Neighbours Hijacking WiFi?

Will35

TS Enthusiast
Greetings everyone,
I have recently experienced unusually slow internet speeds and occasional bouts of almost zero connectivity. I was messing around in my router's settings trying to see if anything was wrong, so I downloaded a WiFi analyser app to check what networks were on each channel. Turns out my WiFi network was on the same channel as my next door neighbours. "No problem" I thought,"I'll just switch channels". So I switched WiFi channels and my neighbours WiFi channel instantly switched to the same channel. I repeated with different channels and the same thing happened. I am concerned that my notoriously difficult neighbours may have found some way of piggybacking on my WiFi.
Is there any way I can check this, and does anyone have any advice on it?
Many thanks in advance
Edit: My neighbours also have a WiFi network, but it changing channels simultaneously with mine has made me suspicious
 

jobeard

TS Ambassador
Edit: My neighbours also have a WiFi network, but it changing channels simultaneously with mine has made me suspicious
I have seen that behavior also, but only with the carrier (Spectrum) and not any private station. I am across the street from a school with at least 4-5 SSIDs, but they remain at fixed channels. I've use inSSIDer to look at channel usage and it's impossible to find 1,6,11 empty. I opted to set between channel which are the lowest RF strength and swamp them with the more local signal. As long as my RF is -10db stronger, I've not had an issue. WPA2 is just fine.
 
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Make sure you have a strong router login password (which is separate from the WiFi password) and you're not using the default ones.

If you log into your router, preferably hardwire, among the functions, possibly in the advanced section, should be a list of connected devices that includes their MAC IDs. Check your people in your house for the MAC IDs of their devices. If there are unknowns, cancel their connection with your WiFi router and see what breaks in your house. If nothing, check again to see if there are new ones. If yes, create an allowed only list on the router. I believe all the newer ones will do that. If you have frequent guests in the house this can become a problem with their phones if you allow logins to your WiFi because of poor local phone data signals inside your house. Consider creating a time based guest login account for those days with guests.
Edit:
I haven't experimented with WiFi extenders. I don't know if their default normal behavior is to latch to the local strongest signal and sync or they must be specifically locked to a router. Finding the MAC IDs of connections and blocking those not specific to your household should take care of that if an extender is involved with this behavior.
Take a look at 'other' phenomena in the house. My wife wants sliding mirrored closet doors in the bedroom and they are metal backed. Opening/closing them has large effects on a portion of the back porch in line-of-sight of the WiFi and can seem pretty random.
 
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Instead of an RF extender, I've gone to an EoP device to get ethernet to the far end when I then installed a second router with WiFi.
I wasn't asking about whether you had a WiFi extender. I should have made that clear. I was wondering if your neighbor had one and it was autosyncing to your router; and
you've added some considerable complexity to your original neighbor WiFi bandwidth syncing question.
Starting with the routers themselves, have you set a separate network address space (e.g. instead of both being 192.168.1.0, one of them is set to use 192.168.7.0) meaning the devices' assigned internal network addresses would change as you got closer or farther from one router or the other? or have you set one of the routers as a pass-through?
I noticed in the documentation for AAVB5101 there is a capability for traffic prioritization. Since you're using them as a bridge between WiFis have you introduced any traffic prioritization? For that matter, is there traffic prioritization set on the primary router and do you have the only router settings access password? Presumably each router has a settings password set. Additionally, you now have two places to check for known/unknown MAC addresses.
Since you have two WiFi sources at opposite ends of the house, you can rough test a thing or two. One test, get a metal cookie tin and place it behind/between the router closest to your neighbor and your neighbor. It should be large enough to block all the WiFi going to the neighbor. Then check your bandwidth switching time again, see if it's the same.
 

jobeard

TS Ambassador
I wasn't asking about whether you had a WiFi extender. I should have made that clear. I was wondering if your neighbor had one and it was autosyncing to your router;
when properly installed, an extender OR EoP should not sync or access (be accessed) with neighbor's devices
and
you've added some considerable complexity to your original neighbor WiFi bandwidth syncing question.
Starting with the routers themselves, have you set a separate network address space (e.g. instead of both being 192.168.1.0, one of them is set to use 192.168.7.0) meaning the devices' assigned internal network addresses would change as you got closer or farther from one router or the other? or have you set one of the routers as a pass-through?
well, RANGE between 'nodes' per say is not a connection determinant, as the user chooses the end-points at config time. Additionally while configuring multiple subsets (x.168.1.0 vs x.168.Z.0) DOES add to security (due to routing issues), it also instantly impacts the use of File/Print Sharing. Any solution for that then obviates the extra security.
I noticed in the documentation for AAVB5101 there is a capability for traffic prioritization. Since you're using them as a bridge between WiFis have you introduced any traffic prioritization? For that matter, is there traffic prioritization set on the primary router and do you have the only router settings access password?
That's basically the job of QoS and relatively few routers enable prioritization by MAC, IP or Name
Presumably each router has a settings password set. Additionally, you now have two places to check for known/unknown MAC addresses.
that's true, but if done correctly, it is effective at the connection point of any device.
Since you have two WiFi sources at opposite ends of the house, you can rough test a thing or two. One test, get a metal cookie tin and place it behind/between the router closest to your neighbor and your neighbor. It should be large enough to block all the WiFi going to the neighbor. Then check your bandwidth switching time again, see if it's the same.
 
when properly installed, an extender OR EoP should not sync or access (be accessed) with neighbor's devices
Or, to put it another way, since the complainant isn't the neighbor, when not installed properly, an extender OR EoP might sync (be accessed) with neighbor's devices, hence my comment about not knowing. Thank you for clarifying that it could be a problem.

well, RANGE between 'nodes' per say is not a connection determinant, as the user chooses the end-points at config time. Additionally while configuring multiple subsets (x.168.1.0 vs x.168.Z.0) DOES add to security (due to routing issues), it also instantly impacts the use of File/Print Sharing. Any solution for that then obviates the extra security.

There is much relevant information missing from the original question, RANGE from neighbors WiFi, being part of it. Additionally, these are questions asked and no provided information about them. I agree with security being a problem for dual addressing with dual routers but disagree that it obviates the extra security. I use a secondary gaming router in my household for my lab and personal use that uses the main router on the ISP service for internet access. I have and use separate firewall rules in 'my' router and the PCs to strongly control inbound/outbound comms. I can still print to our Epson Color Laser but also have print sharing and printer access on batch file service shutdown/starts. Thus the printer prints when I say and does not know I exist until I say. On the desktop firewalls, internal 192.nnn.nnn.nnn address spaces are blocked by default and must be individually released to find and use the printer when needed (and it is at the other end of the house). All of this is crazy paranoia unless you have a wife that clicks on the advertising she's sent.

That's basically the job of QoS and relatively few routers enable prioritization by MAC, IP or Name

Very true. Did you happen to notice the name and model number of the router the complainant had? Neither did I because it is among the information not included and the reason that I mentioned the possible availability of those functions. And, the AC extenders name and model numbers are included and, as I mentioned, their docs state that there is prioritization functionality. I didn't read enough to program one. Just noted it in passing.

that's true, but if done correctly, it is effective at the connection point of any device.

Since the actual complainant description includes the installation of the AC extenders and the documentation of those states some access to the router controls is required and the complainant states they are using reasonably strong encryption but changed the encryption standard based on advice here, it can be presumed there is some knowledge of router configuration but not jobeard level. The "...if done correctly, it is effective..." cannot be presumed and therefore the continuous list of questions with no answers except your reply.

To rephrase all this. What I ask is based on some years of tinkering and making a living providing user support from the beginning of PCs to networks to the net to the late 0's. Some things, like the signal blocking are done 'on spec' because it provides me either good info, or none, and more importantly, costs nothing for the user.

I try not to ask questions where the user has not provided info because I presume they have their reasons. My reasons are privacy. Their's may be the same. Solving by proxy, if you've done telephone support as I have, is frustrating on the really good days.

Perhaps you might take your expertise and review the full complaint and ask the relevant questions you need to solve the original question about the neighbor's router channel jumping sync,....overtired, made a snarky comment.
 
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jobeard

TS Ambassador
when not installed properly, an extender OR EoP might sync (be accessed) with neighbor's devices, hence my comment about not knowing. Thank you for clarifying that it could be a problem.
NOT SO, as access control is still under the WiFi SSID passphrase control
 
NOT SO, as access control is still under the WiFi SSID passphrase control
One of my skills was translating techies' answers into answers that the generals could understand and make decisions on. Most times that involves drilling down into responses where presumptions of a common core language and technical knowledge from the technicians in the answer does not resemble the statements. This is such an instance.

The complainant states he wonders if the neighbor is piggybacking because of the syncing phenomenon. Your answer is SSID prevents access, meaning the neighbor can't sign into the WiFi network. Good answer about access control except it doesn't address the question my lack of knowledge specified and what the complainant wondered. You stated
when properly installed, an extender OR EoP should not sync or access (be accessed) with neighbor's devices
and I replied "Or, to put it another way, since the complainant isn't the neighbor, when not installed properly, an extender OR EoP might sync (be accessed) with neighbor's devices, hence my comment about not knowing. Thank you for clarifying that it could be a problem. ?

So the question to you is not about the section of my statement about (be accessed) but the remainder "...when not installed properly, an extender OR EoP might sync ...with neighbor's devices,...". Are you stating flatly that an improperly or deliberately misconfigured extender in the neighbor's residence would not channel hop to attempt to sync with the complainant's WiFi router (thus generating the symptom the complainant states exists), whether or not it has access to Login? If so, that eliminates my suggestion of a possible extender on the neighbor and updates my knowledge of extenders a bit (from zero to +0.001). If not, then really really obscure possible activities by the 'neighbor' with an extender are not eliminated yet.

Still looking for an analysis of the stated problem, not an analysis of my suggestions.

Know Your Meme
FBI Van 0.png
 
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jobeard

TS Ambassador
My direct answer is - - anything CAN be malinstalled or configured and you will make issues with anything.

A WiFi extender needs SSID access, so all the hazards of hacking and passwords apply.

The EoP technique requires a compatible device, connected to a nearby A/C outlet.

Your Surveillance SSID is cute -- used that ruse myself :-grin-:

The Net Analyzer app is an effective means to prove what devices are attached as noted above.

Whereas you troll the site and moan on many subjects but never write any original content, I'm electing to mark your comments as Ignore for the future.
 
Of
My direct answer is - - anything CAN be malinstalled or configured and you will make issues with anything.

A WiFi extender needs SSID access, so all the hazards of hacking and passwords apply.

The EoP technique requires a compatible device, connected to a nearby A/C outlet.

Your Surveillance SSID is cute -- used that ruse myself :-grin-:

The Net Analyzer app is an effective means to prove what devices are attached as noted above.

Whereas you troll the site and moan on many subjects but never write any original content, I'm electing to mark your comments as Ignore for the future.
of course you will. Ask others to peruse what I've said. It started as methods to check the basics of what may be connected. Then were mentioned possible other subjects that were unknown to me in application but might apply. Then we get your comment on my questions stating information basics that have nothing to do with original question. When confronted with the facts of your comments and their direct application to the question, instead of their repetition of techniques, you get huffy and I'm on ignore. I'll try to survive. Maybe the original questioner can get something useful out of you. The actual point of posting here is so everyone gets something useful out of it. As I pointed out, you haven't posted anything directly useful nor any speculative analysis as I ventured. Your posts read like Microsoft explanations, and are as useful outside Microsoft.
I wish you well. I also wish you to have to make a living doing telephone support for a while.
 

Will35

TS Enthusiast
Sorry for the late reply everyone, I was abroad and see the replies have gotten quite heated in my absence. I would just like to clarify that I have found them all to be very helpful, and have found no MAC addresses connected to my router that do not appear to from my household. I have both a powerline extender and WiFi range extender. I will try the tin next to the router idea and see if it makes a difference, but beyond that I don't believe I can do much more than changing my router and WiFi passwords. It is unusual, but drawing from the very well informed replies in this thread, I think I can conclude that it is probably not malicious. Thanks so much again everyone (@jobeard and @Yynxs ) , have a great day. :p
 
And I see my error. I replied to Jobeard's original post as if it was you the original poster. In that, I read an additional router along with the AC extenders and replied to that. Jobeard's responses to me are based on a system with no problems or neighbors' syncing and that leads to his responses about correct configurations and mine about wrong answers. I did not see you had a WiFi extender in addition to the AC extenders from you, it was Jobeard.

If you're going to use the 'tinfoil hat' wifi blocking, you will need to block directionally for any device broadcasting wifi including the wifi extender you just mentioned. The sole use for this info is to see changes, if any, in your neighbors wifi channel jumping time. If the neighbor's wifi still jumps, no clue. If not, as Jobeard indicated, it may be their misconfiguration, deliberate or otherwise. (I'm also in favor of the FBI van scenario, but that is just plain crazytalk). Do let me know privately about the tinfoil hat stuff if you would. I don't use wifi but have to support it for the wife and I'm interested in the results. My 5 neighbors are within 40 yards and each has a WiFi along with 3 large area open wifi commercial ones just outside the housing project across the street in a community college and two bars. Occasionally, and it is random, the wife says no Wifi on her ipad and iphone and no phone bars on the iphone. If daughter is visiting, same thing. Can be middle of the afternoon or going to work rushhour. By the time I get up to go check, problem is gone and she's back up. I see this as a harbinger of 5G and I project interesting configuration projects when that becomes widespread, but that is speculation.
Hope you had a good trip.
Oh, and a thought, if you have a laptop, do the wifi signal strength analysis on the other side of the neighbor's home if that is available. Just another WAG idea with possible information.
 
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