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On TV a lot of the ISPs are offering wi-fi with longer and more powerful range. One company using a helicopter to emphasise the reach.

A friend of mine mentioned that longer range is less secure due to it being more accessible to more people.

Is this true, and if so, why are they selling it as a bonus?

  • This is nonsense. The security of your WiFi has nothing to do with how many people can detect its transmission. – Stephen Touset Feb 19 '17 at 20:02
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    Marketing bullshit. The range of WiFi is limited by transmit power. Transmit power is limited by law in all countries I'm aware of. Most WiFi APs work close to that limit. The only thing that ISPs could truthfully claim for themselves would be if they suddenly stopped renting out especially bad APs. – Marcus Müller Feb 19 '17 at 23:16
  • A deadbolted door in the city is probably more likely to get kicked in than one in the country... – dandavis Feb 20 '17 at 13:52
  • @MarcusMüller: antenna design is as important as transmit power, look at yagi vs omni-directional range for example. i'm not saying the ads are legit, just that there's more to DB than transmit power. – dandavis Feb 20 '17 at 13:54
  • @dandavis sorry, wrong. Law limits the power emitted in any direction, not the total power. If you use a higher-gain antenna, you must reduce power by the same number to stay legal. Also, high gain antennas are totally useless for covering a larger area. Only thing that helps and is legal is path diversity (i.e. MIMO), and that's from the category "lesser shitty AP" – Marcus Müller Feb 20 '17 at 19:40
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Technically, the WiFi network is no less secure with a stronger signal.

What your friend might be referring is that with a stronger signal, it will invariably increase the amount of people trying to hack into the WiFi network.

I haven't seen these ads but the "bonus" these ISPs might be referring to is to reduce the need for a wireless repeater to get the a stronger signal throughout a property.

Although unlikely, the ISP's might also be selling this as a method to create a wireless mesh network.

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Generally, having a Wireless Access point with great power helps in providing better coverage area but at the same time introduces a greater attack surface.

Suppose you are home user, you have a Wireless Access point that has a great range and you may have a Wifi coverage outside your home. This would be great but it attracts lots of hackers too. They can easily try to hack the Wifi as they may lie in the signal range.

In order to curb that you can reduce the transmission power so that the range lies within your home area and not beyond that.

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