other wireless accounts. Anyone know about such things? It sure was handy not to have to sign up with the cable co. for access for less than 2 months. Still, I was a bit uncomfortable. I wasn't bothered by the "borrowing", but by the possibility of a security breach on my 'puter. What say ye? I'm pretty much a dummy on this stuff.
If you made any transactions, you're really taking a chance. There are many programs that I can install to watch the traffic. If you go through my router, it is much easier.
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Old 02-22-2009, 07:09 AM   #8
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I've been thinking of building a "biquad" antenna. Since I have a panoramic view, the claim is that I can tap into wireless networks up to 5 miles away. If some of them are provided for public access, I might have a new way to cut expenses.
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Old 02-22-2009, 07:14 AM   #9
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Me too Kahn (I think we both have TW). I had to unplug the power to the modem AND the router, wait about 20 seconds, replug them, let them "do their thing" then just to do something else I "restarted" the computer and everything was/is fine. Must have something to do with TW maintenance.

When I was last in Florida visiting DS and family I "piggy backed" for an entire week on someone neighbors WiFi (my DS only has DSL). Worked great just like at home. Helps to "sniff" when you are away from home.
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Old 02-22-2009, 07:24 AM   #10
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Still, I was a bit uncomfortable. I wasn't bothered by the "borrowing", but by the possibility of a security breach on my 'puter. What say ye? I'm pretty much a dummy on this stuff.
A valid fear. If your computer lacks security updates, proper configuration and other security measures, it can be infected by malware from other machines using the wifi network. Or, a knowledegable user on another computer using the same router might gain access to your machine.

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If you made any transactions, you're really taking a chance. There are many programs that I can install to watch the traffic. If you go through my router, it is much easier.
If you are using an HTTPS site (and any reputable bank/vendor/lender etc. does), watching the traffic is not good enough as the watcher can't decrypt it.
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Old 02-22-2009, 09:24 AM   #11
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I've heard that there could be security issues when using other wireless accounts.
There has been considerable discussion on this issue in RV related Forums. I am not sure there is complete agreement on this issue -- providing you have protection installed on your computer, firewall, etc. Most RV parks provide wi-fi to their customers (unsecured) and that is, for us Cheapos, a first-choice option.

I, personally, am not very comfortable with the explanations put forth so far. Therefore, I use non-secure wi-fi for e-mail only. When I do , for example, banking, I use our own secure router (through the Verizon connection) when on the road.

I do know that, in the past month, I have twice, while connected to an unsecure wi-fi, had a message pop up that said something like "Windows Media Center has discovered that "Sally's Computer" has media that you can share. Would you like to share your media files?" That is kinda scary and plenty off-putting.
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Old 02-22-2009, 09:26 AM   #12
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Just to add:

When the computer turns on it tells me I'm on the edge of three different networks. In the past, all of them were locked. The one I picked up yesterday is still unlocked.
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Old 02-22-2009, 09:44 AM   #13
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My computer jumps over to someone else's signal if for some reason something happens to mine.
I use the "Wireless Network Meter" gadget to monitor my connection while on the road.

It becomes second-nature to check the "ID:" or ""IP:" line frequently after finding that you no longer had a secure connection a couple of times. This Gadget is also good for finding the wi-fi point with the fastest transfer times.

Love them Gadgets -- the best of Vista.
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Old 02-22-2009, 11:10 AM   #14
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The one I picked up yesterday is still unlocked.
Our next-door neighbor "locks" his network by making his password the same as his network's name.

Once I figured that out, I've heroically resisted the temptation. Or else I'm waiting for a really really good one-time opportunity...
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Old 02-22-2009, 12:14 PM   #15
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I live in a blue-collar neighborhood; most houses built a few years after WW2.

In the last five years, several houses have been turned into groups homes for college students.

There are interesting social dynamics to observe.
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Old 02-22-2009, 12:24 PM   #16
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Hey, maybe one of you can give me some network advise. We have a home network with broadband provided by Qwest - Microsoft. Everthing worked swell for several years, now the network doesn't work as it has in the past. We brought a tech out and he said that because the ip addresses change the network is toast (so to speak) and, essentially, washed his hands of our set up. My son suggested that we find a router that can handle dynamic addresses (our current router is at least 10 years old). We aren't interested in a wireless network. So, any thoughts folks?
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Old 02-22-2009, 01:14 PM   #17
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Hey, maybe one of you can give me some network advise. We have a home network with broadband provided by Qwest - Microsoft. Everthing worked swell for several years, now the network doesn't work as it has in the past. We brought a tech out and he said that because the ip addresses change the network is toast (so to speak) and, essentially, washed his hands of our set up. My son suggested that we find a router that can handle dynamic addresses (our current router is at least 10 years old). We aren't interested in a wireless network. So, any thoughts folks?
Assuming it's an static vs. dynamic IP address issue, follow your son's advice & turn the wireless feature of your new router off (if you can't find a wired-only router)
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Old 02-22-2009, 01:19 PM   #18
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Hey, maybe one of you can give me some network advise. We have a home network with broadband provided by Qwest - Microsoft. ... My son suggested that we find a router that can handle dynamic addresses (our current router is at least 10 years old). We aren't interested in a wireless network. So, any thoughts folks?
I, too, use Qwest DSL (I did not migrate to MSN and still have my Qwest.net address) and have not found any deterioration in the service so it probably is your router (or other equipment).

Any of these routers will fix you up.

To confirm that you are getting the proper performance from the Qwest portion of the system go to (for example) Speed Test - dslreports.com and click on one of the speed tests (I use the Flash 8 but any will do), then follow the instructions (I use Fort Worth or Los Angeles).
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Old 02-22-2009, 01:38 PM   #19
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THANK YOU so much. There are several on the list that would work for us.
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Old 02-22-2009, 02:50 PM   #20
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My home network is wire based, but has a wireless mode as well, which I use from my GMC suburban for access. The network is locked with a nice long password. There is also a feature to turn off responding to any sweeps or fishing expeditions, like "war-drivers".

Unless the network specifically is addressed via an encrypted address, and with the right password it never responds to queries. It never responds to blind queries. It takes a bit of work to set up, but does keep the riff-raff out. I think this feature is available in all wireless routers.

The wireless security is not that great, but the previously noted setup eliminates all but the determined hacker.
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