Wifi to only one laptop ques??

Or, the unprotected machine may be a lure, so he can read the email of those who try to grab his bandwidth. Then, he will also know you in answer to your second question.


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Jack Sandweiss
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Laptop has built in wifi . What do I need to install by my dsl modem so I can use my laptop any where in my house. Laptop is a Dell 6000 and I think the wifi thats in it is 802.11 a,b and g. Two more question are if I connect to an unsecured wifi network can the owner of the network figure out who I am and if so how. thanks, Larry

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Yes, as there is a chance that if you were detected and not protected (firewall, OS security), he could then connect back to YOUR machine. If he gets that far then potentially he could read YOUR documents. Not that likely but quite possible. You could also make the machine at risk from attack by compromised machines on the same network as you'd effectively be part of the network yourself.

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LaRrY wrote:

You will need a wireless "access point / router". ($40-$50) There are many on the market. The G standard is currently the way to go. (Not B even though their dirt cheap) You will run a short CAT5 cable from your DSL modem to the AP / router. Usually you're up and running immediately. But read the documentation and use your browser to open the setup pages on the router and set some security settings. At the minimum change the SSID from its default and DO change the password. I also like to turn off "broadcast' of the SSID. That way only people who already know your SSID can connect to your wireless system. This a applicable for the neighbor down the street who would otherwise see your network and try to connect to it just for grins. Hackers can usually get into your system no matter but they have to try and go out of their way to do so. After you are up and running and all is well you can go back and add other security settings. You can turn on encryption. Skilled hackers can still beat that but they have to try pretty hard and spend some time doing so. Also you can use MAC address filtering. Meaning that you can choose to allow only certain computers (network interface cards) onto your network. Of course this can be hacked too but not by the average guy down the street. If you only have the one laptop on your network you will have to find its MAC address and set the router to ONLY allow that address to connect to your network. You'll catch on after playing around with these settings. If you have problems with the setup... connect your laptop directly to the router with CAT5 cable. If you can see the Internet then... you have some configuration problems in the wireless setup of the AP. I said earlier to go with a 802.11G and not B. You can find some leftover B router / Access points at places like Best Buy for $5 after rebates. If you're on a budget... for $5... that is a cheap way to use your laptop wirelessly to access the Internet. In theory it is just as fast as G for Internet use. But if you get another computer and decide to network them and move files between them you will be better off getting the G.

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To add to Dan's post, unless you have something of great value on your network, hackers will tend to hop onto the completely unprotected LinkSys access point a few doors away -- it's kind of like the difference between stealing a car with doors open and keys in the ignition versus having to break the window and hotwire the car -- the one with the keys is much easier. Also, the unprotected access point probably means that the owner is probably not really looking for intruders either (unless it's a lure to get you on so they can sniff your traffic -- but not very likely).

A few pointers:

- Get an 802.11g access point -- they run at about 54 Mbps vs. 11 Mbps on an

802.11b (note that some 'g' networks can give you up to 108 Mbps now). Also, the newer 'g' cards tend to have better range than older 'b' cards.

- Enable WEP -- After setting up your AP and successfully connecting to it from your laptop, turn on WEP -- even if just 64-bit. This is like taking the keys out of the car.

- Enable MAC filtering -- if you want extra protection against anyone hopping onto your network. With MAC filtering, basically you're telling your AP that it is only allowed to talk to the wireless card in your laptop -- it will ignore all others. However, others can still listen to your traffic (since it goes over airwaves), and crafty hackers can 'spoof' the MAC address. This is why you also want the WEP -- double-protection

- Change the default channel -- chances are that you're going to buy a LinkSys AP (nice devices for the $$$ and they're easy to configure). However, most of your neighbors probably also have LinkSys AP. Very few people change the default channel, which on a LinkSys is 6. The channel is actually a frequency (Channel 6 is at 2437 MHz). So, if two AP's near each other both use the same channel, their transmissions will conflict with each other -- kind of like two sets of walkie-talkies chatting at the same time on the same channel. If you want to increase your range and data throughput, change the channel to one not being used by any of your neighbors. If possible, move at least two channels away since there is some minor overlap between the frequencies. You can find out what channels are active by using the 'scan' feature on your wireless adapter's utility.

- Change the default password on your router and access point -- everyone knows the default passwords. If someone hops onto your network, they can easily change any of the settings on your AP/router (including the password), and can actually lock you out of your own network.

I highly recommend that you change only one setting at a time and check for connectivity after each change. Otherwise, if something goes wrong, you won't know what to fix.

Happy surfing! X_HOBBES

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