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Wireless internet


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I quit keeping up with computers about the same time I bought my 450 Pentium II.

Recently my luck turned around and was offered and accepted a job which is a huge upgrade in anything I've ever had before :D

Right now there's just 2 of us in an empty factory building (I worked there before with another company 3 years ago before my luck turned bad) trying to dodge assorted contractors.

At any rate, I told them I needed a laptop and they buy me a Dell Latitude D505 with what I believe is a Pentium M processor. I fire the thing up at home and the next thing I know it's connected itself to some wireless network and I have internet access before I've even plugged in the phone line. Hmmmmm......getting something for nothing.....could be witchcraft. Says it's a very low signal and I'm generally getting a 5.5 Mbps - 11 Mbps connection, but it's good enough for me while sitting in my lazi-boy. Had a 55 Mbps connection while visiting in Charleston this weekend though (different, yet still mysterious and perhaps evil network).

This appears to be some kind of radio connection. Could someone please clue me in to the basics of what's going on here and how I'm getting a connection without paying for it?

My wireless experience so far is I have a laptop that connects itself to some unknown network, and I have a wireless mouse. Now the mouse I had to pay for, and since I had to plug in a receiver and install batteries, I can grasp how that works. BTW: the mouse is major cool.

I rented a new Toshiba laptop to tide me over til the Dell arrived. Can't believe how the Dell blows the Toshiba away in performance. I guess for $2500 it should be good.

One more thing. What's the difference with XP Home Edition and XP Professional? I've had the Home Edition at home (how appropriate) for a few weeks now and the Toshiba had it, but the Dell has the Professional Edition. So far I can't really see a difference. Of course for that matter the only difference I can see between Office 2000 Pro and the new Office 2003 Pro is the new version is more irritating.

Thanks for the help.

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probably have a neighbor with wireless network in their home that is unsecured..

your laptop most likely has a wireless card in it and it is connecting itself to the network..

do you have coverage throughout your whole house??

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Yep. You've got a neighbor who set up a wireless network with no security and the default channel and SSID. Enjoy it until he notices and locks you out, then buy a wireless access point and set up your own. :D

XP Home cannot do domain networking - workgroups only. Fine if you're only setting up little home networks, but in an office environment, no good.

- Chris

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Agree with eerw. You are connecting to unsecured wireless routers or access points in your neighborhood. Your notebook has a internal wireless card in the MiniPCI slot. Be careful of what you do on those connections. It could be considered stealing.

XP home and Pro are basically the same, they are based on the same core code, except for Pro allows you to turn off "Simple File Sharing" and set user permissions and Pro can connect to a domain network along with allowing easier workgroup LAN connections. Home cannot be connected to a domain controller and any access from another computer on a LAN is done through the guest account. Home is fine for a stand alone computer, whether at home or in a office, but if you are going to network 2-3-4+ PCs then Pro is what you want. I've used both on my home LAN and now have ALL XP Pro PCs.

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If you get a copy of Network Stumbler you'll get a nice report of all wireless access points your system can see (as long as broadcast SSID is turned on), as well as list of channel, speed, and subnet if DHCP is being served. My nightly dog walk is about a half mile, and I picked up 14 access points 12 of which were unsecured. In addition to leaving wireless encryption turned off, most people leave the default router password unchanged.

If you bring the laptop to Area 7 / 2005, you should be able to pick up results from the clubhouse within 5 minutes of the last shot.

ps: The standard encrption protocols are "WEP" and "WPA". "WTF" is not one of them :).

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Thanks guys. After some checking around I sort of guessed I might be connecting to a neighbor's signal. The signal does change as I move around the house.

So, would my neighbor have cable or DSL conection, and then have a wireless network connecting a couple of PCs in his house?

Things have really changed since I last kept up with computers :unsure:

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So, would my neighbor have cable or DSL conection, and then have a wireless network connecting a couple of PCs in his house?

Yup, that's most likely it. Unless the people with the black helicopters have installed something funky to make it easier to keep tabs on ya.... :lol::lol:

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