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  1. Can some neighbor with his laptop capture the wireless traffic packets which I send and receive from my router, if he is not connected to my WLAN?

  2. Can someone connected to my WLAN and without access to the router capture the wireless traffic packets I send and receive? And if so, can he read their data content?

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  1. You don't have to be connected to a certain WLAN in order to capture packets from that wireless network.
  2. You also can capture packets if you are conntected to a WLAN (I'm not quite sure about this point, but I think this should be possible if the hardware is able to do so).
  3. Unless you did not set up a security/encryption scheme for your router, those captured packets are rather useless for sniffers. Encrypted packets are only readable by the sender and the receiver (client, router). Hence it is also not possible to read packets from users on the same network.
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  • So anyone can capture local wireless traffic, but if some of the WLANs are encrypted, you need to know the same passwords you use to connect to them? If that is so, you could read the traffic in unprotected network and your own network since you have the password?
    – Netasd
    Oct 15, 2014 at 15:04
  • In the case where the network is encrypted, you cannot read other people's traffic even if you do know the password.
    – Autumnal
    Oct 15, 2014 at 15:12
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    @Netasd: "wifi" operates like "radio": the signal is broadcasted and EVERYONE with an antenna strong enough to pick up that signal is able to ... well ... pick up that signal. and store it away. you do not have to communicate back to the radio station in order to receive the signal. this is the correct answer.
    – akira
    Oct 15, 2014 at 19:06

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