How to Disrupt a Network: 11 Steps (with Pictures)

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How to Disrupt a Network: 11 Steps (with Pictures)
How to Disrupt a Network: 11 Steps (with Pictures)
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To disrupt a network, radio signals must be broadcast on the same frequency, drowning out the original signal. Jammers broadcasting on many frequencies simultaneously can interfere with everything from police radars to GPS systems, and are illegal in many countries. You can use your own Wi-Fi router instead, or another wireless device that broadcasts on a smaller frequency range. Better yet, make your own system to avoid interference and not disrupt your relationship with the neighbors.

Steps

Method 1 of 2: Disturb a network

Jam a Network Step 1

Step 1. Use a jammer if it's legal where you live

Using a jammer is illegal in many countries, including the Netherlands. If it's legal where you live, then all you need to do is buy one and turn it on near the source of the network. In most areas, however, you will have to resort to the more complex, legal methods below. For an alternative, read on here for legal ways to prevent neighbors from using your signal, and to reduce the effect of nearby signals on your own network.

  • Disturbance can disrupt emergency radio communications and other vital communications. Even if it's legal in your area, it's best not to use a jammer in a densely populated area.
  • Don't assume that jammers are legal just because someone close to you sells them. These sellers may be breaking the law.
Jam a Network Step 2

Step 2. Determine the frequency you want to disturb

Assuming jammers are illegal in your area, you'll need to use a more targeted method. Each wireless device transmits signals on one or more frequencies. To drown out this signal, you have to work on the same frequency. Look up the name of the device you're trying to interfere with, or use this guide to Wi-Fi frequencies:

  • Wi-Fi routers that follow the 802.11b or 802.11g standard operate at a frequency of 2.4 GHz. This is a safe bet if you cannot identify the router.
  • Wi-Fi routers that follow the 802.11a standard operate at 5 GHz.
  • The 802.11n standard can operate at 2.4 and 5 GHz. It may be necessary to disrupt both frequencies. Some modern routers with this standard can change their frequency automatically, making it much more difficult to block them.
  • If you don't know what type of router is being used, download a program or app to view nearby wireless networks. Some of these will identify the frequency and channel being used, but the free versions usually don't.
Jam a Network Step 3

Step 3. Turn on a device on the same frequency

You can block a 2.4 GHz wireless signal with a microwave oven, an older cordless phone, a Bluetooth device, and many other wireless devices. As long as it's labeled as 2.4 GHz, it should interfere with nearby 2.4 GHz networks. The effect can range from a slight delay to a complete shutdown, but unfortunately there is no way to tell in advance what it will be.

  • The device must transmit a signal. For example, play music in a phone, or tape the number keys so that they are pressed continuously.
  • Do not use a microwave with nothing in it.
  • To improve the jamming capability of a 2.4 GHz cordless phone, expose the circuit and attach the antenna cables to a wire taped to a CD. This may be against the law, where disturbing is illegal.
Jam a Network Step 4

Step 4. Customize your router for more control over jamming

If your Wi-Fi router operates on the same frequency, you can fine-tune its settings to avoid intentional interference. Start by accessing your router's settings. To do this, open an internet browser and enter the address of your router in the address bar. Try the following common options until you see a router options page:

  • http://192.168.0.1
  • http://192.168.1.1
  • http://192.168.2.1
  • http://192.168.11.1
  • If none of these work, find your router's IP address online, or try to find it in your computer or mobile device's network or Wi-Fi settings.
  • You may need to log in before you can view the settings. Consult your router's manual if you do not know the password.
Jam a Network Step 5

Step 5. Select the transmission channel

A router does not use the entire range of possible frequencies at once. Instead, the range is divided into 14 channels in the 2.4 GHz range, and 23 channels in the 5 GHz range. Depending on your router, you may not be able to access all of these channels, or you may have limited options to change this setting. Do your best to use as many channels as possible. If you can only use one or two channels at a time, switch between each channel and test if the signal strength of the nearby network has dropped.

  • At 2.4 GHz, most routers operate on channels 1, 6, and 11. Also use these channels to interfere with the other network.
  • Nearby channels overlap, causing some interference. Using channels 3, 7, and 11 will slow down almost any nearby Wi-Fi network, at least a little.
  • There are many more channels available on 5 GHz.
Jam a Network Step 6

Step 6. Change other settings

There is no default settings menu for all routers. You may not have access to all of these settings, or your router may be using different names. Check your router's documentation for more information. If you see any of the following settings, make the following changes:

  • Set 'Channel Width' or 'Bandwidth' to the widest possible range.
  • Turn off the automatic channel selection.
  • Amplify the power to the maximum.

Method 2 of 2: Preventing interference and unauthorized use

Jam a Network Step 7

Step 1. Place physical barriers

Walls and other objects will significantly reduce the range and strength of a Wi-Fi signal. Metal objects, water containers and other conductive objects have a particularly strong effect. Placing these in front of thin walls and windows can make it harder for a neighbor to steal your signal. This can also block incoming signals interfering with your own device.

5 Ghz Wi-Fi signals are particularly bad at penetrating objects

Jam a Network Step 8

Step 2. Decrease the power level of your router

Most high-quality Wi-Fi routers have adjustable power. Lower it to decrease the signal strength. You may need to experiment to find a setting that keeps your Wi-Fi at an appropriate strength throughout your home.

If your kids are secretly online when they're supposed to be sleeping, consider turning the energy level to a minimum every night. Increase it again in the morning

Jam a Network Step 9

Step 3. Install a directional antenna

Replace your router's antenna with a directional antenna if you only want to broadcast the signal to one place, such as your desktop computer or your living room. This will significantly weaken the signal wherever the antenna is not pointed.

To save some money, make your current antenna 'directional' by placing a sheet of aluminum foil in any direction you don't want the signal to go

Jam a Network Step 10

Step 4. Change your router's channels

Access your router settings via an internet browser and then change the channel setting to avoid interference with other networks. Test channels 1, 6 and 11 and test the strength of the WiFi signal around your home at each setting. One of these will usually yield a fast, low-interference network.

  • If your router allows access to channel 12 or higher, test the highest channel.
  • Many modern routers have the option to automatically detect low-interference channels and switch between them. Activate this option if available.
  • Each router manufacturer controls its own settings. If you can't find a channel option, check the router's manual for a guide.
Jam a Network Step 11

Step 5. Enhance Wi-Fi security

Change your router's password if you suspect a neighbor is connecting to your network. This option is available in your router settings, via your browser.

Select WPA encryption, which is harder to hack than WEP

Tips

  • Trying to block a neighbor's Wi-Fi signal with your own signal will also slow down your own network. To increase your own network speeds, change your Wi-Fi settings according to the opposite of the advice above.
  • Ordinary jammers have a range of nine meters. If the network you want to disrupt occupies a larger area, the jamming device will create a nine-meter blind spot within the network.

Warnings

  • In the Netherlands, it is illegal to sell or use a jammer, except for government use. Jammers are also illegal in many other countries.
  • Interfering with someone else's network is a rude and unproductive tactic, even when using legal methods. It is more effective to avoid interference instead, which you can achieve with the above information about Wi-Fi channels.

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