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Old 05-07-2014, 07:54 AM   #1
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WiFi

You folks that have devices that can receive free WiFi signals from several miles away, I have a question. Aren't most free WiFi password protected? And if so what good is this type of equipment.
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Old 05-07-2014, 08:31 AM   #2
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Lots of signals are password protected sure, but you just have to find one that's open. Heck, even our marina signal that comes with our slip, there's one access point hundreds of feet away in a 400 boat marina, so equipment with a long range is helpful even for signals you're specifically authorized to use, not only when you're "borrowing" an open signal.
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Old 05-07-2014, 08:38 AM   #3
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Lots of wifi is open. I use "the wirie ap". It is self contained, has a router, and the only wires needed are 12 v power.
In my marina the wifi is free, and with using the wirie its a stronger signal and faster.
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Old 05-07-2014, 09:38 AM   #4
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The Wirie is okay, I prefer the Wave WiFi products. I have been using the ROGUE and then the EC/HP unit for years. Every year I find more AP's that are open for the public's use. New products are being released by many of the re-packagers that will be N compliant. I prefer the Wave WiFi GUI (graphic user interface) over the others.
If you are in a Comcast, Cox Cable or Cable Vision area chances are you will find many of their hot spots available for your use. Tim, I noticed in another thread you talked about an inside TV antenna an inside WiFi booster will be of little help it needs to be mounted outside of the boat to work properly.
If you are okay with programming you can build your own system using Ubiquiti products. Since the N standard is now ready for prime time look at a Ubiquiti Rocket M2 and the Airmax Omni mating antenna to use as your bridge unit and a small low powered AP/ Router like the Linksys.
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Old 05-07-2014, 09:38 AM   #5
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And even where a password is required, you can still enter a password to gain access, assuming you have said password. This is required in lots of marinas, even where there is no charge for access.
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Old 05-07-2014, 09:53 AM   #6
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And even where a password is required, you can still enter a password to gain access, assuming you have said password. This is required in lots of marinas, even where there is no charge for access.
So true just ask if the AP identifies itself, many do. Most modern AP's use a splash legal terms page once you get past that it allows access after it records your MAC address.
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Old 05-07-2014, 09:57 AM   #7
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So true just ask if the AP identifies itself, many do. Most modern AP's use a splash legal terms page once you get past that it allows access after it records your MAC address.
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Right. And the beauty of a wifi extender is that once you are logged on, everything on the boat works through that single logon. No need to login each device.
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Old 05-07-2014, 10:12 AM   #8
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Right. And the beauty of a wifi extender is that once you are logged on, everything on the boat works through that single logon. No need to login each device.
That's because the bridge unit submits it's MAC address for authentication and everything behind most router/ AP's inside the boat are behind a firewall or invisible to the Hot Spot your connected to.
The only negative with using WiFi is it's not really a mobile platform, meaning if you are moving AP's generally don't hand off like cellular routers. I use both a CradlePoint on VZW LTE when moving and the Wave unit when we are anchored or at a marina where we can grab a good WiFi signal.
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Old 05-08-2014, 05:39 AM   #9
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Folks, Admittedly I have limited experience in this area, but I have been using a simple USB powered Alpha Networks Wi Fi range extender for years that is totally portable (stays with my laptop) and works extremely well on my boat, even in the BVI's. Amazon.com: alpha networks 802.11b g long range wireless usb adapter model awus036h George
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Old 05-08-2014, 05:49 AM   #10
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Folks, Admittedly I have limited experience in this area, but I have been using a simple USB powered Alpha Networks Wi Fi range extender for years that is totally portable (stays with my laptop) and works extremely well on my boat, even in the BVI's. Amazon.com: alpha networks 802.11b g long range wireless usb adapter model awus036h George
There are many boaters who choose this device. It's not something I would recommend for long distance WiFi unless it's hooked up to an external antenna.
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Old 05-08-2014, 09:56 AM   #11
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Ok, thanks for all the good info. I guess my experience is not typical in that most free WiFi access points I've come across still need a password.

My marina WiFi is free to tenants and requires a password, but unless you access it between 2400 and 0600 it's pretty much worthless. The antenna is 2 slips away. For that reason and others I've got a verizon MiFi unit that works great. A little pricy but it's secure and dependable.

Just wondering, for you folks that use public WiFi do you conduct computer banking on public WiFi?
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Old 05-08-2014, 11:56 AM   #12
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Where's the art if hacking any longer? WEP passwords take about 2 minutes to crack. WPA takes a few days. WEP doesn't protect encryption between devices on the same router very well. WPA is pretty good at that.

Never, ever just connect to an open WiFi router without using a VPN. WPA is pretty good without a VPN. WEP isn't. There are plenty of guys like me and 14 year olds in the condos overlooking the marina who can see much of what is being transmitted outside https websites to and from your laptops, phones, and tablets. A VPN is the only real defense.

If none of those acronyms mean anything to you, you need to read our previous VPN articles starting in 2010 - search for Firesheep on our website and the 4-5 articles surrounding that. To use Google for a site only search, enter a search like this in Google:
firesheep site:ActiveCaptain.com
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Old 05-08-2014, 06:41 PM   #13
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Oh brother. I'm sure you're right, all kinds of vulnerabilities out there, but who has time to hassle with all that complexity when all I want to do is surf boat sites and CNN and send emails to grandma. Life is too short.
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Old 05-08-2014, 06:46 PM   #14
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Oh brother. I'm sure you're right, all kinds of vulnerabilities out there, but who has time to hassle with all that complexity when all I want to do is surf boat sites and CNN and send emails to grandma. Life is too short.
Yeah, you're right. In your boat, perhaps thousands of miles away from home...what could possibly go wrong if someone was able to get to your email, bank accounts, and everything else personal you do online...
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Old 05-08-2014, 07:11 PM   #15
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I think most POP and IMAP servers can run via SSL. Mine does, so email can't be snooped. And all web banking and ecommerce is via https, so that can't be snooped either. That just leaves all my browsing on TF and other sites. If someone wants to watch, feel free.

What else is there? I don't claim to be an expert on this, but know more it than the average user.
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Old 05-08-2014, 07:16 PM   #16
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You need to use a VPN if your that concerned
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Old 05-08-2014, 07:19 PM   #17
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Oh brother. I'm sure you're right, all kinds of vulnerabilities out there, but who has time to hassle with all that complexity when all I want to do is surf boat sites and CNN and send emails to grandma. Life is too short.

Your concerns are over blown I run numerous marina hot spots haven't had single problem in 5 plus years.
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Old 05-08-2014, 07:26 PM   #18
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I think most POP and IMAP servers can run via SSL. Mine does, so email can't be snooped. And all web banking and ecommerce is via https, so that can't be snooped either. That just leaves all my browsing on TF and other sites. If someone wants to watch, feel free.

What else is there? I don't claim to be an expert on this, but know more it than the average user.
Admittedly, I know little about wifi, but I don't think the above is correct.

I'm paying the money for my verizon data simply because at least in NYC, it is clear that anyone can read pretty much anything over wifi unless you have a vpn setup.

This is discussed all the time on our business channels.
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Old 05-08-2014, 07:32 PM   #19
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We have a Wirie AP and love it! Great having the boat with it's own wifi, everything can talk to each other. Always someone with an open wifi around within the units range. Best password I have seen (hacked) was a marine service with a password protected wifi called "Guest network", one try and I was in!
The password was "guest"..............
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Old 05-08-2014, 08:05 PM   #20
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It is so incredibly simple to get into much of what you think is secure. POP is rarely SSL based. IMAP is quite secure but no one would try to break through that wall when there are so many easier ones.

Panbo challenged me with something similar a few years ago. So that evening I used free software to dump some basic network packets. It showed an open POP password within 30 seconds of use. The screen shot is still at:
http://www.panbo.com/assets_c/2010/1...egle-3090.html

And Billylll - how would you possibly know how much information was stolen from the marina hotspots that you "run" - which marinas are they (I'd love to check my notes if I've been to one). I'm working with literally hundreds of marinas right now with WiFi. Most are the most unsecure setups I've ever seen. Most of the marina WiFi setups I've seen are created by people who know just enough to be dangerous.

You either need to use cellular or you need to use a VPN. Anything else is just asking to have your identity stolen.
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