Long ethernet cable or wireless?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
jebmke
Posts: 8140
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 2:44 pm

Re: Long ethernet cable or wireless?

Post by jebmke » Mon Nov 28, 2016 2:33 pm

telemark wrote:They have newer products that operate on both bands. At home I use an Apple Airport Express, also configured as a WAP, because I'm in a crowded wifi environment and I really need 5Ghz.
Do you also use this for routing?
I saw somewhere that Apple is exiting the router business. Something to watch for in case firmware updates stop flowing.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

User avatar
telemark
Posts: 2282
Joined: Sat Aug 11, 2012 6:35 am

Re: Long ethernet cable or wireless?

Post by telemark » Mon Nov 28, 2016 3:07 pm

Wifi only. Apple hasn't made an offical announcement, but it seems likely. It's been a few years since the last software update anyway.

azurekep
Posts: 1179
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2015 7:16 pm

Re: Long ethernet cable or wireless?

Post by azurekep » Mon Nov 28, 2016 9:31 pm

jebmke wrote:
Yes, that is essentially it. Make sure that the two powerline adapters are set to encrypt the signal that runs through the wire. The adapter kit should provide software to enable this encryption.
Does powerline adapter software work with Linux?
In my case, at step 3, I have a second router with DHCP turned off. I use it as a WAP to extend wireless access to a remote area of the house. So Wireless is on and routing is off on the remote router. The router connected directly to my cable modem does all the DHCP service and routing.
I have a spare router that I could use as an experiment if I bought a pair of these powerline adapters. Trouble is, it's another combined router-modem. Is there a way to turn off the modem component on these combined devices?
Last edited by azurekep on Mon Nov 28, 2016 10:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

azurekep
Posts: 1179
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2015 7:16 pm

Re: Long ethernet cable or wireless?

Post by azurekep » Mon Nov 28, 2016 9:42 pm

telemark wrote:
I have my mother set up to use a Securifi Almond, set up as a WAP (wireless access point). All you need to do is plug it into an ethernet port and use the touch screen. It only works on 2.4Ghz but that's all her only device uses anyway.
That's a pretty nifty looking device.

How do I tell what frequency band I am on? On my router page, I go with the default which has 802.11 mode listed as: 802.11b or 802.11g or 802.11n Mode
They have newer products that operate on both bands.
That's probably the better bet (for me).
At home I use an Apple Airport Express, also configured as a WAP, because I'm in a crowded wifi environment and I really need 5Ghz. There are lots of other choices that should be easy to set up.
So I'm getting the sense that operating two routers on one network with one as a WAP is pretty much trouble-free. As long as DHCP and related services are turned off. Is it really that easy? I read an older article saying two routers could cause headaches, but there was no mention of turning off DHCP, so maybe the article was leaving out important steps.

User avatar
telemark
Posts: 2282
Joined: Sat Aug 11, 2012 6:35 am

Re: Long ethernet cable or wireless?

Post by telemark » Tue Nov 29, 2016 5:41 pm

azurekep wrote:How do I tell what frequency band I am on? On my router page, I go with the default which has 802.11 mode listed as: 802.11b or 802.11g or 802.11n Mode
If you don't know, 2.4GHz is probably fine. Every wifi standard can operate on it. Newer standards, starting with 802.11n, have the option of also operating at 5GHz. This offers more channels, which are useful in busy environments and supports higher bandwidth, which can be useful if you're trying to stream multiple videos over wifi. If you really want to know, you can look up the specs for your router model, or see which channels it shows as options on the router page. Channels 1-11 are 2.4GHz, everything higher is 5GHz.
So I'm getting the sense that operating two routers on one network with one as a WAP is pretty much trouble-free. As long as DHCP and related services are turned off. Is it really that easy? I read an older article saying two routers could cause headaches, but there was no mention of turning off DHCP, so maybe the article was leaving out important steps.
Multiple routers can easily be a problem, multiple WAPs shouldn't be. Especially for large houses, it's common advice to run ethernet around the house and then connect WAPs in the places where you need wifi.

jebmke
Posts: 8140
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 2:44 pm

Re: Long ethernet cable or wireless?

Post by jebmke » Tue Nov 29, 2016 5:51 pm

azurekep wrote:Does powerline adapter software work with Linux?
Not sure; I think it is just a browser addressing the adapter on a one time basis. You can check a couple manufacturers and look at the user guide on their web site.

I have used Trendnet and Netgear adapters (interchangeably -- in other words, I have Netgear running two ends now and at times have plugged a third adapter (Trendnet) into another plug and was able to have them all work). The beauty of powerline, when it works is that you can move it around easily. It tends to work better on newer wiring and when the circuits are on the same bus. I haven't tried it with circuits on different buses (we have two panels).
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

azurekep
Posts: 1179
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2015 7:16 pm

Re: Long ethernet cable or wireless?

Post by azurekep » Tue Nov 29, 2016 9:59 pm

telemark wrote:
azurekep wrote:
So I'm getting the sense that operating two routers on one network with one as a WAP is pretty much trouble-free. As long as DHCP and related services are turned off. Is it really that easy? I read an older article saying two routers could cause headaches, but there was no mention of turning off DHCP, so maybe the article was leaving out important steps.
Multiple routers can easily be a problem, multiple WAPs shouldn't be. Especially for large houses, it's common advice to run ethernet around the house and then connect WAPs in the places where you need wifi.
Oops, I meant to say dumbed-down router. For those of us who like to repurpose existing equipment, I thought it might be fun to turn a spare router into a WAP. Earlier it was mentioned that DHCP should be turned off, reserving that function for the main router. I just learned (although it is also common sense) that NAT should be turned off as well, otherwise one gets Double-NAT, which interferes with operation. At any rate, the goal in dumbing down a router is to eliminate everything in a router except the internal WAP. What started me thinking in this direction is that a lot of dedicated WAPs seemed overly complicated and yet I have a spare router just sitting around unused.

I think powerline ethernet is the way to go in my particular case since it's an all-wired system. I'll continue reading about it to make sure there aren't any security issues that encryption won't solve.

If I go wireless instead, there's an option in my router setup page to change the wireless power level. It's currently at 100%. Given that the second laptop on the network will be only 20 feet or so from the router/WAP, do you have any ideas how far I can dial down the power? If I could limit the signal to the one room with little bleed outside, that would be ideal.

azurekep
Posts: 1179
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2015 7:16 pm

Re: Long ethernet cable or wireless?

Post by azurekep » Tue Nov 29, 2016 10:04 pm

jebmke wrote:
azurekep wrote:Does powerline adapter software work with Linux?
Not sure; I think it is just a browser addressing the adapter on a one time basis. You can check a couple manufacturers and look at the user guide on their web site.
Will do.
The beauty of powerline, when it works is that you can move it around easily. It tends to work better on newer wiring and when the circuits are on the same bus. I haven't tried it with circuits on different buses (we have two panels).
I think our wiring is pretty old. Is there anything a multimeter can do to verify the soundness of the wiring? Or any other electrical tool that isn't too costly?

User avatar
wander
Posts: 2481
Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2008 9:10 am

Re: Long ethernet cable or wireless?

Post by wander » Tue Nov 29, 2016 10:30 pm

azurekep wrote: [*]Question: If Computer #2 were hacked in wireless mode, would the damage be limited to that computer? Or could a hacker then hack into the router and compromise the wired computer (Computer #1).
If you use Wireless Isolation feature, wireless stations cannot communicate with each other or with stations on the wired network. Although hackers may get on your network, they will use your internet bandwidth but cannot touch your computers.

stlutz
Posts: 4606
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2009 1:08 am

Re: Long ethernet cable or wireless?

Post by stlutz » Wed Nov 30, 2016 1:23 am

Does powerline adapter software work with Linux?
Works just fine with Linux (my machines are all running it). There is no software. You plug each of the two pieces into the outlets, connect ethernet cables, and click on buttons on both of them to "pair" them up and you're set.

User avatar
telemark
Posts: 2282
Joined: Sat Aug 11, 2012 6:35 am

Re: Long ethernet cable or wireless?

Post by telemark » Wed Nov 30, 2016 8:05 am

azurekep wrote:Oops, I meant to say dumbed-down router. For those of us who like to repurpose existing equipment, I thought it might be fun to turn a spare router into a WAP.
Sure, use the device you already have. "Wireless Router" is a marketing term for a router in the same box with a WAP, often with a modem thrown in, because most people need all of these and they don't want to buy three separate boxes. It's perfectly OK only to use the parts you need.
If I go wireless instead, there's an option in my router setup page to change the wireless power level. It's currently at 100%. Given that the second laptop on the network will be only 20 feet or so from the router/WAP, do you have any ideas how far I can dial down the power? If I could limit the signal to the one room with little bleed outside, that would be ideal.
You will have to experiment to find the lowest power level that works, but this is a sensible idea. I run mine at half power as a courtesy to my neighbors. In a small apartment it's more than enough.

azurekep
Posts: 1179
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2015 7:16 pm

Re: Long ethernet cable or wireless?

Post by azurekep » Wed Nov 30, 2016 12:39 pm

wander wrote:
azurekep wrote: [*]Question: If Computer #2 were hacked in wireless mode, would the damage be limited to that computer? Or could a hacker then hack into the router and compromise the wired computer (Computer #1).
If you use Wireless Isolation feature, wireless stations cannot communicate with each other or with stations on the wired network. Although hackers may get on your network, they will use your internet bandwidth but cannot touch your computers.
I don't see anything by that name in the router settings page.

Let me clarify the setup to see if Wireless Isolation is actually needed...

On this network, there is only 1 radio emitter and 2 Wi-fi clients, but Wi-fi is disabled on one of these clients.

More specifically, the only radio emitter is the router/AP. The only wireless client is Laptop #2, which is across the room from the router/AP.

Laptop #1 is wireless-capable, but Wi-fi is turned off since it is right next to the router and connected to it by Ethernet.

azurekep
Posts: 1179
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2015 7:16 pm

Re: Long ethernet cable or wireless?

Post by azurekep » Wed Nov 30, 2016 12:41 pm

stlutz wrote:
Does powerline adapter software work with Linux?
Works just fine with Linux (my machines are all running it). There is no software. You plug each of the two pieces into the outlets, connect ethernet cables, and click on buttons on both of them to "pair" them up and you're set.
Thanks for the confirm.

Now I just need to see if the house wiring is in good enough shape to support it.

azurekep
Posts: 1179
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2015 7:16 pm

Re: Long ethernet cable or wireless?

Post by azurekep » Wed Nov 30, 2016 12:43 pm

telemark wrote:
You will have to experiment to find the lowest power level that works, but this is a sensible idea. I run mine at half power as a courtesy to my neighbors. In a small apartment it's more than enough.
Thanks. I'll start with half-power.

User avatar
wander
Posts: 2481
Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2008 9:10 am

Re: Long ethernet cable or wireless?

Post by wander » Wed Nov 30, 2016 7:13 pm

azurekep wrote: I don't see anything by that name in the router settings page.

Let me clarify the setup to see if Wireless Isolation is actually needed...

On this network, there is only 1 radio emitter and 2 Wi-fi clients, but Wi-fi is disabled on one of these clients.

More specifically, the only radio emitter is the router/AP. The only wireless client is Laptop #2, which is across the room from the router/AP.

Laptop #1 is wireless-capable, but Wi-fi is turned off since it is right next to the router and connected to it by Ethernet.
Some wireless routers do have this feature, some don't. If you are using Linksys wireless router, it is likely under >wireless>advanced wireless settings. Click the radio button to enable the AP isolation, save and you are done.

Dyloot
Posts: 120
Joined: Mon Oct 14, 2013 8:04 am

Re: Long ethernet cable or wireless?

Post by Dyloot » Thu Dec 01, 2016 12:04 am

May have been suggested earlier, but you may be able to turn off wireless broadcasting and set up your wireless connection manually on the one laptop.

azurekep
Posts: 1179
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2015 7:16 pm

Re: Long ethernet cable or wireless?

Post by azurekep » Thu Dec 01, 2016 12:24 pm

Dyloot wrote:May have been suggested earlier, but you may be able to turn off wireless broadcasting and set up your wireless connection manually on the one laptop.
I'm going to need some help understanding this. If I disable "Wireless Radio" on my router, which would be turning off wireless broadcasting, no laptop can receive a wireless signal even though both are equipped with wireless adapters.

Are you talking about setting up a wireless transmitter (WAP) on the laptop itself? Like getting a special adapter, dongle, etc.?

DSInvestor
Posts: 10846
Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2008 11:42 am

Re: Long ethernet cable or wireless?

Post by DSInvestor » Thu Dec 01, 2016 12:52 pm

azurekep wrote:
Dyloot wrote:May have been suggested earlier, but you may be able to turn off wireless broadcasting and set up your wireless connection manually on the one laptop.
I'm going to need some help understanding this. If I disable "Wireless Radio" on my router, which would be turning off wireless broadcasting, no laptop can receive a wireless signal even though both are equipped with wireless adapters.

Are you talking about setting up a wireless transmitter (WAP) on the laptop itself? Like getting a special adapter, dongle, etc.?
I think Dyloot was suggesting to disable SSID broadcast which would still allow wireless devices to connect but you'd have to establish the connection manually because you now have to type in the SSID rather than select it from a list of available SSIDs.
Wiki

azurekep
Posts: 1179
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2015 7:16 pm

Re: Long ethernet cable or wireless?

Post by azurekep » Thu Dec 01, 2016 10:23 pm

DSInvestor wrote:

I think Dyloot was suggesting to disable SSID broadcast which would still allow wireless devices to connect but you'd have to establish the connection manually because you now have to type in the SSID rather than select it from a list of available SSIDs.
Yep, that's probably it.

On another note, I ran across an article saying that even when WPS is disabled in a router, it sometimes is not disabled. This apparently was an issue in 2012 and a lot of router manufacturers had to make fixes. Since I had just read how hackers can crack Wi-fi passwords using WPS in a matter of minutes, it wasn't exactly good news. I'll add "Disabled WPS That Really Isn't Disabled" to my list of "Scary Things About Wi-fi." ;)

I imagine the WPS bug is fixed on all newer routers. But it would be nice if there was a diagnostic tool to confirm whether or not WPS is disabled. Does anyone know of such a tool in the Linux realm?

User avatar
Doom&Gloom
Posts: 2083
Joined: Thu May 08, 2014 3:36 pm

Re: Long ethernet cable or wireless?

Post by Doom&Gloom » Thu Dec 01, 2016 10:28 pm

azurekep wrote:
DSInvestor wrote:

I think Dyloot was suggesting to disable SSID broadcast which would still allow wireless devices to connect but you'd have to establish the connection manually because you now have to type in the SSID rather than select it from a list of available SSIDs.
Yep, that's probably it.

On another note, I ran across an article saying that even when WPS is disabled in a router, it sometimes is not disabled. This apparently was an issue in 2012 and a lot of router manufacturers had to make fixes. Since I had just read how hackers can crack Wi-fi passwords using WPS in a matter of minutes, it wasn't exactly good news. I'll add "Disabled WPS That Really Isn't Disabled" to my list of "Scary Things About Wi-fi." ;)

I imagine the WPS bug is fixed on all newer routers. But it would be nice if there was a diagnostic tool to confirm whether or not WPS is disabled. Does anyone know of such a tool in the Linux realm?
A very good example of why a router's firmware needs to be updated--and why users need to check for updates periodically.

User avatar
rob
Posts: 2956
Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2007 6:49 pm
Location: Here

Re: Long ethernet cable or wireless?

Post by rob » Thu Dec 01, 2016 10:33 pm

DSInvestor wrote:
azurekep wrote:
Dyloot wrote:May have been suggested earlier, but you may be able to turn off wireless broadcasting and set up your wireless connection manually on the one laptop.
I'm going to need some help understanding this. If I disable "Wireless Radio" on my router, which would be turning off wireless broadcasting, no laptop can receive a wireless signal even though both are equipped with wireless adapters.

Are you talking about setting up a wireless transmitter (WAP) on the laptop itself? Like getting a special adapter, dongle, etc.?
I think Dyloot was suggesting to disable SSID broadcast which would still allow wireless devices to connect but you'd have to establish the connection manually because you now have to type in the SSID rather than select it from a list of available SSIDs.
Before you do that... read up on the downsides; it's basically one of those myths that sounds logical but isn't. It might cause more security issues because your device might start asking for the hidden ssid when it's not in range. Also, real tools - certainly any used by malicious users - will see the "hidden" network anyway.
| Rob | Its a dangerous business going out your front door. - J.R.R.Tolkien

sksbog
Posts: 188
Joined: Wed Jun 20, 2012 9:14 pm

Re: Long ethernet cable or wireless?

Post by sksbog » Thu Dec 01, 2016 10:39 pm

Let me cover the two concerns one at a time.

1. security.
i agree wired connection is the secure way, if you turn off wireless. period.
however, you can expect reasonable security with wireless if you follow standard recommendations like mentioned below. please not that these are just examples not a complete list. (unless you see a construction van is outside your home for a few days :))
1. change the default passwords of router and modems . can't stress enough. more than 95% of hacking can be stopped by this.
2. for extra security, only allow known devices by mac address. you can do this by visiting routers admin console.
3. do not open ports on router, keep it as factory default.
4. always keep firmware updated.
5. following email attachment opening & phishing guidelines.
6. use any reputed firewall and antivirus software. free ones from microsoft are equally good.
7. don't open up file and printer sharing at home pcs. keep it simple.


2. performance

the cable company usually sends lower grade ethernet cable in package. buy cat 6 cable, pretty cheap in amazon, use that to connect modem to router and any of the pcs at home. you will see noticeably difference. i even noticed my wireless streaming got faster.

azurekep
Posts: 1179
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2015 7:16 pm

Re: Long ethernet cable or wireless?

Post by azurekep » Fri Dec 02, 2016 11:45 am

One of the things brought up repeatedly in this thread is to get the firmware updated. Since my router is from the ISP, I assumed they'd be pushing any new updates but wasn't sure. I went to the manufacturer and it said no updates were available. That's one reason I'm looking for a diagnostic tool to ensure that WPS is off. I believe my router is a couple of years newer than 2012 routers with the WPS issues but don't know for sure.

DSInvestor
Posts: 10846
Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2008 11:42 am

Re: Long ethernet cable or wireless?

Post by DSInvestor » Fri Dec 02, 2016 11:52 am

azurekep wrote:One of the things brought up repeatedly in this thread is to get the firmware updated. Since my router is from the ISP, I assumed they'd be pushing any new updates but wasn't sure. I went to the manufacturer and it said no updates were available. That's one reason I'm looking for a diagnostic tool to ensure that WPS is off. I believe my router is a couple of years newer than 2012 routers with the WPS issues but don't know for sure.
Are you renting your cable modem/router? If renting, check to see if your provider allows you to buy one. You may save some money and have the flexibility to buy much better devices. Check for compatible cable modem devices for your ISP and you should be able to buy one from any vendor. Once you have selected your modem, you should be able to use any wireless router.
Wiki

inbox788
Posts: 5264
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:24 pm

Re: Long ethernet cable or wireless?

Post by inbox788 » Fri Dec 02, 2016 3:59 pm

azurekep wrote:
KlangFool wrote: The hacker / attacker prefer not to be physically close or present to your location. That increases their costs and risks. Then, you have to be a valuable target for them to do that to you.
What I learned from my friends with the misconfigured routers is that people these days are bold enough to sit in front of your house. Legally, they have a right to do so as long as they remain on the street. One would be hard-pressed to prove that they're sitting there hacking your network. They can claim they parked there to have lunch and make calls on their cell phone.

It's that type of people I'm concerned about. People who boldly take advantage of holes in an average person's security simply because they can. The same thing can happen on a wired network with the hackers being as remote as Russia, but those hackers don't have the advantage of just scanning the airwaves. So I think of wired and wireless security as two different things, with wireless a bit more vulnerable,

That said, computer #2 will not be used for anything sensitive. The concern is if hacking the one (wireless) computer will allow a path to the other (wired) one.
Don't misconfigure your router. :D

I simply use WPA2 and don't worry about it. I'd be more concerned about an evil neighbor (unlikely) than total strangers. There are far easier (and more lucrative) targets for those malicious predators and less risk methods (i.e. foreign attacks).

I use public wifi, so that to me is a far greater risk. I try to avoid sensitive transactions when on public wifi, but fear doesn't stop me from doing what's necessary and convenient. I've started to use a few banking sites for checking balances and depositing checks by taking picture, and I've done this outside the home as well. So far so good, but for some accounts I'm still avoiding any risk.

Friends and kids friends come over and I hand out the wifi password like candy. I did add a second wifi router for private use and limiting the "public" wifi to internet only access (that's on the router and I don't know how secure that feature is), but that was just a recent change, and mainly done because of a performance upgrade from the new router. I don't have a server on my network yet, but been looking into that and raising the protection level as part of the upgrade.

azurekep
Posts: 1179
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2015 7:16 pm

Re: Long ethernet cable or wireless?

Post by azurekep » Fri Dec 02, 2016 10:04 pm

DSInvestor wrote:

Are you renting your cable modem/router? If renting, check to see if your provider allows you to buy one. You may save some money and have the flexibility to buy much better devices. Check for compatible cable modem devices for your ISP and you should be able to buy one from any vendor. Once you have selected your modem, you should be able to use any wireless router.
I have DSL and the ISP provides the modem/router. I'm also grandfathered into a very inexpensive replacement contract. Since I've had connectivity issues in the past, I've stayed with the plan and have received replacement modem/routers within a couple of days. It's a good deal as long as the equipment is secure and of high quality. But comparing my settings to those of others it's clear I don't have all the security bells and whistles like Wireless Isolation. It may not matter in the end since I will be using the new laptop for innocuous stuff, unless I allow mission creep. If mission creep occurs and I start using the computer for other things, then I can purchase my own equipment.

KlangFool
Posts: 9446
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 12:35 pm

Re: Long ethernet cable or wireless?

Post by KlangFool » Fri Dec 02, 2016 10:21 pm

azurekep wrote:
DSInvestor wrote:

Are you renting your cable modem/router? If renting, check to see if your provider allows you to buy one. You may save some money and have the flexibility to buy much better devices. Check for compatible cable modem devices for your ISP and you should be able to buy one from any vendor. Once you have selected your modem, you should be able to use any wireless router.
I have DSL and the ISP provides the modem/router. I'm also grandfathered into a very inexpensive replacement contract. Since I've had connectivity issues in the past, I've stayed with the plan and have received replacement modem/routers within a couple of days. It's a good deal as long as the equipment is secure and of high quality. But comparing my settings to those of others it's clear I don't have all the security bells and whistles like Wireless Isolation. It may not matter in the end since I will be using the new laptop for innocuous stuff, unless I allow mission creep. If mission creep occurs and I start using the computer for other things, then I can purchase my own equipment.
azurekep,

Before you make all those assumptions, why don't you tell us what is the model of your router? In my case, all those advanced configurations are available but it is hidden away from casual users.

KlangFool

azurekep
Posts: 1179
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2015 7:16 pm

Re: Long ethernet cable or wireless?

Post by azurekep » Fri Dec 02, 2016 10:24 pm

inbox788 wrote: Don't misconfigure your router. :D
It really pays to be alert. I never misconfigured my router in a technical sense, but I ignored the router, and that had similar consequences:

When ordering my last replacement modem/router, I told the ISP that I still didn't want a wireless router, and just to send a wired one.

When the router came, there were no visible antennas, so I assumed it was a non-wireless router just like the others. I quickly set it up and forgot about it.

The first time I opened the router interface was about a year later and I found out that this WAS a wireless router and wireless was enabled! Maybe a year after that, I learned about WPS and how it is bad. I looked in the router interface, and sure enough, WPS was enabled. :oops: I had turned wireless off so it was no big deal, but still...

I still can't figure out why my router has no visible antennas.

killjoy2012
Posts: 1019
Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2012 5:30 pm

Re: Long ethernet cable or wireless?

Post by killjoy2012 » Fri Dec 02, 2016 10:49 pm

If the modem/router is a combo unit and provided by the ISP, I wouldn't update it. The ISP is likely using modified (not publicly downloadable) firmware, and may only be pushing modem config files for their supported versions of firmware, and you will likely not be able to connect back to the ISP after the update. Ideal situation is having your own router (firewall) device behind their (or your) modem... and therefore not really care what modem firmware level is running since the modem sits on the untrusted side of your firewall/router.

If it is a combo unit and you don't want to deal with the hassle of working through the ISP to provide a new, standalone modem that you can put your personally-owned router behind, just put your router behind theirs. Not the most efficient setup, but it'll work fine. You'll need to get the network config (DHCP settings) set correctly though, which may be slightly painful.

If you want to do it right, please re-read my previous post. If your ISP provides at least 2 public IPs, and will replace your combo modem/router with a standalone modem, just go buy a $10 4 port unmanaged Gigabit switch. Plug the modem into that switch. Plug both of your wireless routers (2 isolated networks) into that switch.... and go from there. That way the 2 networks are totally isolated. You mentioned plugging one routers into/behind the other... which by definition means that one of the networks is vulnerable to an exploit on the other. e.g. Your wired LAN ports on the routers are "trusted" connections.

User avatar
Epsilon Delta
Posts: 7430
Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2011 7:00 pm

Re: Long ethernet cable or wireless?

Post by Epsilon Delta » Fri Dec 02, 2016 11:14 pm

azurekep wrote:
When ordering my last replacement modem/router, I told the ISP that I still didn't want a wireless router, and just to send a wired one.

When the router came, there were no visible antennas, so I assumed it was a non-wireless router just like the others. I quickly set it up and forgot about it.

The first time I opened the router interface was about a year later and I found out that this WAS a wireless router and wireless was enabled! Maybe a year after that, I learned about WPS and how it is bad. I looked in the router interface, and sure enough, WPS was enabled. :oops: I had turned wireless off so it was no big deal, but still...

I still can't figure out why my router has no visible antennas.
Most laptops include wireless and have no visible antennae.* 5MHz has a wavelength of 6 cm (2 inches), the antennae can be quite small and it's easy to put them internally, even as traces on the circuit boards. Visible antennae may help the signal, but they definitely advertises the wifi capability. Marketing has as much say in designing the case as engineering.

* In this case the needs for laptop and a router antennae are more or less the same.

It's also possible that the software has options the hardware does not support, this could happen during production or if the ISP upgraded the software. The easiest way to tell for sure is to turn the settings on and off and use a laptop to monitor available wifi networks.

ddd
Posts: 28
Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2016 9:27 pm

Re: Long ethernet cable or wireless?

Post by ddd » Sat Dec 03, 2016 12:34 am

The short answer is, yes, a wireless network weakens your home network security as it provides an additional access besides your WAN link.

All of your computers behind the router are equally exposed the the outside. A wireless link opens a second door to your house. Once the link encryption is cracked, every computer on the same network are at risk.

There are two simple ways to protect your computer#1 in case computer#2 is compromised.

1. lay a long cable to computer#2. like you said.

2. have two routers:
WAN
|
|
wireless router1
|
|--- wireless computer#2
|
wired router2
|
| --- wired computer#1

azurekep
Posts: 1179
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2015 7:16 pm

Re: Long ethernet cable or wireless?

Post by azurekep » Sat Dec 03, 2016 11:39 am

Epsilon Delta wrote:
Most laptops include wireless and have no visible antennae.* 5MHz has a wavelength of 6 cm (2 inches), the antennae can be quite small and it's easy to put them internally, even as traces on the circuit boards. Visible antennae may help the signal, but they definitely advertises the wifi capability. Marketing has as much say in designing the case as engineering.

* In this case the needs for laptop and a router antennae are more or less the same.
Interesting observation about the marketing. The external antennas seem to be a weak point on routers in that they look fragile and easily broken/knocked off. I guess I should be thankful.... if I ever do use the wireless consistently.

I can tell there's a lot to explore here if one really wanted to dig into this. The router interface says that changes in the selectable power level changes the shape of the wireless footprint. At full power, it's elliptical. At lower powers it becomes more circular with a shorter maximum distance. I suppose an adjustable external antenna could further modify the shape at least a little bit, but maybe not enough to be worthwhile. A radio frequency mapping tool would probably resolve the issue if there is such a thing.

For me though at this point, the question is more whether to use wireless or not, and if so, the solution seems to be relying less on the ISP and more on my own equipment purchases.

Post Reply