The Uptake of Wireless Security

We’re all set to move into the new office and home of Netlink IT this coming week (for those that have asked what the area we’re moving into looks like, there’s a photograph below of the view from the office window below) so I’m here over the weekend to set-up a few of the more important bits ahead of the moving in – stuff like making sure the Broadband works, setting up the LAN and of course, stocking up with tea and biscuits.

Whilst setting up the internal Wi-Fi network, it’s interesting to see how things have changed in this area of South-West Birmingham in regards to Wireless usage and security uptake.

Around three years ago I went war-driving in the Weoley Castle area where I live and work and found very few hot-spots at all. Unsurprising at the time as Wireless hadn’t really taken off yet. Fast forwards 18 months later and I was setting a Wi-Fi network up for a client very close to our new office and found four hotspots competing for air-time, with three of those hotspots unprotected and easily accessible. Today I’m setting up the internal Wi-Fi at our office and  can find eight hot-spots, but all protected with WPA. The majority of these protected hotspots have names such as "BT-Business-Hub-xxx" or "SKY-xxx" – which I’m guessing means the owners of these hot-spots are still using them with the standard "out of the box" settings, but thankfully they are still protected rather than setting themselves wide-open to unwanted visitors.

So it looks like the days of swiping free Wi-Fi from unwitting hosts is pretty much over, and this has to be a good thing. For me I’ve got my beloved 3 HSDPA USB dongle so I can get a ‘net connection pretty much anywhere anyway. Plus in the spirit of encouraging technology uptake, I’m just about to setup my third "free" FON Wi-Fi hotspot for all and sundry – so if you’re in the Weoley Castle area near Netlink Towers and need a ‘net hook-up, feel free to jump on!

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