Recipe for fun:

79 Ford Escort - 802.11 Wireless
(net stumble and war driving in the "The Wireless Esky")



For best effect use a dark colour car with dark tinted windows, it also helps if the wireless equipment that you sit in the car is worth 4-5 times more than the car.  Using two cable-ties attach the antenna to the passenger-side window and connect the coax cable to the 802.11 wireless card.  For this installation we used a "Lucent Wavelan IEEE 802.11 Turbo Bronze" but a silver or gold card would work ok too.  Install Netstumbler and the latest Orinoco drivers / firmware.  Start the software and go for a drive.

If you thought that using a mobile phone in a car was dangerous, just try this!  Each time the software goes "ding" you get a great urge to look sideways (or slam your foot on the brake) to see what you have found.  Note the real sheep-skin seat cover for both driver and notebook comfort.

A 15-20 degree angle seemed to work a treat for picking-up signal on poles, second stories and up hills.  If you were driving along the top of a hill the angle would have to be changed to suit.  This version (attached with cable ties) does not lend itself to a quick angle change.  Version 2 might?  Version 3 will probably be an omni-directional antenna just to find an access point signal then switch to a directional to locate the real whereabouts. (does anyone have a N-type switch for me?)

After driving around Geelong (Australia) for half an hour I had a list of nearly a dozen access points (mostly Cisco Aironet , Apple Airport and a couple of D-Link access points) and NONE OF THEM HAD ENCRYPTION TURNED ON.

You would think that after buying a AU$3000 wireless solution that you would at least turn on the included WEP encryption?  Forget about the possibility of someone "hacking WEP" the real risk out there is lazy (or dumb) network administrators installing products without "doing a little homework first".  At least two of the access points also assigned me a DHCP address so that I could browse their internal network and one even configured my proxy settings too.  How thoughtful.

If you live in Geelong or Melbourne and would like to join a community wireless network or just find out more about 802.11b wireless issues so that you don't leave your network venerable to a "drive by hacker" then you should join a listserv mailing list or visit one of the following web pages.

Mailing List signups:

                Geelong Wireless Geelong, Victoria, Australia.

                Melbourne Wireless Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Web pages:

                Geelong Wireless

                Melbourne Wireless



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Created: January 2002
Edited: "since then"
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