I know WIFI networks can be detected by their signal, but I was told that through some kind of network analysis on a wired network you could detect a WIFI router.

I'm on a network with around 500 computers. We have ethernet ports to connect to this networks. I was told not to connect a WIFI router because it was forbidden. I was told that a WIFI router would be detected by an automated tool that analyses the data that goes through the network. I have a friend who already has a router and has a computer without an ethernet port.

How is the traffic of a computer through the router different from the traffic of the computer plugged using the ethernet port?

  • 1
    Only difference is it is over the air rather than copper. Your question is not very clear. – Moab Oct 2 '15 at 16:50
  • I'll try to make it clearer. – Gerard Oct 2 '15 at 16:54
  • The network admins can most likely see practically any device that's plugged into their network, especially one that's actively sending/receiving traffic – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Oct 2 '15 at 17:18
  • Techie007, But can they determine if that device has wireless and if anyone is using it? – Moab Oct 2 '15 at 17:28
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    @Moab: A router will request a DHCP lease for itself the second it's connected and turned on, just like any other device. While you can typically spoof a MAC, most people don't, leaving obviously identifiable vendor IDs. – qasdfdsaq Oct 2 '15 at 17:38

Going to assume you're in a dorm of some sort?

Normally you could just connect your laptop and create a wifi network off its adapter. They wouldn't notice. Same probably goes for buying a router and connecting it. The main difference is the MAC address it would display would be Cisco/Belkin/Linksys/Zyxel or whoever, so if the admin looked really closely they could guess what was going on. They wont look that closely though.

One issue you will encounter though is double NAT, but depending on current restrictions within the network that may not matter.

  • You could assume that. Apparently there is some sort of report on suspicious IPs every month, so I guess they might look into it, although it's supposed to be an automated process, so I'm not sure how precise would it be. I could try to spoof the MAC address and I'll investigate on the double NAT, just in case, and hope for the best. Thank you! – Gerard Oct 4 '15 at 21:27

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