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What data goes out on Wi-Fi?

By fw2004
Mar 13, 2013
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  1. Hi;
    I've got a home network with two wireless access points (routers with WiFi). One router is the main unit for Verizon FIOS. this is the DHCP server. The other router is upstairs, and performs only to allow an iPod or Kindle to be connected upstairs (have trouble getting a good signal from the main router downstairs). This router has no WAN connection, so is really just a switch with WiFi.

    So, I'm starting to get security conscious, and wondering exactly what data on the network is getting out on the WiFi.
    Does everything going through the router with the WiFi go out on the radio, or is only data being sent to/from connected WiFi devices available over the air?

    Thanks for your help

  2. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 12,485   +1,428

    Without any devices connected, the only thing "going out" is a base signal (ie the rf channel) and the SSID.

    When a connection is made, the data traversing the WiFi is dependent upon what specific services are being used by the connected device; eg for a device with a browser, that would include the HTTP request and the subsequent reply.

    For security, we activate one of the encryption protocols so that someone nearby with RF tools may see the signals but not be able to 'read' them - - just like SSL protects a browser session.
  3. fw2004

    fw2004 TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 152

    Thanks. I guess that pretty much answers my question. I use WEP 128 bit. Can't really use WPA2 because the iPods don't seem to work too well with it. In fact, I have to keep broadcast turned on because otherwise the iPod cannot connect. I would think that once a device has been set to use a specific access point, it would remember it, so you wouldn't need the SSID broadcast. But that doesn't work with the ipod.

    I'm sure that someone who is really intent on gaining access to my WiFi could hack into it and see anything on the network, including what is on the wired side. I don't really believe I have such a problem, but after reading the book "Ghost in the Wires" I started thinking of security. Stuff like credit card numbers, bank account logins, etc.
    A good reason to change passwords regularly <g>

  4. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,481   +975

    Kind of an off topic comment, but my FiOS router gets to the whole home, ask Verizon if they can upgrade it, as of a few days back, they told me I needed to upgrade my equipment since they are rolling out updates.

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