Use your Android as a Wi-Fi optimizer

Optimize your wireless Internet connection with the WiFi Analyzer app for Android. For those of you who may not be networking wizards, this app provides a relatively easy way to analyze the strength of different wireless channels, so you can figure out which to choose for your router.

Before using WiFi Analyzer, you must first understand what a Wi-Fi channel is. A Wi-Fi channel is a range of radio frequencies that a Wi-Fi network uses to communicate with wireless devices. There are a finite number of accessible channels, so when several Wi-Fi networks occupy a small area, channels will often … Read more

More people grabbing Wi-Fi from their neighbors

More people are trying to tap into unsecure but easily available Wi-Fi networks around them, according to the results of a poll from the Wi-Fi Alliance.

Conducted by Wakefield Research in conjunction with the Wi-Fi Alliance, the results out this week found that 32 percent of those polled admit to trying to hop onto an unsecure Wi-Fi network that wasn't theirs. Some say they've done it only once while others reveal they've done it many times. That percentage compares with the 18 percent who admitted to borrowing a Wi-Fi connection according to a December 2008 poll.

Though … Read more

How to fix exclamation marks on your AirPort menu bar icon

Some routers require passwords in a particular format. Users may find that after entering a password for a WEP Internet connection, their AirPort menu bar icon shows an exclamation mark. You may also see an alert that reads, "Alert: No Internet connection..."

These routers actually have open networks that your Mac will associate with, but they still require a correctly formatted password to connect to the Internet. If the password is not interpreted correctly, the exclamation mark will appear and you will be unable to access content online.

To remedy the situation, you need to adjust the format … Read more

MacFixIt Answers

MacFixIt Answers is a feature in which we answer questions e-mailed from our readers. This week we have questions on extending wireless networks with AirPort Express devices, new Macs not booting to a retail upgrade DVD for Snow Leopard, QuickTime not able to play some media files, and changing from the less secure WEP wireless security scheme to WPA or WPA2.

Question: Extending wireless networks with an AirPort express

MacFixIt reader "Mark" asks:

How can I get my Airport Express to act as a bridge (extend my Wi-Fi signal)? I only have a 2Wire (WEP password) router, and … Read more

Is your 802.11n Wi-Fi feeling sluggish? This simple solution could help

With many routers now transmitting Wi-Fi signals using the 802.11n standard (including all of Apple's current router offerings), some users may find that they are unable to take advantage of the increased speeds. This is most likely due to the password settings users have chosen for their network.… Read more

More Bluetooth headsets from Samsung

Along with the Modus 3500 and the HM1000, Samsung also showed us a whole slew of Bluetooth headsets that it hopes to release in the second quarter of 2010. They are the HM1600, the HM1500, the HM3200, the HM3600, and the WEP570.

The HM1600 is sort of like the bigger brother of the HM1000. It also has active pairing and multipoint technology, but it has a much sleeker styling than the HM1000. The HM1600 also has a narrower ear insert that promises better ear stability without the need for an ear hook. The HM1500, on the other hand, isn't … Read more

Featured Freeware: WirelessKeyView

This utility is absolutely utilitarian, and may strike users accustomed to a bit of visual flash and bang or superfluous features as being sparse. However, WirelessKeyView does precisely what it promises, and every additional feature builds on the central purpose.

The main feature lets you view the passwords your Wi-Fi manager has stored, useful if you've forgotten what they are. The spreadsheet-style main window shows the properties on any stored network name. Users can view not just the ASCII password, but also the Hex key, the adapter type, and the adapter GUID. If you want to copy any of … Read more

Power Downloader never forgets a Wi-Fi password

Power Downloader often uses his friends' Wi-Fi hot spots all over the world, but he doesn't visit each friend as regularly as he'd like. Months or even years go by before he sees them again. Whether they use a WEP key or a WPA, he never has to worry about keeping a password database with WirelessKeyView.

WirelessKeyView is a simple utility. The main feature lets Power D view the passwords his Wi-Fi manager has stored, but it offers more than just that. The spreadsheet-style main window shows the properties on any stored network name. Users can view not … Read more

Wireless security better than you think

I recently blogged about how the 802.11n Wi-Fi standard may make wired Ethernet ports a thing of the past in some industries. Whenever I write about wireless in this way, I always get dinged with security concerns. Do we really want our financial transactions and health care records riding over radio waves willy-nilly across the enterprise?

I certainly understand the sentiment. After all, security professionals are paid to be paranoid. My contention however is that while Wi-Fi security has greatly improved over the past few years, many security professionals still hark back to the early days of the easily … Read more

'60 Minutes' on TJX computer security

I just finished watching Leslie Stahl do a piece called "Hi-Tech Heist" on 60 Minutes in which she describes the theft of credit card and other personal information from TJX. These are a couple quick Defensive Computing thoughts on the subject.

I can't imagine using a credit card at T.J. Maxx, Marshall's, Bob's Stores or any of the other stores owned by TJX. In the 60 Minutes piece, the focus was on the poor Wi-Fi security and keeping sensitive customer information for much too long. But, after the hackers got into the Wi-Fi network, … Read more