Skip navigation

WiFi Security Is Better Than I Expected

There's a lot of talk about the need for increased WiFi security. I was surprised what I found when I did a little "wardriving" in my area.

I recently got a few high gain antennas and a couple new WiFi cards. The antennas are nice. One is a mini dish directional type called a Backflash that has a 15dB gain. Another is a mobile omni antenna with a magnetic base that can be put on the roof of a car. It has a 7dB gain. The third is a weatherproof stick antenna (also an omni) that has a WiFi card build right into the base. You can plug it straight into a USB port! It's meant to mount on the side of an RV or maybe on the mirror post of a truck. I'm not sure what the gain is on that one -- probably between 7 and 15dB.

I also got a Buffalo AirStation WiFi card and two OEM cards that are manufactured by Senao. Two of them have external antenna jacks. Before I plugged in the external antennas I couldn't pick up any access points. Even after I plugged in the antennas I could barely pick up a couple of weak AP signals while indoors.

So I fired up NetStumbler on a laptop and took off for a drive around my area to see what I could pick up. Before I made it two blocks down the street I had already discovered numerous access points. 

I suspected that I'd find most APs wide open but that wasn't the case. Many of them had encryption enabled, which NetStumbler clearly indicates. The interesting thing I discovered in this brief test was that many of the secured APs were obviously in private homes, which I expected to all be wide open. So apparently even home users are wising up to the need for at least some sort of WiFi security.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.