Tag Archives: wireless

What Can I Do With an Old Wireless Router? Three Ideas

https://i1.wp.com/www.turbogadgets.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/many-routers.jpgIf you’re like most people, you probably have an old wireless router stored in a closet or the garage. You may have purchased a new computer, or decided to upgrade to Wireless N, the most recent wireless network standard.

Regardless, there are a number of uses for old wireless routers, so dig them out, dust them off, and consider the following ways to reuse them to improve your home network.

1. Set up a new wireless access point in your home:

Perhaps your son or daughter would like to use their laptop in the basement rec room, or your new router is on the first floor and you’d like wireless access upstairs. You can use the old router as an access point to help extend coverage to areas of your home where the signal may not be as strong. To do this, you simply turn off the DCHP server on the old router and plug in an Ethernet cable from the new router to the old one. It is a simple and no-cost way to double the wireless coverage in your home. For more in depth information on how to create an access point using your old router, please check out this guide.

2. Create a wireless bridge with your old router.

If you’d like to extend your network coverage, but you don’t want to have to plug in the new router to the old one, you may want to consider creating a wireless bridge. This is a better option for those who prefer not to fumble around with bulky Ethernet cables, but the process is a bit more complex than simply creating an access point. You need to be somewhat tech-savvy, and you also need to install upgraded DD-WRT firmware to ensure your network remains secure. For comprehensive instructions on how to create a wireless bridge in your home, please check out this guide.

3. Convert your old router to a wireless hotspot.

Maybe you run your own business, or have a friend that may benefit from having Wi-Fi access at their store or café. If so, you may want to consider using your old router to set up a wireless hotspot. While you can just plug your old router into the wall to allow for internet access in your business, you will still want to implement the hotspot feature. Hotspots oftentimes require users to either pay for access, and there are also options out there that allow you to manage user accounts with a login feature. DD-WRT offers a few options for hotspot products, as does CoovaAP.

Old routers no longer have to occupy valuable real estate in your closet or garage. So dust them off, and try your hand at expanding your own wireless network’s capacity or consider sharing them with others who may benefit from having wireless in their business or home. If you are interested in finding out additional creative ways you can use your old routers, please check out these suggestions.

About the Author:

This guest post is contributed by Kerry Butters.  Kerry contributes on behalf of Broadband Genie, the advice website for all things internet and broadband. Click here for the best broadband deals currently available.

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Filed under Guest Writers, Interconnectivity, Networking, Wi-Fi

Simple Network Scanning With Free Wireless Network Watcher

imageIn this age of connected devices, and the proliferation of Wi-Fi, the number of “open networks” has jumped considerably.

While it’s true that wireless routers are supplied with encryption software –  working through the manual is often a frustrating experience for less technically inclined users. As a result, it’s not unusual for users to continue to use (widely known) default network names and passwords.

In a study commissioned by  the Wi-Fi Alliance in August of last year, it was discovered that only 59 percent of users have implemented wireless passwords, or encryption methods, that meet the basic criteria for strength and privacy.

In addition, the survey revealed that while “eighty-five percent of survey respondents understood that their Wi-Fi devices should not be set for automatic sharing, …. only 62 percent actually had auto-sharing turned off.” It’s easy to conclude then, that piggybacking on an unprotected wireless access point is perhaps more common than many might imagine.

So, how would you know if your wireless signal is piggyback capable, and is perhaps being used as the neighborhood access point? You could of course, install any one of the comprehensive open source network monitoring packages widely available for download. Provided, that is, you’re prepared to dig into a host of complex instructions and procedures.

A much simpler, but very basic solution, is offered by NirSoft’s Wireless Network Watcher. This free utility “scans your wireless network and displays the list of all computers and devices that are currently connected to your network.”

As you can see in the following screen capture (click to expand)  – the following connected device information is displayed: IP address, MAC address, the network card manufacturer, and optionally, the computer name.

Wireless Network Watcher

Better yet, you can set the utility to continuously monitor so that it will notify you of any new devices connecting to your network (with an audible signal if you like) – as illustrated in the following screen shot.

Wireless Network Watcher 2

System requirements: Windows 2000, XP, 2003, Vista, Server 2008, Win 7.

Download at: NirSoft (you’ll need to skip down the page to locate the download link).

Bonus feature – you can also use Wireless Network Watcher to scan a small wired network.

Wireless Network Watcher may not be jam packed with features – but, it does what it’s designed to do, and it does it very well. Additionally, the advanced options menu will allow you to scan selected IP address ranges, choose which adapter to scan from, and save the results to html.

More information about Wi-Fi security, including innovations that make setting up security easier, is available at www.wi-fi.org/security. Users can test their own security knowledge with a quick online quiz, watch animations about home Wi-Fi security, and download white papers with detailed information.

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Filed under Connected Devices, downloads, Freeware, Network Tools, Software, Utilities

Benefits of a Wired Life

Wired life Over the last ten to fifteen years, we have seen an explosive amount of growth related to high technology.

In just a few short years, we have gone from land lines and dial-up internet connections to 3g cell phones and wireless internet.

Living in this period of time is exciting for many different reasons and living a wired life has many benefits, a few of which will be explored in the following article.

Instant Access to Information

Whenever you need to find something out in this day and age, all you need to do is go to Google and you will have the answer in a matter of seconds. This is great for many different reasons. There is rarely a need to dial information, and when you look up something on the internet, you also can see reviews, updated information, and alternatives to your search as well, regardless of what you’re looking for.

Get Anywhere with Ease

Whether you utilize the Google Maps tool or have a GPS system in your vehicle, chances are you’ll have a tough time getting lost on the way to a new location. Although there have been some instances where this technology hasn’t been quite as effective, it is generally the best information available out there at the moment. Glitches have basically been worked out and maps are updated frequently as new routes are assessed and opened up.

Mobility

mobility Practically everything you could ever need in the way of technology is now available in a portable device.

In 1998, the average hard drive on a PC was 8 GB; now an 80 GB mp3 player is smaller than a deck of cards. In such a brief time period, practically everything is now portable.

Pocket PCs and cell phones have access to a variety of function that go far beyond the bulky cell phone of ten to twelve years ago. The ability to access your PC’s desktop from a remote location is another of many benefits of the increasingly mobile nature of technology.

Promise of Greatness to Come

Each time a new technology is developed, it brings a sense of hope for what the future has in store. Even now, documents and records are being scanned and backed up, books are being saved to digital formats, and databases are being created to be able to make the most of our technology. As this field continues to grow and develop, our lives can and will only get better as a result.

By-line:

This article was contributed by Holly McCarthy, who writes on the subject of an internet provider. She invites your feedback at hollymccarthy12 (at) gmail dot com

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Filed under Interconnectivity, Living Life, Networking, Personal Perspective, social networking, Windows Tips and Tools