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If you live in Toronto, your internet connection won't be faster (unless you're shelling out big bucks) than 54Mbps. Many won't top 11Mbps, for that matter.

Most consumer cable and DSL is around the 3-5Mbps range (advertised), with the actual rates in a wider spectrum.

You would only notice a difference in LAN file transfers.
 

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Do you think people are stealing my signal?
Most probably, someone has 'stolen' your signal at some point in time. It's fairly common, and almost expected, that if a network is left unsecured, it can be used by the general public. When I'm out and about, I'll log onto unsecured networks if the place I'm at doesn't have its own - if you don't secure it, it's almost an invitation.
 

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And so it should be!

I'm pretty sickened by the egotistic and ignorant attitude of the WEP at all costs crowds :mad:

Fact no1: Encryption can be broken in less than 5 minutes by a hacker with the right software, it is pretty much useless against somebody who is committed to get in
WEP is obsolete. WPA and WPA2 are now the standards in network security, and they cannot be broken in a few minutes. With the freely available KisMac software, I can crack a busy WEP network in under 10 minutes. Big difference.

If you find out that there are dozens of people hoarding your bandwidth, then MAC filtering is a better option: if removes interlopers and doesn't add the processing burden of encryption.
MAC filtering is worthless. It will only stop the casual passer-by. To fake a MAC address is trivial on the new Intel machines, and easily done on any Windows or Linux system.

Fact no2: It takes a lot of traffic to slow your connection down; as stated above you could easily have 20 concurrent users and not notice any difference in speed. Encryption on the other hand does slow things down
False. Unless you have lots of bandwidth (and most consumer-grade DSL and cable connections aren't that great), you can almost certainly notice if someone is sapping some (especially if you or they are downloading something) let alone multiple users. Encryption only slows down LAN transfers (and even then, it's not a big difference), not WAN transfers (unless you're downloading at 6.4MB/s, the physical limit of 54Mbps networking....)

As noted above, it is extremely convivial to be able to borrow occasionally from somebody else's bandwidth. I remember once when my ISP wouldn't let me back on untill my router had a firmware ugrade and the only way to download the upgrade was through a neighbour's connection... :clap:
And yet, in the end, the owner of the network is still liable for any and all content obtained using the connection. An open access point is not an excuse. It is reckless and irresponsible to have an open WiFi network in this day and age.
 
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