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October 30, 2015

Halloween Wi-Fi Top Trumps

Perry Correll, Chief Technologist at Xirrus, takes a light-hearted look at four of the scariest Halloween beasts and offers a little bit of Wi-Fi magic to keep them in check…

By Cbr Rolling Blog

This Halloween, a gathering of ghouls, goblins and ghosts will not only appear on your doorstep, but for many they are already lying in wait to wreak havoc on unsuspecting, unprotected Wi-Fi networks.

But just like the light of day can destroy even the most terrifying vampire, a little ‘en-lightment’ will prevent you from falling victim in these dark days; with the right designs and enchantments, (or pendants and potions), you can keep these threats at bay and your networks, clients and bosses safe until the terrifying witching hour has passed.


The Wi-Fi Vampire: Bandwidth-sucking fiends that prey on innocent Wi-Fi networks. They appear unexpectedly, draining the available bandwidth and reduce overall network performance to a crawl, typically the result of heavy video and voice streaming usage.
Wi-Fi Scare Rating: 90/100

Nefarious Power: These fiends are able to suck the life and soul out of your Wi-Fi network, reducing the capabilities of your Wi-Fi devices to empty shells. Once these vicious night-walkers get their teeth into you, you’ll be condemned to walking the earth in the eternal darkness of slow download speeds, delayed communication, and that swirling little round ball of "working" evil.

Protective Shield: Application Control – Wi-Fi vampires won’t come near your device if they get even the slightest whiff of clever network management. So, if you’re managing a Wi-Fi network, make sure you classify and prioritise the traffic that’s running on it. This will ensure Wi-Fi vampires can’t suck more of your bandwidth with their toothy apps than they are entitled to and their activity won’t slow the network down for everyone else.


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The Wi-Fi Ghost: These ghoulish apparitions have stayed hidden for years, but now as Wi-Fi performance and capacity have become more critical, these benign apparitions have begun to make their presence known and can have a horrifying impact on network performance. Hauntings start off small and seem insignificant but grow in power over time until their interference takes over your entire network.
Wi-Fi Scare Rating: 75/100

Nefarious Power: Ghosts love nothing more than to interfere with Wi-Fi signals and attack Wi-Fi performance – you see they don’t play well with others. Traditional Wi-Fi devices take turns accessing the network, however these ‘other’ wireless technologies are hidden in all kinds of devices, such as phones, tablets, watches, baby monitors, microwave ovens and even new LTE services. Oh my, they’re everywhere!

Protective Shield: Adaptive Wi-Fi – Keep Wi-Fi ghost interference to a minimum by regulating them back to a level of just acceptable annoyance. Focus your strategy around 5GHz, as many new ghosts still enjoy the 2.4GHz environment. Also, keep a tight rein on your channel usage and power settings too – it’s spooky how many don’t!


The Wi-Fi Zombies: Heards of the walking dead show up at random and love nothing more than feasting on your Wi-Fi services, slowing them down and finally bringing them to a brutal, painful end by just overwhelming their capability.
Wi-Fi Scare Rating: 60/100

Nefarious Power: Wi-Fi Zombies are deadly when they’re in a large group. They are particularly fond of gathering in large public spaces such as sports stadiums, arenas, airports, train stations and even lecture theatres, where they use their combined power to slow devices down and suck out the brains for connective capabilities. Keep your wits about you and your eyes peeled at all times.

Protective Shield: High Density Wi-Fi – Protect yourself from these threats by making sure there’s enough bandwidth available for everyone – even in the most densely packed public spaces. When someone says their AP’s radio can support hundreds of zombies (clients), put their feet to the fire and ask how many they can support ‘effectively’ – that’s when the sweating starts. Install the most current Wi-Fi access points so that you’re keeping pace with end user demands for content-rich media uploads and downloads. Don’t let your network be overtaken by the walking dead!


Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde: Your beautiful new Wi-Fi device is your best friend – until it succumbs to a deadly, addictive potion and turns into a crazy, insane monster! How can something that helps you plan your day, deal with emails, play your top tunes, stream your favourite TV shows and manage your fitness goals suddenly turn on you and leave a trail of destruction and disorder in its wake?
Wi-Fi Scare Rating: 95/100

Nefarious Power: Preys on our addiction to constantly checking emails, updating our social media and uploading photos. This seemingly irresistible craving means we often join public Wi-Fi networks with a dubious, deadly combination of lapsed management and poor security. Once connected, our loveable benign Wi-Fi enabled devices can fall prey to toxic mix of hackers and malware that transforms them into malicious, monstrous creations.

Protective Shield: Secure Personal Network – Use a secure Wi-Fi connection wherever possible. If this is unavailable, always consider which attachments you download and what personal data you access while on unsecured public Wi-Fi.


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