Maybe dumb question about wireless

Discussion in 'privacy technology' started by Chuck57, Jul 18, 2008.

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  1. Chuck57
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    Chuck57 Registered Member

    We were at our neighbor's today. She has a wireless laptop that connects to a tower about a mile and a half from her.

    Anyway, to lay it out, on her laptop, a Dell Inspiron 1525, she has an internal wireless antenna - and she can connect through the tower. She occasionally uses it when she wants to be outdoors rather than cooped up inside. I think it's called stealing the signal, since she isn't paying for it.

    My question. everything I've read said you needed to be within 100-150 feet of a source, yet she's picking up the signal from a tower 1 1/2 miles away. Have they been lying to us? Her connection is awfully slow, and it takes a long time even for a page to load, but it works.
  2. wat0114
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    wat0114 Guest

    If the tower has high gain and high transmission power, then the scenario you describe is quite possible. Lucky her for getting free internet service ;)
  3. HURST
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    HURST Registered Member

    WiFi is usually good for up to 300 feet if you are REALLY lucky (at least according to manuals:D). Most home routers will be good just for your home and maybe some neighbours.
    But, as stated before, if that antenna has a high gain, and there are no obstacles, it's possible. The slow speeds are caused because of the poor signal quality, due to the distance.
    To enhance the signal there are some designs for home made parabollic receivers, but I don't know if they work. In theory, they should work.
  4. lodore
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    lodore Registered Member

    Hello Chuck57,
    she isnt paying for it so its illegal to use it. even if you have the owner permission it still might be illlegal under the terms and condisions the owner agrred to when signing up the the ISP.
    first thing to do is to tell her not to use it. you could always ask her to send a politely worded letter to the ownerr saying that there wireless network is not secure and should find out how to secure it.
  5. MikeNAS
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    MikeNAS Registered Member

    Of course it's possible. Here is record:

  6. Chuck57
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    Chuck57 Registered Member

    She knows it's technically illegal, just as it's kind of illegal I guess to travel cross country and tap into WiFi here and there as you go. It just surprised me that an internal WiFi antenna on a cheap Dell laptop could pick up the signal from a mile and a half away. It was kind of stupid of me to even ask if it's possible, since she had the laptop connected (slow reception but it works) when my wife and I stopped by.
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