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WiFi antennas for access to wifi hotspots

Discussion in 'Technology' started by epa4wd, Sep 19, 2009.

  1. Sep 19, 2009 at 3:21 PM
    #1
    epa4wd

    epa4wd [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I've seen for a while now a lot of different antenna designs for accessing wifi hot spots, some antennas claim up to 8 miles of range. I've seen some houses with them around town. Anyone here owns one? Do they work okay?
     
  2. Sep 19, 2009 at 7:34 PM
    #2
    Brunes

    Brunes abides. Staff Member

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    Yes they can work okay...What is your goal??
     
  3. Sep 19, 2009 at 7:57 PM
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    epa4wd

    epa4wd [OP] Well-Known Member

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    No goal, just wondering because I've seen some local classifieds for the antenna and install.
     
  4. Sep 20, 2009 at 5:34 AM
    #4
    Brunes

    Brunes abides. Staff Member

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    Yeah....You can do all sorts of cool stuff with specific lobe design and higher gain antennas.
    My dad wired together a network @ a lumber yard. Each drying house had a computer controlled monitoring system that required the operator to walk to the house and use a computer there. He added wireless capability to all the local machines and made one central machine in the office to monitor all of them.
     
  5. Sep 20, 2009 at 6:30 AM
    #5
    dexterdog

    dexterdog My pee parts itch

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    Nothing beats a hard wired setup but if you have to go wireless then there are some options. It just depends on what your goals are. Just make sure you protect your connection and don't let your neighbors find out if you are going to bootleg from them.
     
  6. Sep 20, 2009 at 7:31 AM
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    epa4wd

    epa4wd [OP] Well-Known Member

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    ^^
    Im not planning on getting one, or stealing from my neighbors, I already have internet service. I was just curious because I'm starting to see more and more local classifieds advertised as "Free Internet". I would have to say it looks like a great option if you live near a wifi hot spot, which pretty much now every fast food, restaurants, cafes etc have. Its also a great option for apartment buildings near my college to access the university's wifi, but I wonder how real is the up to 8 miles range is.
     
  7. Sep 20, 2009 at 7:58 AM
    #7
    Brunes

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    I'd question 8 miles...but yeah. There are ways to do stuff like that.

    On a side note- It's not really stealing if they don't use a password and you don't have to use any special techniques to get a signal.
     
  8. Sep 20, 2009 at 7:21 PM
    #8
    sooner07

    sooner07 1/2 man 1/2 amazing

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    Yeah, just like how if someone lock their doors its ok to walk around inside their house. :rolleyes:

    I understand the logic of people needing to secure their connections, but it isn't an excuse to utilize a service for which they pay. At least, that is how several courts have ruled on the issue.

    As for if antennas work; yes they can. The 8 mile is not very likely. Standard wifi transmitters are incapable of transmitting that far in the air. Distance will vary based on humidity and particulates in the air at that long of a distance too.
     
  9. Sep 21, 2009 at 2:56 AM
    #9
    Brunes

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    Incorrect- You have to walk into their house thru a closed door. THAT is "extra" steps. They also have an expectation of privacy/control over their house.

    If they are broadcasting a signal that reaches into your space without any security- Totally different story. They do not have an expectation of privacy in YOUR house- and if the signal is in your house- It's in YOUR house. If you don't use any signal boosting technology or "hacking" to get the signal to work....it IS legal.
     
  10. Sep 21, 2009 at 5:49 PM
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    sooner07

    sooner07 1/2 man 1/2 amazing

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    Might want to check your sources on both issues. It is not legal to enter another person's property without their consent regardless of if they leave their door open or not. You must have an invitation or reasonable legal cause for entering.

    While it is still open for debate in court, it isn't exactly legal in the eyes of some courts around the country. I don't argue the point of the logic behind it, I would say that it isn't the best idea to go and attempt to access a wireless connection that isn't yours.
     
  11. Sep 21, 2009 at 6:00 PM
    #11
    Brunes

    Brunes abides. Staff Member

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    I'm a federal LEO...I know that you can't walk into someone else's house because you feel like it. I'm sure I understand the whole 4th amendment "thing" and the laws related to it fairly well. And the fact that it is "still open to debate" means that it is BY DEFINITION- Not precedent bound.

    The example I drew was to make clear parallels out of your apples to oranges comparison. There is laws that specifically outlaw trespass- There are not laws that dictate the use of a free to air signal. Which is why we are having this discussion.

    I have my own hardwired connection- and I, too, would recommend getting your own connection as a point of clarification. But I wouldn't expect the cops to knock down your door if you snarf some signal from the neighbors.
     
  12. Oct 15, 2009 at 5:06 AM
    #12
    Jigzor

    Jigzor Well-Known Member

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    trespassing?! If they do not lock their system down that is an open invite since it is publicly broadcasted. That being said, how am I trespassing when I am still in my own home/property? Their signal is trespassing MY property! Don't want me to have it? Then don't broadcast, lock it down, or block the signal to my property.
     
  13. Oct 15, 2009 at 7:47 AM
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    WATRD

    WATRD Keyser Soze

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    Check out my site, it's mostly up to date and there's too much to list here.
    Actually, the FCC has being making laws about that for decades and decades. Longer than most of have been around. Read on for more.

    That is half right. The Communications Act of 1934, and amended in 1996, indicates that you do have the right to receive signals that you otherwise intercept lawfully. However, WiFi is a two-way system and recent court decisions have set a precedent that it is a "service", subject to the same laws as other services when it comes to "theft of services" rules.

    You would be perfectly within your rights to set up a receiver to listen in, as long as you do not use any information you capture for illegal purposes or for profit. The minute your 802.11x card handshakes with the WAP, you are into something else...

    As an aside, since this is a vehicle forum, did you know that the FCC Communications Act of 1934 is also what is routinely argued as making radar detectors legal? Police have argued that they want to block you from receiving that singal, but the courts have routinely upheld the policy that a radar gun is a radio transmitter and you are free to receive it's signal. Of course, the police then counter that you receive the signal as a means to commit an illegal act, so the FCC regulation shouldn't apply... and the beat goes on...

    (I was a commercial broadcast engineer, in a past life)
     
  14. Oct 15, 2009 at 6:10 PM
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    Brunes

    Brunes abides. Staff Member

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    125 Dishonestly obtaining electronic communications services

    (1) A person who—
    (a) dishonestly obtains an electronic communications service, and
    (b) does so with intent to avoid payment of a charge applicable to the provision of that service,
    is guilty of an offence.
    (2) It is not an offence under this section to obtain a service mentioned in section 297(1) of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (c. 48) (dishonestly obtaining a broadcasting or cable programme service provided from a place in the UK).
    (3) A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable—
    (a) on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum, or to both;
    (b) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or to a fine, or to both.


    I'd like to see any case law documentation you have- cause the way I read that punitive article it would be nearly impossible for anyone to be convicted.

    I receive signals all the time and do nothing dishonest to get them- I just sit there and it comes to my computer. Dushonestly comes when you hack a password to using signal boosting or have to go sit in the attic leaning into a corner to get the signal.

    It's also impossible to prove my intent. An open signal that I find broadcasting into my house- I don't know where it's coming from most of the time (Several folks in my development run open wireless and there is a community center with access too...) "I just assumed it was there to be used" is a pretty solid defense to the intent cause...


     
  15. Oct 15, 2009 at 6:44 PM
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    WATRD

    WATRD Keyser Soze

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    Check out my site, it's mostly up to date and there's too much to list here.
    It's largely anecdotal from reading various trades, but let me find some examples.

    These are related to the theft of services:

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-10784_3-9722006-7.html
    http://www.designnine.com/news/node/423
    http://www.newswireless.net/index.cfm/article/2317

    I will also try to find the cases of the actual prosecutions that I have read about, as I have time. In the mean time, this is a GREAT resource, including a list of the various laws in various states that you might be prosecuted under:

    http://www.cybertelecom.org/broadband/wifisecurity.htm

    It looks like both Florida and Washington are active in prosecutions, so we had both better be careful :)
     
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