Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Long Distance Wireless Networking

Was perusing my tech news hangouts, and was directed over to an article on Wired.

It seems that some kids from here in Ohio created an 802.11b wireless network connection at a distance of 55 miles. They used those 9.5 foot satellite dishes that were more popular before the days of the 18" dishes like DirecTV and Dish Network use. They used both amplification and non-amplification to get those distances.

However, one of the interesting parts of the articles reads thusly:

Corrado told the crowd that they initially had no plans to attend DefCon but decided to enter the contest 19 days earlier after a "business plan" they devised fell through.

"We were going to war-drive around Cincinnati and find unencrypted wireless access points," Corrado said. "We knocked on people's doors and asked if (they) wanted us to encrypt them, and they just got all freaked out. So we were searching for other things to do with the equipment we had just purchased."


Exactly.

If I had a dime for everytime someone suggested doing just what they did, I'd be a rich man.

You might be thinking, "But hey, it sounds like a good idea, why wouldn't it work?"

That's the problem with most ideas. They might sound good, but with the follow-through, they rarely pan out.

Even if you were of a proper age, dressed in a suit and tie, and gifted with proper communication skills, you'd get almost no where with this approach.

You see, you're pointing out to people that they are either:

Careless
Stupid
Inept
Poor Decision Makers

Or all of the above.

You're also giving the impression that you are:

A Smart Ass
A Know It All
Sneaky
A Criminal
Unethical

Or all of the above.

You wouldn't rattle someone's front doorknob and finding it open, ring the doorbell and tell them to lock their door would you? You'd be lucky if they didn't summon the police to take you away. The same common sense applies to testing wireless networks. You don't do it unless you were given prior permission.

That's why it rarely works, and gets you the cold shoulder or deer-in-the-headlight looks. There's a better approach that I have used successfully, and if you want to know it, you can pay my consulting fees to find out.

It was nice to see someone doing such long distance shots with wireless. It gives one hope that those out in the rural areas can get high-speed connectivity if they don't have trees, power lines, tall buildings, or other obstacles in the way.

I have purchased a Super Cantenna for long distance shots at small business locations. It works really well. Sure, I could build my own, but it would take more time and money than just buying it.