Finding networks

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Susie N

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I have a silly question. I have a simple wireless network set up here with a linksys router. I didn't have it security-enabled because I didn't know how to do it. My new neighbor said when he was setting up his new wireless network, he "saw" my network and could have tapped into it. Now I have mine security-enabled to prevent that, but I'm wondering how many other people could see my network and might have logged into it. Here's my question -- how did they do that? How do you search for nearby networks? My laptop is wireless ready and wifi enabled, but I haven't the slightest clue on how to do all that. Also, now that I'm behind security, can others still see me and just not be able to access or am I invisible now?

See? I told you I had a silly question. ;)
 
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Susie N said:
I have a silly question. I have a simple wireless network set up here with a linksys router. I didn't have it security-enabled because I didn't know how to do it. My new neighbor said when he was setting up his new wireless network, he "saw" my network and could have tapped into it. Now I have mine security-enabled to prevent that, but I'm wondering how many other people could see my network and might have logged into it.
One Sunday I put a laptop in the car and drove ca. 2 miles into town. Saw almost 70 wireless routers or access points. ca. 50% were unencrypted. And this is NOT a very built-up area!

Even the basic Windows Wireless Configuration facility will allow you to "search for available networks" and will list everything it sees. Or you can download something like Netstumbler (http://www.stumbler.net/).

Susie N said:
Also, now that I'm behind security, can others still see me and just not be able to access or am I invisible now?
Ensure you switch off "Broadcast SSID" (it'll be in the router configuration somewhere) and you will be invisible. Leave it on and you are seen (even with encryption on; I see my neighbours two APs, both of which are encrypted, but he broadcasts SSID).

If you do switch SSID broadcast off in the router then you need to remember to tell the wireless adaptor in connecting PCs the name so they can get in!
 

JohnWill

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The only effective security for WiFi is encryption, and the only really effective encryption is WPA, though WEP is better than nothing. The other anemic measures like SSID hiding, MAC filtering, disabling DHCP, etc., only make your network harder for you to use.
 

JohnWill

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I was addressing the WEP security issue in the post, did you read that part? If you have WPA enabled with a decent password, why would you care if someone can see your network, they can't access it, which is the object of the exercise.
 
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The original posting never actually mentioned WEP; so obviously I never read that part! ;)
I don't disagree with the "... anemic measures like SSID hiding ..." comments; but that was not the question. And the object of the exercise, as you put, was to answer the question.
 

JohnWill

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coulterp said:
The original posting never actually mentioned WEP; so obviously I never read that part! ;)
I read this to indicate he had enabled WEP.
Also, now that I'm behind security, can others still see me and just not be able to access or am I invisible now?
 

Susie N

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Hi all,

Thanks for your replies. I have the WEP in place with a security key. I'm sure I'm not saying that right. I guess my main two questions are these:

1. If someone in my neighborhood is searching for available wireless networks, can they see me still? I take it they can since I haven't turned off my SSID broadcasting.

and

2. How can I search for available wireless networks like my new neighbor did which enabled him to see me? The reason I ask is so I can take my laptop to my parent's or sister's home and get online.

(and I do wonder how I would access WiFi at a place like Panera Bread or Starbucks....no clue on how to do that!)
 

Susie N

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Oh boy....trouble is brewing....

Now that I've done this (security enabling), my wireless printer isn't on the network. How do I fix that???
 
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Susie N said:
1. If someone in my neighborhood is searching for available wireless networks, can they see me still? I take it they can since I haven't turned off my SSID broadcasting.
Yes.
2. How can I search for available wireless networks like my new neighbor did which enabled him to see me? The reason I ask is so I can take my laptop to my parent's or sister's home and get online.
As I described in my first post (item #2).
Assuming you are using WinXP: you should have a little WLAN icon in the taskbar, bottom right. (hover over it: your wireless connection will be described, along with signal strengh and LAN speed).
Right click on icon: You will be offered, among a number of options, the option to "View Wireless Networks". You should be presented with a list the wireless networks your card can detect.
Now that I've done this (security enabling), my wireless printer isn't on the network. How do I fix that???
Every wireless device you want to use your WLAN must have the same encryption key data as you set up on the router. I do not know what model of printer you have but I expect that the user documentation that accompanies it will describe how to configure wireless, including encryption, on the printer.
 

Susie N

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Right click on icon: You will be offered, among a number of options, the option to "View Wireless Networks". You should be presented with a list the wireless networks your card can detect.
Well, don't I feel silly? I didn't realize it was that simple. Well, mine is the only network I detect, so I guess I'll have to go ahead and take my laptop to my mom's house and see what I see. Thanks for your patience. :eek:

Every wireless device you want to use your WLAN must have the same encryption key data as you set up on the router. I do not know what model of printer you have but I expect that the user documentation that accompanies it will describe how to configure wireless, including encryption, on the printer.
I have an HP wireless printer. Something you said triggered something in my memory from setting it up the first time. I figured it out! Pretty proud of myself! LOL :D

Thanks so much for everything. :)
 
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