wireless-networking interview questions

Top wireless-networking frequently asked interview questions

How to find a router at an unknown location in a house?

I want to install a WLAN repeater in my father’s holiday house which he rents out to other people.

My father is a digital neanderthal and doesn’t know where his router is, therefore I cannot configure my repeater to this router.

Are there any tools that could help me find that router in the house? I know that there are tools that tell you which Ethernet cable is in use and where it points to, so I figured maybe there are tools that help me find my router?

By “tools,” I don’t necessarely mean software, I’m also thinking about a hardware tool. I tried just going around with my cellphone and searching in the area with the best connection to the network but didn’t find the router.

Edit: Due to some comments that wanted more information about the router: It's a normal ADSL/VDSL router which sends WiFi signals. Distributed by the market leader ISP in my country. It also can do WPS. Here's a link:

Update: I came to the conclusion that it's absolutely not possible to find the router, even though I didn't try the kids trick yet, as raystafarian says, you should only use previously known children and I don't know that many children ;-). The woman who cleans the house said she never saw anything like a router there and the Wifi Analyzer App told me it's most likely inside the wall. Nevertheless it's a great tool and I will accept it as an answer. We're now installing a new router and if, one day, we're able to find the mysterious router location, I'll let you guys know. Cheers!

Source: (StackOverflow)

Is there a cap on simultaneously active Wi-Fi Access points in a single area?

I'm writing an API for controlling an external device. Part of this API is having the device scan for Wi-Fi access points. The API will be implemented across many types of devices, with varying memory capacity. I want to know whether I can just allocate a buffer for found access points once and then forget about it, or whether I need to handle this via dynamic memory allocation.

To make that decision, I need to know how many different Wi-Fi networks/access points can be available in a given area.

At work, when I do a Wi-Fi scan, I pick up 16 different Wi-Fi networks. Even if most of these Wi-Fi networks are poorly reachable, I still wish to pick them up with my Wi-Fi scan.

Is there a cap on simultaneously active Wi-Fi Access points in a single area? More specifically, is there a cap on simultaneously active Wi-Fi networks in a single area? If so, what happens if you go over it?

What I tried (Research)
I tried googling, but the only thing that seems to come up is a limit on the amount of devices per access point. Various searches ("access point limit", "wifi max access point") didn't give me the result I was looking for.

I then tried with different search terms, trying to find out how Wi-Fi scans work. I found out that they work via sending a packet that basically says hello, and then listening for how many hellos they get back.
This seems to indicate to me that there is no cap; I could, in theory, buy many power strips, plug a lot of Wi-Fi access points in (perhaps all connected to one big router so they're connected to the internet, perhaps not), do a Wi-Fi scan and find many access points, provided they have different SSID's. (I don't plan on doing this; even if I did, there'd be no way to know if I'm being limited by the protocol or by the scanner.)
Is this correct? Is there no cap on Wi-Fi access points? Would said theoretical scenario even work in practice?

Source: (StackOverflow)

How do I diagnose and visualize high ping times to wifi router?

I'm seeing erratic and sometimes very long ping times to my wifi router that's just one hop away. Pinging sometimes gives stretches of 400-800ms latencies.

There are plenty of things to try (firmware, router placement, AP channel, etc.), but I would like to attack this problem a bit more methodically:

  • First, how can I visualize the performance of my network?
  • Then, how can I benchmark the performance of a given configuration, so that I can compare reliably after making adjustments?

Source: (StackOverflow)

How to launch a command on network connection/disconnection?

I have a wifi connection that requires to authenticate using a web form once the wireless link is established. I know how to automate the authentication with a script that uses curl/curlIE.

But how can I ask Windows to call my script every time I connect to a particular network connection?

I would be also interested in receiving the name of the wireless profile or the ESSID on the command-line of my script.

Source: (StackOverflow)

How do I set my wireless network to be private instead of public?

Trying to maintain good security settings on my laptop, I want my home network to be interpreted as private and the university network at school to be interpreted as public. However, my home network is currently showing as public.

Here is what my Network and Sharing Center looks like:

How do I change my home network from public to private on Windows 8 Consumer Preview?

Source: (StackOverflow)

What does the "Fi" in "Wi-Fi" mean?

I just got into a heated discussion about Wi-Fi. What does the Fi in Wi-Fi mean? I would have thought potentially "frequency interface" since all network adapters are classified as interfaces. However I'm not certain.

Source: (StackOverflow)

Display list of computers on a LAN in Linux

I'm a web dev who is trying to get a better handle on security. I'm trying to figure out a way (on Linux/Debian based distros) to list all computers on the same LAN my netbook is on. I tried "arp -n" but I don't feel it's a complete list, as my iPhone is on the same wi-fi router as my netbook, and that didn't come up. Is there some better way to get a full list of machines that are all sharing the same gateway?

Source: (StackOverflow)

How does Google Chromecast connect to secured wifi?

Google Chromecast can be set up by going to the setup page on a supported device. But in technical terms, what is actually happening on your device that configures the Chromecast dongle? For instance, if I have a WPA secured wireless AP, how does the dongle "listen" for configuration information?

afaik the only automatic way of doing this is Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS). However, that wouldn't require an additional device. So it seems like Google is doing something else.

Source: (StackOverflow)

Which routers do you prefer for DD-WRT or OpenWRT? [closed]

I'm aware of the giant Supported Devices list. I'm wondering which ones you all prefer (e.g., support for Mega install, cheap, reliable hardware, USB port, etc.)

I've used an ASUS WL-500G Premium for 1.5 years, but I've been eyeballing the WL-520gU recently.

Source: (StackOverflow)

How can I get the same SSID for multiple access points?

I need to upgrade my existing wireless infrastructure and this time I want 2 access points to cover my house, since I get blind spots no matter what with a single AP. I have physical cabling to my central network available for both access points.

I would really like these two to interoperate seamlessly as a single SSID. How do I do this? What are the features that the new access points I'm buying would need to support?

Source: (StackOverflow)

Does a wireless-N (802.11n) network have poor performance when in b/g "mixed" mode?

It seems to be an "old" wives tale that, when using a wireless-N router in "mixed mode" to support legacy 802.11b or 802.11g devices, the performance of 802.11n clients will suffer.

Some places claim that when running in mixed-mode, all (some?) N clients run at G speeds. Others make the same claim, but say it only happens when a G client is connected.

Other places say N clients run faster, but still run about 30% slower than if the router were in N-only mode, even if there are no legacy B/G clients connected.

Still others claim there is no speed drop for N clients when running on a mixed-mode network. They say the only issue is that overall network throughput will be lower, because only one client can be transmitting at any time, so some of that transmission time must be shared with the legacy B/G clients running at lower speeds, reducing the overall throughput from what it would be if there were only N clients connected.

So, which is it? Will running in mixed-mode slow down my network, even if there are no B/G clients? If I'm running N, will having another client connected at B/G slow me down substantially vs. if they were running N?

Source: (StackOverflow)

What's the maximum actual bit rate of an 802.11g connection?

Using a wired connection, I get a 38 Mbit/s download speed. When I switch to wireless one (Linksys WRT54GL router with Tomato firmware), the speed drops to 23 Mbit/s even if the distance between the router and the computer is 2 or 3 meters.

Is that a maximum effective bit rate I can expect from an 802.11g connection?
Are there any settings I can tweak to to increase the download speed?

Source: (StackOverflow)

Do two computers connected on the same Wi-Fi have the same IP address?

Do two computers connected on the same Wi-Fi have the same IP address (for example, my dad's computer and my computer, at home)?

If so, how does the outside world distinguishes one computer with the other? (for example, when a server wants to send us back some data).

Source: (StackOverflow)

RSSI value of wifi connection - how to interpret?

In Mac OS X you can obtain the RSSI value of your by wifi connection by holding Alt and clicking on the Wifi-indicator icon.

My questions are:

  • What range of values can RSSI take?
  • What RSSI ranges corresponds to "good", "normal" and "bad" connectivity?

Source: (StackOverflow)

Is looking for Wi-Fi access points purely passive?

Say I carry a Wi-Fi enabled phone or laptop through an area where there are WAPs. Assuming that I don't actively try to connect to them or otherwise interact with them, is it possible for the owner of that WAP to know that I was there?

I'm asking this in the context of my earlier question: Looking for MACs on the network

I was talking with a friend about my newfound ability to detect phones (and other devices with MAC addresses) on the network, and he pointed out that it might be useful to detect unknown phones on the network; I could use that data to track down anyone who was in my house and brought a Wi-Fi phone with them.

So, if I set up a logging fake WAP with no security or encryption, can I glean any useful information about the devices that come into the house? Assuming that the thief doesn't actively try to connect...

Source: (StackOverflow)