Ted’s essays

wi-fi freeloaders cut off

Out in the boonies, we have only two choices for Internet access. Neither is great, but surprising me, the cell-phone provider from a tower 4.5 miles away is unreliable while the satellite 25,000 miles away is pretty good by comparison. For about the same price, both limit us to 10 gigabytes per month anytime and an additional 10 gigabytes in the middle of the night.

In my case that means I can get a couple hours of bonus bytes between 0600 and 0800 fairly often. I use that for our heavier consumption downloading video news programs like The Kaiser Report and SophieCo which take around 220 Kb for each half-hour show. Even with those shows shifted into “bonus byte” time and very frugal use of any video clips at all, we still use up most of our “anytime” just about as fast as the month goes by.

It has been getting increasingly difficult to stay within our allotment. Then there was a few days of serious consumption – which coincided with the week+ that Missy was out of town. I KNEW positively it was nothing I or my computers was doing. I blamed Hughes Net satellite for churning, retransmitting and such.

internet useThen I charted it. The pattern jumped out at me. A major plummet on a weekend … when I actually use a bit less than average. Real fishy, that.

Next I finally got around to changing our wireless router to allowing devices to log on ONLY if their device MAC Address was coded in. My attempt at password locking out was quite suspect at this time. MAC Address restriction is much more solid.


Instantly down to 1% per day

(each day being about 3% of the month).
Our prior average was about 3% per day.

It appears we have been feeding some freeloaders. More accurately, parasites were sucking our Internet access dry.

Living in the sticks, the concept just didn’t fit. It was so easy to suspect a 50,000-mile round trip for each byte of data being the problem. Not some backwoods game player.

However, in my step-by-step run through our router’s menu, I found an interactive battle game at the top of a list… something neither of us would ever even remotely find interesting… and something that is famously consumptive – far more than simple video, for that matter.

We also saw a sullen-faced teen-aged neighbor the day after I cut off public access.

The young man can carry his own weight from now on… along with whoever else in the neighborhood was taking advantage of the hole in our net, and my thinking.


By the way, The Media Access Control (MAC) address:
The MAC address is a unique value associated with a network adapter. MAC addresses are also known as hardware addresses or physical addresses. They look something like this:
Every electronic device that uses your wireless router has its own. Your router can tell you, and the devices themselves can. Either way, you can tell your router that ONLY THOSE DEVICES are allowed on.

Game Over

Insert your own dang money to play again