Windows Software Access Points, Ubuntu 11.10 and Home Network Bottlenecks


Windows Software Access Points, Ubuntu 11.10 and Home Network Bottlenecks

Darren shows us how to relay a wireless signal with the Yagi antenna and a software based access point. Ubuntu 11.10 is out and with it a new version of Unity. Does it suck? And where's the bottleneck on your network if your cable modem is 30 Megabits and your wireless router is supposedly 54?

This time on the show, can we borrow a cup of WiFi? Darren shows us how to relay a wireless signal with the Yagi antenna and a software based access point. Ubuntu 11.10 is out and with it a new version of Unity. Does it suck? And where's the bottleneck in your network if your cable modem is 30 megabits and your wireless router is supposedly 54? All that and more, this time on Hak5.

Windows 7 SoftAP

Short story: Darren moved. Everything is in boxes. He thinks he misplaced his wireless access point. All he wanted to do was watch some netflix. Unfortunately Netflix isn't for Linux, but thankfully he had the perfect media center PC. An old laptop with a broken screen running Windows 7 -- which he turned into a software-based access point to relay the signal from the access point he found, um, down the street using a USB WiFi Adapter and a directional yagi antenna.

Long story: A new WLAN feature is supported on Windows 7 and on Windows Server 2008 R2 with the Wireless LAN Service. This service both virtualizes the physical wireless adapter so it can be used as multiple virtual adapters, and a software-based access point, or SoftAP, can be created. Only one physical wireless adapter can be used with this new feature so if multiple wireless adapters are present only one will be virtualized.

The SoftAP has limitations. It will not resume after sleep mode, hibernate or a restart. The SoftAP also does not provide DNS resolution. This can limitation can be worked around by either specifying a DNS server on the client machines, or by enabling Internet Connection Sharing on the interface.

When connecting to a wireless hosted network from another Windows 7 machine FQDN resolution back to the host is capable only if Private is selected from the network category pop-up. The SoftAP or HostedNetwork is obviously very different from an ad-hoc wireless network. The SoftAP runs in infrastructure mode providing network services like DHCP. If ad-hoc wireless services are started, the SoftAP will be destroyed.

Unlike an ad-hoc network, this SoftAP must enable WPA2-PSK/AES encryption.

To setup Internet Connection Sharing with this feature you must set the public interface as the Ethernet or wireless adapter connected to the Internet, then set the private interface as the virtual adapter hosting the SoftAP. There is no GUI interface for setting up the hostednetwork or SoftAP in Windows 7. To see all available settings open an administrative command prompt and issue netsh wlan /?

The configuration we're interested in is he set property. Issuing netsh wlan set /? shows available options, and issuing netsh wlan set hostednetwork /? provides examples.

We're going to start a hosted network with the SSID of noobcake and the key of 12345678. So issue netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=noobcake key=12345678. Once set the SoftAP can be started with netsh wlan start hostednetwork.

Then if you're feeling up to it you can lower the firewall with netsh wirewall set opmode disable. This part is especially useful if you're delivering this as an attack, say with the hidden-access-point payload for the USB Rubber Ducky.

Ubuntu 11.10 Review

The new version of Ubuntu released a couple of weeks ago, so I downloaded the iso to check it out. First thoughts: unity has been improved and the dash is cleaner, but could still use a few upgrades. They did a few things that I do like and a few things I don't. So Unity- the left side app launcher is still there, and they cleaned up the buttons a bit. It's a lot easier for new or light users of Ubuntu, as well as more stable, so I agree with the changes that they made to that. The Ubuntu icon button has been moved into the dock, too, which cleaned up the top menu a bit. The top menu has been reorganized, which advanced user might not be too happy about. I don't mind as much because it made everything really easy to find. The desktop menu at the top can now be hidden, and when hovered over it gives you all the obvious- file, edit, etc.

Now for this thing called the Dash. The home screen is still covered with gigantic icons, with firefox and thunderbird being the internet and email browsers of choice, instead of the older Evolution. The Dash is cleaner and nicely consolidated and now you can minimize and maximize the window where the Dash is found. There is a bottom switcher with a new music collection menu that works with Banshee. The advanced filtering features have been improved as well. Once you start using it alot, the apps menu on the Dash will include a 'most frequently used' option. You might see multiple entries for the same app between the three options though.

Now, the Ubuntu software center has also been updated with a new interface.

The GNOME login has been replaced with a LighDM interface, and the GNOME desktop environment that I totally love, is no longer a default choice. It's still available in the repositories, though.

So overall, I like the upgrades that the team has made to the Unity interface, but why take away GNOME? I like having my options because I don't always want to use the same thing.

What do you think of the new Ubuntu? Have you upgraded yet? Email me at and let me know what you think!


Oliver wrote in:

You need a quick scan for your local network to see which devices are online? Simply do this:
for i in {1..254}; do ping 192.168.0.$i -c1 -w1 |grep "icmp_req=1" ;done

I love to do this for DNS, too:

for i in {1..254}; do nslookup 192.168.0.$i |grep name ;done