Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Surfing4Free

How to get a geek to go for a walk ? Here is the answer ;)
     Although i'm not that geeky, i do enjoy free internet surfing on my WiFi phone. The deployment of WiFi has grown tremendously in Pune. I know a couple of spots in the city where there up to 3 wireless connections available for use. I have (just to test the bandwidth) even streamed youtube videos using open connections.
   These days when people buy a laptop, they get a wireless router with it. What they forget to do is to set up a security system like WPA (or atleast WEP) on it. I have observed that, if the name of the wireless connection is the default for that router, then there is a high chance that the connection is open.
     When you get a wireless phone, it becomes a habit(or addiction ?) to check whether there is an open connection wherever you go. The other day, i was visiting SBI's branch in Camp when i noticed that, they too had an open WiFi connection. Till my turn came, I was monitoring stocks on the internet. I had decided to let the bank know about it but, i forgot :( I know a software company in Pune, which has a deployed a ridiculously powerful router. Their WiFi is reachable standing even at 70-80 feet from their building. Although the connection is not open, having a connection reachable from such a distance is risky. Also, merely having a powerful router is of no use. 802.11 needs two way traffic; if the WiFi device is not powerful enough to reach the router, a powerful router is of no practical use.
     I am waiting for a software(for my phone) which will continuously scan for open WiFi nodes and connect to them. More importantly, the software should handle the handoff transparently from one router to another while i'm walking/driving out of one's range into another's. I can manually do that, but its too cumbersome to scan and change the access point. Wireless is not that popular in Pune yet, but if, it grows even more, then I think it would be worth writing the s/w myself :P

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2 comments:

Aditya Bhelke said...

HI Pranav,
About your powerful router comment.. did you concider that they may have infact deployed a repeater.. which simply boosts the base signals. So even if the client (read laptop/mobile) is a low powere device, it can easily connect.
Dont you agree?
-Aditya

Pranav said...

Yes, i very much agree and stand corrected on that part :)
My concern is that, the routers are sometimes are placed such that the signal is reachable way outside the intended area. This, IMHO, is a security risk.