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uk.telecom.broadband (UK broadband) (uk.telecom.broadband) Discussion of broadband services, technology and equipment as provided in the UK. Discussions of specific services based on ADSL, cable modems or other broadband technology are also on-topic. Advertising is not allowed.

Is somebody blocking my wifi?



 
 
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  #1  
Old March 1st 05, 08:22 PM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
LJM
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 11
Default Is somebody blocking my wifi?

I've had a wireless access point since I got my Centrino notebook
fifteen months ago. The seperate 4 Port ADSL Router and 3Com WAP units
were replaced six weeks ago with a single device from Maplin (4 Port
Wireless ADSL Router!). If anything the signal was better than before,
not that it was bad before.

Then this morning, my notebook wouldn't detect the access point. I
troubleshooted by putting the notebook right next to the router,
resetting the router back to factory defaults and reinstalling from
scratch. Still couldn't find any hotspots so I returned the router to
maplin and they replaced it.

Got it home, set it up, and the problem remained. Then I had the bright
idea to switch the wireless RF channel on the router from CH6 to CH11.
Suddenly, it started working. It was fine throughout the afternoon.
Then at 6pm, all hotspots vanished again. Thinking my Centrino notebook
might be at fault (reception malfunction?), I switched off the integral
wireless (via a switch on the front) and plugged in a 3Com OfficeConnect
Wireless 11g PC Card that I kept hold of in case of emergency. That
wasn't finding any networks either. Then I switched the RF channel back
to CH6, and hey presto, it starts working again. And not only is the
3Com card finding it, but after removing it and enabling Centrino
wireless again, my notebook finds it too.

What's going on here? If other WAPs are operating on the same channel
in the neighbourhood, can that cause problems? Is it possible somebody
is being malicious and somehow jamming the signal? (Sounds paranoid,
but some local hotspots have identified themselves with some really
/interesting/ SSIDs just recently.)
--
Lee J. Moore
"Life is short, art is long."
  #2  
Old March 1st 05, 08:27 PM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
Harry Bloomfield
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Posts: 97
Default Is somebody blocking my wifi?

LJM used his keyboard to write :
What's going on here? If other WAPs are operating on the same channel
in the neighbourhood, can that cause problems? Is it possible somebody
is being malicious and somehow jamming the signal? (Sounds paranoid,
but some local hotspots have identified themselves with some really
/interesting/ SSIDs just recently.)


Try Netstumbler, it should be able to identify your own and other
access points operating in your local area. That assumes that your WiFi
chipset in the laptop is compatable, but most are.

--

Regards,
Harry (M1BYT) (L)
http://www.ukradioamateur.org

  #3  
Old March 1st 05, 08:44 PM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
LJM
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 11
Default Is somebody blocking my wifi?

Friends, johnydeath, countrymen, lend me your newsreaders:
LJM wrote:

What's going on here? If other WAPs are operating on the same
channel in the neighbourhood, can that cause problems? Is it
possible somebody is being malicious and somehow jamming the signal?
(Sounds paranoid, but some local hotspots have identified themselves
with some really /interesting/ SSIDs just recently.)


try netstumbler http://www.netstumbler.com/downloads/ to see whats
around and on what channels (turn your AP off first of course in case
they have set an identical SSID)


Thanks (and to Harry as well). It seems to do the same as the Toshiba
Connectivity doctor, only that shows them more graphically (hotspots
slowly orbiting a notebook from various distances depending on their
range). Turned off my own AP, and Netstumbler didn't find anything with
the same SSID. When I turned my own AP back on, it reckoned it was
using WEP encryption though, which it 'aint. I've always used WPA.
(Winders and the Toshiba util correctly detect WPA.)

--
Lee J. Moore
"Life is short, art is long."
  #4  
Old March 1st 05, 09:01 PM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
Pete M Williams
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 74
Default Is somebody blocking my wifi?


"LJM" wrote in message
...

Thanks (and to Harry as well). It seems to do the same as the Toshiba
Connectivity doctor, only that shows them more graphically (hotspots
slowly orbiting a notebook from various distances depending on their
range). Turned off my own AP, and Netstumbler didn't find anything with
the same SSID. When I turned my own AP back on, it reckoned it was
using WEP encryption though, which it 'aint. I've always used WPA.
(Winders and the Toshiba util correctly detect WPA.)



Netstumbler always reports WEP, its a problem with the program itself.


  #5  
Old March 2nd 05, 09:08 AM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
Paul D.Smith
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Posts: 287
Default Is somebody blocking my wifi?

[snip]
What's going on here? If other WAPs are operating on the same channel
in the neighbourhood, can that cause problems? Is it possible somebody
is being malicious and somehow jamming the signal? (Sounds paranoid,
but some local hotspots have identified themselves with some really
/interesting/ SSIDs just recently.)


What is an /interesting/ SSID? I, for example, use a random SSID (a real
jumble of hexadecimal characters) although I don't broadcast it either.

Paul DS.


  #6  
Old March 2nd 05, 12:22 PM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Is somebody blocking my wifi?

In article ,
What's going on here? If other WAPs are operating on the same channel
in the neighbourhood, can that cause problems? Is it possible somebody
is being malicious and somehow jamming the signal? (Sounds paranoid,
but some local hotspots have identified themselves with some really
/interesting/ SSIDs just recently.)


You may find that someone nearby is using 2.4GHz for something else. Eg I
have a wireless TV extender, and it and the wireless access point tend to
interfere with each other quite a lot. Maybe a neighbour has installed
one, or some other device on 2.4GHz - that's the risk when devices use an
unregulated frequency band.

Zane.
  #7  
Old March 2nd 05, 02:00 PM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
LJM
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 11
Default Is somebody blocking my wifi?

Friends, Paul D.Smith, countrymen, lend me your newsreaders:
[snip]
What's going on here? If other WAPs are operating on the same channel
in the neighbourhood, can that cause problems? Is it possible somebody
is being malicious and somehow jamming the signal? (Sounds paranoid,
but some local hotspots have identified themselves with some really
/interesting/ SSIDs just recently.)


What is an /interesting/ SSID?


One local hotspot changes its SSID every other day. I'm fairly sure
it's the same one that's gone through these most rememberable SSIDs:

"Snotty Neighbour", "******** Almighty" and "**** **** ****" (which
stands out inparticular because I didn't know until then that you could
have spaces in your SSID!). Somebody locally has too much time on their
hands.

I, for example, use a random SSID (a real jumble of hexadecimal
characters) although I don't broadcast it either.


Yep, I'm not broadcasting mine either. The Tosh hotspot detector
software still sees it but probably because it's configured to use it.
--
Lee J. Moore
"Life is short, art is long."
  #9  
Old March 2nd 05, 04:46 PM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
Paul D.Smith
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 287
Default Is somebody blocking my wifi?

What is an /interesting/ SSID?

One local hotspot changes its SSID every other day. I'm fairly sure
it's the same one that's gone through these most rememberable SSIDs:

"Snotty Neighbour", "******** Almighty" and "**** **** ****" (which
stands out inparticular because I didn't know until then that you could
have spaces in your SSID!). Somebody locally has too much time on their
hands.

I, for example, use a random SSID (a real jumble of hexadecimal
characters) although I don't broadcast it either.


Yep, I'm not broadcasting mine either. The Tosh hotspot detector
software still sees it but probably because it's configured to use it.
--
Lee J. Moore
"Life is short, art is long."


Interesting. I wonder if they are running a "randomize SSID" type
application. I've seen programs that manage to change the SSID and WEP keys
regularly. I'm not sure how, or it, they synchronize the various clients
with the access point but the idea if to keep changing to avoid someone
sniffing for too long and cracking the secure channel.

Alternatively, perhaps they're having the same problem as you and this is an
attempt to indicate "stop messing up my wireless please..." is a very
visible manner ;-).

Paul DS.


  #10  
Old March 2nd 05, 05:57 PM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
johnydeath
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 104
Default Is somebody blocking my wifi?

Paul D.Smith wrote:

What is an /interesting/ SSID?


One local hotspot changes its SSID every other day. I'm fairly sure
it's the same one that's gone through these most rememberable SSIDs:

"Snotty Neighbour", "******** Almighty" and "**** **** ****" (which
stands out inparticular because I didn't know until then that you could
have spaces in your SSID!). Somebody locally has too much time on their
hands.


I, for example, use a random SSID (a real jumble of hexadecimal
characters) although I don't broadcast it either.


Yep, I'm not broadcasting mine either. The Tosh hotspot detector
software still sees it but probably because it's configured to use it.
--
Lee J. Moore
"Life is short, art is long."



Interesting. I wonder if they are running a "randomize SSID" type
application. I've seen programs that manage to change the SSID and WEP keys
regularly. I'm not sure how, or it, they synchronize the various clients
with the access point but the idea if to keep changing to avoid someone
sniffing for too long and cracking the secure channel.

Alternatively, perhaps they're having the same problem as you and this is an
attempt to indicate "stop messing up my wireless please..." is a very
visible manner ;-).

Paul DS.



go one stage further and use 'fakeap' under linux to generate 53000 fake
APs with you in the middle somewhere.

Quote: Black Alchemy's Fake AP generates thousands of counterfeit
802.11b access points. Hide in plain sight amongst Fake AP's cacophony
of beacon frames. As part of a honeypot or as an instrument of your site
security plan, Fake AP confuses Wardrivers, NetStumblers, Script
Kiddies, and other undesirables.

Not used it myself yet so cannot comment on its effectiveness. Its on
my ever increasing list of things to do.

http://www.blackalchemy.to/project/fakeap/
 




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