08 Jan 2017 @ 12:10 PM 

When I wrote BCNetMenu, it was primarily for replacing Windows 10’s built in network foldout for VPN connections. However since that Network foldout also managed Wireless connections, I decided to add that in as well.

When you have a need that would be filled by a library, it’s always a good idea to look through results on NuGet and see what there is. As with most requirements there are many options when it comes to reading Access Point information. In my case, I settled on SimpleWifi

The Consumer code for SimpleWifi is, well, Simple, which is one of the reasons I opted for it. It provides the information needed and was quite easy to use. Here is an example static that provides an enumerator method that retrieves Access Points:

I found there was an odd issue with this approach. it seemed as if AP info would “trickle” in over time; the second time I opened the menu there would be more access points. I don’t know why that was, but I added a bit of extra code with the intent of providing a larger set of “seed” networks when the menu is opened for the first time. It seems like the act of inspecting Access Points causes more to be actually added. At any rate this is the logic I added to the start of the GetWirelessConnections() logic:

This appeared to rectify my problems, and the Menu that used this method was properly showing available wireless networks appropriately.

Posted By: BC_Programming
Last Edit: 08 Jan 2017 @ 12:10 PM

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Categories: .NET, C#, Networking
 08 May 2015 @ 2:33 AM 

One of the things that I often see stated is that wireless internet connection will always be inferior to a wired connection. It seems rather intuitive. For the longest time I insisted on connecting my computer via a Cat6 cable to my router for this very reason.

At one point, logistics betrayed me, and connecting my computer via a wired connection wasn’t feasible unless the router hung in a precarious position. So I decided to try the wireless. I did a few quick tests and couldn’t see any perceptible difference so I switched to a wireless adapter and have been pretty much using wireless on all my PCs ever since.

This leads me to the common question, whereby for example people are having network troubles- their games have a high ping or they have high latency or slow downloads. While wired connections can diagnose wireless issues, I don’t think there is anything inherent in wireless technologies that actually leads it to always be slower. Since I had no data, I decided to gather some. Still less than scientific, I decided to use speedtest.net and test with my wireless and my wired connections on my laptop (which, since I can move it easily is the best option for testing wired)

Tests were done using my Toshiba Satellite L300 Laptop. This has a 10/100 Ethernet adapter and a Wireless N wireless adapter. My internet speed is advertised as 80mbps or so, which should be well within the abilities of 10/100. The only other option would be to relocate one of my desktop PCs with gigabit, which was more effort than I wanted to put in for this sort of one-off experiment.

Wired Tests
Ping(ms) Download (mbps> Upload(mbps)
10 62.86 3.06
13 64.25 3.03
20 44.01 2.65
13 63.61 3.16
15 43.07 2.60

The wired results were pretty good. I am unsure what causes it to be 44mbps in one test and 60+ in another, though.

Wireless Tests
Ping(ms) Download (mbps> Upload(mbps)
14 63.89 3.11
11 43.32 3.06
10 42.50 3.09
10 57.67 3.13
11 58.97 3.15

Interestingly, the wireless results prove faster. It is also notable that using speedtest.net I chose a single server for all the tests, rather than using the “Select best server based on ping” as I found that using that option the results varied rather wildly. I’m not entirely sure what conclusion to draw from this, but it certainly appears that a wireless connection is not inherently slower in terms of speed or worse in terms of latency. Chances are that observations to the contrary may be due to mitigating factors such as a noisy environment.

Posted By: BC_Programming
Last Edit: 08 May 2015 @ 02:33 AM

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Categories: Networking
 31 Aug 2013 @ 5:18 AM 

Having recently started a new Job, my responsibilities entail the necessity of using a Workplace VPN connection on occasion. My current connection setup is rather simple: My Laptop has a Wireless-N Adapter built-in, and I use that to connect to the Router/Modem provided by the ISP. The laptop is running Windows 8.1. Initially, connecting to the VPN with that system proved troublesome. My first snag was trying to figure out what the heck a “provider” was. I tried a few of the options, and because I was unable to get them to work, I gave up, chalking it up to some change to VPN connectivity made by Windows 8 or 8.1.

So I turned to my Desktop machine, with Familiar ‘old’ Windows 7. The connection I use for the desktop is more interesting. Having recently moved the machine to a location outside of “Ethernet cable” Range of the router, I have had to find other solutions. Naturally the first issue is that my desktop has no Wireless adapter, and perhaps more importantly the one PCI Wireless Adapter I do have has failed or for some reason just doesn’t want to work. Maybe it saw the VMA awards and doesn’t want to admit it’s existence in the same reality as ‘twerking’ or whatever happened. I don’t know, I’m not actually a Hipster I just sorta pretend I am by repeating oft-used phrases from Reddit. Instead, I’ve used two solutions. The first is that I will simply bridge the connection from my Laptop’s wireless card and it’s Ethernet adapter, and then connect my laptop’s ethernet port to my desktop computer’s on-board gigabit NIC. This is usually my go-to approach for these situations, And it worked admirably in the past for my purposes. It worked well here, as well. I was able to use the internet, connect to IRC, and whatever.

Until, it came to connecting to my VPN, in which case this failed as well. I tried messing around with it for a few minutes then gave up and simply plugged in an old Wireless-G USB Adapter. (A DWL-G132). In order to get more than one-bar signal strength I had to use the front-USB ports, which has the side-effect of being close to my headphone jack. I primarily use headphones which presented a problem because the USB adapter caused quite loud interference with the headphone audio, enough to bug the heck out of me, anyway. But it worked, and let me work, so I dealt with it- and when I wasn’t working I disconnected the wireless adapter.

It got my my nerves, though- particularly since I couldn’t connect on the laptop itself, which is arguably a rather useful thing for checking E-mail or simply, you know, using the laptop for work purposes at all. For some reason it occurred to me, and embarassingly for the first time- that the reason I couldn’t connect on the laptop itself and the reason I couldn’t connect on my desktop when it was connecting through the laptop were probably related. This resulted in a Duh moment where I promised to never reveal this delayed bit of basic logic to anybody, at any point, a mantra I have stuck by for almost 48 hours and am breaking by making this post, because hey, it’s sorta funny too.

With that bit of genius Holmes-like deduction, I proceeded to try to explore why it wasn’t working on my laptop. First problem, the network was being noted as Public, rather than Private. As most of us are aware, Windows Firewall uses several rules and applies a stricter set of rules to Public networks, because otherwise when you use your laptop in a Starbucks people will put pictures of goat anuses in your pictures library, which will of course get mixed up in your extensive collection of gif files showing giraffes eating popsicles. Needless to say, you don’t want pictures of goat butts getting in the way of your Iced Tower collection. Now, being that this is a private, Home network with a WPA2 security key, I decided to throw caution to the wind and change it to a public network. This itself took a bit of figuring out. For those that need to perform similar steps, here is how I did so.

 

  1. Windows Key+R To open the Run dialog. start “secpol.msc”
  2. Selected the “Network List Manager Policies”, which is rivalled only by “Advanced Audit Policy Configuration” in terms of the sheer excitement and heart pumping adrenaline Rush you assume it must entail.
  3. Selected the wireless Connection. I right-clicked and selected “Properties”, then the “Network Location” tab and changed it to “Private”.

I repeated this procedure on the Desktop machine with the bridged connection, then disabled Windows Firewall on Private connections on both machines, to prevent that from going all “Nope” to my attempts to connect to the VPN, and I Was able to successfully connect to the VPN on my desktop via the bridged connection, and presumably the connection would also work on the laptop itself.

 

 

Posted By: BC_Programming
Last Edit: 31 Aug 2013 @ 05:18 AM

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