Innocent Bystander

A little tech, a little current affairs, and my view on whatever has my attention at the moment...

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Monday, August 01, 2005

WiFi Distance Record

I first heard about these guys last year in Wired Magazine. A few bored teenagers took some old satellite TV dishes (the big hokin ones, not the small ones used by DishNetwork and DirecTV) and headed off to Las Vegas for the annual BlackHat Hackers Conference.

They setup the dishes outside of town and set a new world record for transmitting a WiFi signal. They actually smashed the previous record by sending the signal 55 miles, it was thought they could have gone futher, but they ran out of room. The thing is, other than the antennas, everything they used was standard off the shelf stuff. The used relatively low powered WiFi cards and no signal amplifiers.

To put this in perspecitve, the average WiFi access point is rated for a range of just 300 feet although you typically get a bit less than that. With a directional antenna you can actually get close to a 15 mile range.

This year they went back to Las Vegas and tried again, and destroyed the record they set just the year before. According to WiFi toys, this time they setup just south of Las Vegas NV and shot the signal all the way to St George UT, 125 MILES AWAY! This time they used more powerful network cards (although still pretty low power) and larger satellite dishes, but no amplifiers.

Just as amazing... This was done by a bunch of teenagers!


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