Digital Nomad Tips | Wireless Software

Wireless Software

Obtaining a physical wireless signal may not mean that you are able to get connected to the Internet and begin communicating and working. Make sure that you’ve exhausted all of your options before working on the wireless connections you’ve found.

Finding Hidden Wireless Networks

While there may be a wireless network signal floating in the air right past your laptop, software from the provider can make these signals go unnoticed and stay invisible to your machine. Well, software can also make these hidden signals noticeable to you if you have the right software to expose them.

  • student researching on laptopNetStumbler – Probably the easiest software to use to find hidden wireless networks, this GUI program uncovers wireless networks with hidden SSIDs. Basically, it will expose wireless networks that are coded to tell other computers not to notice it.
  • WireShark – Not quite as easy to use as NetStumbler, WireShark not only detects hidden wireless networks but can also crack WEP and WPA encryption. Hacking wireless networks takes some configuration and technical knowledge and isn’t for everyone. WireShark also lets you read packets through the air and watch what websites, emails, and instant messages are being transmitted across the network you are connected to.

Many times the owners of hidden wireless networks don’t bother to encrypt them and feel comfortable that most people won’t find them. This means you probably won’t have to worry about a password blocking you access and your connection should be fairly strong and fast.

Other Wireless Tools and Websites

There are two other tools that you can use to prepare your wireless connection at your destination before you even travel there.

  • WeFi – This light and free program lets you know where there are wireless connections available or being shared in a particular part of a city or near where you are at any given moment. The data is shared from other WeFi users and the WeFi client on your laptop will automatically alert others when you find a usable wireless connection.
  • WiFinder – This (also free) website has maps that you can use to define a radius to check for open wireless hotspots. This service is especially useful for travelers who are looking for wireless connections at airports, bus stations, and cafes.

There are a number of websites and a few more software tools that can help you find the not-so-easy wireless networks that may be around. As a traveler and digital nomad you should get into the habit of preparing and scoping a solid wireless connection before you reach your destination.

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