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Hiding wireless router from the network.

Last response: in Wireless Networking
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March 9, 2010 2:47:16 AM

Hi, I just installed a wireless router for my PC and laptop in my apartment/dorm. The thing is, the university I'm going to doesn't allow me to use a router through the provided ethernet port in my room. I was wondering if there is any way for me to be able to hide my router so that they cannot detect it or find out that I'm using a router. I hid my SSID broadcasting but I'm certain that they'll be able to detect the existence of a router through the ethernet port. Any suggestions? Thanks!

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March 9, 2010 7:47:55 AM

There really isn't any way (certainly not easily) to distinguish a PC vs. router. They’d probably have to assume the latter based either on behavioral characteristics (e.g., unusually heavy traffic or sudden spikes in your usage patterns, assuming they’re even tracking that kind of information, seems unlikely) or packet inspection (which can be prevented by using a VPN). That’s because at the Ethernet level (which is all the information they have available), it all looks the same. There’s nothing in there that screams “I’m a PC” vs. “I’m a router”. In fact, it’s the use of standard interfaces and protocols that makes the network so flexible and work as well as it does. But that adds to the difficulty in attempting to distinguish the specific types of equipment actually using those standard interfaces and protocols.

Think of this way. Nothing says you couldn’t configure that very same PC as a router using ICS! In which case it’s both a PC and a router at the same time. Nothing happens at that point of transition that screams “now I’m a router” other than behavioral changes.

In short, the policy is almost impossible to enforce unless you do something obvious to make your router known. For example, use wireless; even if the SSID is disabled, it’s easily detecting w/ commonly available networking utilities. Or leave the administrative interface visible on the WAN (Internet) side. Or something far less technical; a house inspection, or someone just rats you out (the most likely reason, if it happens at all).
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March 10, 2010 2:47:48 AM

I'm hoping that is the case. There are a lot of routers running from different apartments in the complex and I keep picking up the same SSIDs since the start of this school year. It doesn't look like they'll be caught any time soon so hopefully I won't either! Thanks for the input.
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March 10, 2010 2:48:59 AM

Best answer selected by skolpo.
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