Dorm Room Airport Express

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by StrangeQuark, Jun 21, 2004.

  1. StrangeQuark macrumors member

    Jan 25, 2004
    I recently emailed my college-to-be and asked about using an Airport Express in my dorm room. Was doing so to be polite, and expected a yes response (foolish). Instead, I was told that the campus was going to institute a campus-wide Wi-Fi network and that 802.11 devices were disallowed because of interference. Now, they aren't doing this until late '05 (meaning I'd have a year without coverage), and I still want to use AirTunes and a USB printer (Meaning I'd need it after '05). My question is, if I put my Airport Express on a different channel than the campus network, won't that eliminate the problem of interference? Would also use WPA to prevent some hapless student from logging into my network by mistake. I need to know so that I can cancel or retain my order. If there are no interference issues, I have no moral compunctions about asking for forgiveness in the unlikely event that I am discovered.
  2. dswoodley macrumors 6502a

    Jul 18, 2002
    If they aren't going to a 802.11 standard, what are they going to use?
  3. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

    Jan 6, 2004
    you can change the channel to elimminate any interference, also what i would recommend is to create a closed network so that no one can see your network or attempt to access it without the exact network name and password, this way the school and other students would be oblivious to the fact that you have a wireless network going
  4. StrangeQuark thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 25, 2004
    They are going to use 802.11b. They are worried that another 802.11 network will interfere.
  5. dswoodley macrumors 6502a

    Jul 18, 2002
    They may be (emphasis on "may be") smoking crack. The 2.4ghz band can get crowded awfully quick, but if you take proper security precautions as mentioned in earlier posts, then you should not have a problem. Also, I am not sure about Airport Express, but with an Aiport Extreme base station you can also adjust the power output to create your own teeny bubble hot-spot
  6. Kwyjibo macrumors 68040


    Nov 5, 2002
    I had a similar experience with my university.

    they said no devcies with wireless , or router or anything like that... well I like my wifi for in and aroudn my dorm room even. so in november I purchased a dlink router, and added it to my room connection. It worked well and the Uni just thought I had a computer at my Ip address, not a router.

    the best part was that we had a downloading limit, 750mb/day ... and they limit based on your IP address, and your IP address was based on your mac address, which on a regualr card, you cannnot change .... but on a router you can, so I had no limit at really fast Internet2 speeds.
  7. Phatpat macrumors 6502a


    Jun 15, 2003
    Cambridge, MA
    Most colleges don't permit access points in the dorm rooms. This seems reasonable to me; they are a huge security risk to the network.

    This doesn't mean you can't use it. You just have to set it up so they don't know you have one. I planning on doing the same thing. If anyone knows what setup steps need to be taken, I would find them very useful.
  8. Mitthrawnuruodo Moderator emeritus


    Mar 10, 2004
    Bergen, Norway
    Though 802.11b uses 11 channels (or 13 in some configs). Most of them are overlapping and thus interfering the two channels closest to the one you are using. The only channels you can use, that won't disturb eachother, are 1, 6 and 11. If the university are going to provide uniform cover of the campus they will need all these three channels to make sure two BaseStations on the same channel will not interfer eachother (in 2D, in 3D - like a multi store building - you actually need 4 and use channels 1, 4, 7 and 11 and tolerate some interference):
      11 - 1 - 6 - 11 ...
        \  / \ /  \ / \
    1 - 6 - 11 - 1 - 6 ...
        /  \ / \  / \  /
      11 - 1 - 6 - 11
    ... etc
    If you throw in a rouge BaseStation (i.e. your Airport Express) you can block one or even two BaseStations and create havoc for the official WiFi-network.

    I have 5 to 7 BaseStations within reach from my workspace at the University here in Bergen, many put up by people who think it is cool to be wireless at their office, not considering that their BS (pun intended) creates problems for those who were trying to setup a uniform WiFi coverage in the building, the attempt to do so are for the moment put on hold...
  9. Jo-Kun macrumors 6502a

    Dec 20, 2003
    if they use a 'b' network its no problem to get the express... you have the 'g' inside your Pb and from what I've learned you can do the setup like this its 'g' only... and a different channel + password and I don't know on airport (I use a PC router because it's even less than half the price of the express and its only for my G5 wich is in the studio so far away from the CableAccess...) but so on my PC type router I can set it that it is capable of only adressing one IP (so one Computer) and that it gives it a permanent lease so no one who is passing by when my G5 is offline can get that IP...

    <edit> and you can (on my router & my brother's) allso set it's limited to the hardware adress of you airportcard int he Pb so for instance if my brother walks in to my house he gets acces, when I did enter there with my old Ti-Book, I got access, but no one else does...

    but I might be all wrong ;-)

  10. StrangeQuark thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 25, 2004
    Is there significant leakage from a power-reduced basestation to create interference? I only need access within about a 5 meter radius of the basestation, so I will be cutting the power output as was suggested by dswoodley.
  11. jknight8907 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 14, 2004
    Hudson Valley NY
    Here's what you do:

    Download a mac-compatable sniffer (I use Netstumbler on the PC)
    Find out what channel and mode (a, b, or g) the school's network is.
    If it's a or b, set your router to G only.
    If not, tell the router not to broadcast an SSID, and make sure the SSID does not give away your identity to another person (school tecs and the like)

    They'll never be the wiser. Be sure to encrypt it tho, so your next-door script kiddie won't be tieing up your printer all night printing blank pages.
  12. saabmp3 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 22, 2002
    Tacoma, WA
    I had this problem when I lived in the dorms last year too. I eventually just put a WAP on and made it look like the official school WAP's (same SSID, same channel, etc) and they didn't care. But, if they want you to take the thing off, they'll get you to take it off. Having your port turned off blows cause you can't do a whole heck of alot.

  13. Celeron macrumors 6502a

    Mar 11, 2004
    I wouldn't really worry about it. My college, RIT (in Rochester, NY) maintains a wireless network on the academic portion of campus only. We're free to do anything in residential buildings. Heck, in my apartment alone we have 2 access points, one for myself, one for my roommate. Technically we aren't supposed to have routers but they know people do and they don't do anything about it. Also, the network isn't monitored because if it was, the school would be responsible for illegal material it didn't locate.

    Don't sweat it, set it up, they won't notice, and if they do, its hard to track down / locate.
  14. mccaffreye macrumors newbie

    Jun 15, 2004
    You won't really cause much interference, in the technical sense of disturbing their network.

    At my college there is the official school network, several student's private wireless routers, and wireless access points from the neighborhood around me. I can connect to any of them just fine; they don't interfere with each other to the point of causing a problem.

    Just disable SSID broadcasting and protect it with WPA and they won't know about it.

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