Hidden Dorm Network

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by jobrien, Aug 17, 2009.

  1. jobrien macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2007
    #1
    Well, im off to college in 2 weeks and would like to set up a wireless network in my residence room with my airport express. Its a small room, but i would still like to be able to move from my desk to bed or whatever without wires, and also i would like to be able to hide my printer somewhere. Heres the catch. My residence doesn't allow wireless networks for some reason. I know i can make my network hidden. But will that be enough to keep them from finding out? I imagine every now and then they might just scan for networks to see whats out there. But if mines hidden, i shouldnt have a problem, correct?
    Just want to make sure. Not sure what the consequences are, but im sure they would just ask to shut it down.

    what do you guys think
     
  2. TEG macrumors 604

    TEG

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2002
    Location:
    Langley, Washington
    #2
    I was in a similar situation. The reason behind it is all the people who don't know what they are doing, and end up overwriting the IP addresses of people because they plug in their ethernet cables backwards and allowing unauthorized people onto the network. I would expect it to not be a problem, just make sure it is a closed network, and put a WPA key on it.

    TEG
     
  3. yippy macrumors 68020

    yippy

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #3
    And make sure you connect the cables correctly. It pissed me off to no end when I would lose internet because I got an invalid IP address "assigned" to me from some idiot whose router was trying to assign IP addresses to the whole network.

    I had the same thing when I was in collage. As long as you turn off SSID broadcasting, enable WPA security and don't break other rules (like spoofing tones of MAC addresses to increase your allotted bandwidth) they won't care. Most dorms do not actively hunt for wireless networks, they only shut them down if they start causing a problem.
     
  4. Darth.Titan macrumors 68030

    Darth.Titan

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #4
    If they have an IT department worth more than 50 cents, having a "hidden" wireless network will not keep them from finding it. Not broadcasting your SSID doesn't really make it invisible in any case.

    You will get caught, so find out what the consequences are of breaking this particular rule before you go ahead.
     
  5. bigdaddyp macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    #5
    I have a brilliant idea...

    I could send you my first generation 3com wireless router. I guarantee you that the signal will not make it outside your room. ;-) Ahh the pains of being an early adopter.
    Maybe an airport express would suit your needs. Unplug it and throw it in your computer bag when not needed? One thing I wonder though is that even if you don't broadcast your ssid I think technically your network could still be picked up by the right equipment.
     
  6. lixuelai macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2008
    #6
    Most admin dont care if you dont break anything. Also from just looking from a network you cannot tell whether a device is a router or not as it is just an IP. Just hide your SSD, set up a WPA2 and you should be fine.
     
  7. xxBURT0Nxx macrumors 68020

    xxBURT0Nxx

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2009
    #7
    This might not be possible to do:

    When I was in the dorms, anything you wanted to connect to the network had to have it's MAC address registered with IT. The system was also smart enough to know what you were trying to register. I tried to hook up my TiVo as a game console, and as a switch, and it knew that it wasn't a switch. I had to call them and ask them to manually register the TiVo.

    So, if you have to register MAC addresses, you likely will not be able to use your router.
     
  8. lixuelai macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2008
    #8
    Most if not all routers can spoof the MAC. You just need to take whichever computer you have registered already and spoof it onto the router. Also switch is different from a router. With a switch you will get caught by the admin just scanning the network. With a router he can't tell as it just gives 1 IP vs 1 for each of your devices (supposing you can even get the IP).
     
  9. xxBURT0Nxx macrumors 68020

    xxBURT0Nxx

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2009
    #9
    Well you can register switches and are allowed to use them if you want to hook up more than 1 device to the internet. IDK it's probably possible, but not worth it. Dorm rooms aren't that big, grab a 20ft cable and you will be able to go pretty much anywhere in the room with your laptop.
     
  10. RMo macrumors 65816

    RMo

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    Location:
    Iowa, USA
    #10
    That is what the OP has. ;)

    I don't advocate breaking the rules, but if you are going to, at least be smart about it. Properly connect and configure the router so it doesn't disrupt others on the network. Disabling SSID broadcast won't necessarily help you because your network can still be found with the right tools, although it will fool the casual observer. Another tip might be to turn down the broadcasting power of your device; since it's a dorm room and probably small, you can definitely reduce the wireless power output (watts) of your Express to something lower than 100% (50? 30?) using the AirPort Utility so that it doesn't go too far out of your room. And of course, WPA2 is a must. But also, find out what the consequences might be if you are caught (if you really aren't doing anything bad, I'm sure they're negligible, but you never know). My school technically had a prohibition on routers of any kind (wireless or not), but most dorms and nearly every academic building had wireless anyway; in the two buildings I recall that didn't, IT never seemed to have a problem with the few Wi-Fi networks I could always see (although I'm sure they shut down a few troublemakers I didn't know about).

    If your network requires registration of every MAC address that connects, you can probably figure out a way to spoof your away around this...others may have given you some tips, or you can figure it out on your own.

    Alternatively, you could just deal with an Ethernet cord, since the room probably isn't very big. :D

    In any case, good luck!
     
  11. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #11
    Best point of this entire thread.
     
  12. lixuelai macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2008
    #12
    I dont think you are getting it. The OP is trying to break the rules what you suggest is not breaking the rules lol. He has a router already and for his purposes it is MUCH better than a switch. To the school network the router will just look like any computer. You will not be able to see any device that is behind the router. Not so with a switch. So to the system admin it will just look like that the OP's computer is connected to the network when in reality it is his router which is spoofing the MAC. He can do the same by doing internet connection sharing but having a router does the job better.

    They probably give you a warning first then ban you if they catch you again or suspend for a semester. I never known anyone who ever got caught though. I use a router as well. Most admins don't care unless you starts hogging bandwidth or does something even more stupid.

    p.s. Limiting the wifi range is a good idea.
     
  13. belvdr macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2005
    #13
    Being security minded, I would care; you are putting an unauthorized radio beacon on _my_ network and making it less secure. Do that at our place of business and you can find yourself some walking papers very quickly.

    OP, find out the consequences from the school first. None of us here know the rules set forth by your school.
     
  14. lixuelai macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2008
    #14
    Lol sorry that I don't work at your business.

    Anyway the OP can make his own decision. He has all the info he needs to do what he wants already. Really all he has to do is see how many networks there are around him. I bet there will be a couple.
     
  15. jdechko macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2004
    #15
    One comment about spoofing a MAC address. If he spoofs his computer's address and then takes the computer to class and connects, the network would report 2 clients with the same MAC address. That could cause some other issues.
     
  16. RMo macrumors 65816

    RMo

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    Location:
    Iowa, USA
    #16
    But not if he changes the MAC address of the computer back. :D (Assuming the school, like most, allows you to register more the one device on the network.)
     
  17. belvdr macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2005
    #17
    But if you can register more than one device, why bother spoofing the MAC?
     
  18. lixuelai macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2008
    #18
    It is usually not that complicated. His school probably has a separate network for the dorms. In the school buildings it is usually a login system with no MAC address checking. If the dorms had a login system the network admin could have cared less about wifi as each user would have to login anyway.
     
  19. RMo macrumors 65816

    RMo

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    Location:
    Iowa, USA
    #19
    Sometimes you need to load a Web page on the device in order to register (although I suppose if all it saw was the router's MAC address and not your computer's, it wouldn't matter...).
     
  20. bigdaddyp macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    #20
    :eek: God I can be such a dumb a$$:eek:
     
  21. jobrien thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2007
    #21
    Wow! Lots of info. Thanks guys. Well, a friend of mine works in my residence building. So i'll get him to look into the consequences. Its not a big deal. I'll run a cable if need be. I just thought it would be cool to have some wireless freedom.
    But if it turns out that i can do it, i'll definitely use all the tips you guys gave me. Thanks alot!
     
  22. tman07 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2009
    #22
    jobrien,
    I did that all last year and the year before without any problems, and i didnt even hid my ssid! haha.

    As many has said, set it up right, dont cause any problems, and it will be fine. We actually used a router to spoof cisco's clean access thing that all windows computers needed in order to log on. Ipod touch+ wifi ftw :):)
     

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