.htaccess

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yogi
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.htaccess

Post by yogi » 05 May 2019, 16:36

As you might have noticed, the software for this site has been updated yet again. The updates seem to be coming quicker these days but the problems associated with them remain the same. The site becomes inaccessible after I upload all the new and updated files even though it never used to be that way. After much discussion and many trouble tickets the apparent problem is in the .htaccess file. This is one of those "dot" files in the root directory that only Linux servers need, and only those servers that are running Apache web hosting software. I've looked at the contents of that .htaccess file many times and never have been able to figure it out. I know it disallows access by certain users, but the methods therein might as well have been written in Greek or Cyrillic. Our hosting service added some modifications to the default .htaccess file provided by phpBB. Whatever those additions do, they do it well. They just neglected to tell me that I need to preserve the old version and not replace it with the new. :facepalm:

So, anyway, since updates have been applied, there could be problems with the site. Let me know if you encounter anything unusual.

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Kellemora
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Re: .htaccess

Post by Kellemora » 06 May 2019, 09:03

As far as I know Yogi, you can disable htaccess, unless your host requires it to give you control options of your public page.

My websites are on a Linux server, and I do not have htaccess in my root directory.
Now my host may have it in their root directory, and possibly one each on several public pages.
Basically, it gives you access to your website through the internet, if you don't use the host providers door.

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yogi
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Re: .htaccess

Post by yogi » 06 May 2019, 12:23

.htaccess is a requirement of the Apache Web Server software as far as I know. If your Linux server doesn't have it, then it's not running Apache. It is an access control to the files in the directory in which it is loaded. It may be possible to not use it, but that's asking for a lot of trouble from malicious ne'er-do-wells. In the case of this website, about a dozen lines of code were added to the generic .htaccess file by our hosting service. phpBB, of course, knows nothing about our hosting service and just protects access to it's own sensitive files. A few generations of updates past things changed. I never had to fool with the .htaccess file before then, but now I have to include what our hosting service wants or the site simply will not work. My gripe is that they never informed me in advance that this file had to be preserved and when I complained the last time they just fixed it without saying what they did.

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Kellemora
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Re: .htaccess

Post by Kellemora » 07 May 2019, 10:49

Could be Yogi, I don't know much about servers.
There is a possibility it is my account directory which I do not have access to.
And I'm sure it is in the Hosts own root directory.
What a Host shows as my root directory is probably several levels up from their root directory.

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yogi
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Re: .htaccess

Post by yogi » 07 May 2019, 11:40

You are right about the /root directory. I don't know of any hosting service that allows its subscribers access to the actual server root. That's a death wish if it happens. LOL

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Kellemora
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Re: .htaccess

Post by Kellemora » 08 May 2019, 09:56

I figured as much.

Unless I confused myself in my olde age, and it has been a while since I've done any updates to my web pages.
When I was with Comcast, the lowest I could go in the directory hierarchy was the start page where you put the index.html page and all of your HTML folders, like gfx, style, js, etc.

At my new host, I can go one level below this for my own site maintenance, sorta.
This directory is the one that shows each of my websites hosted on their server.
I don't mess with it of course, because I don't know how to create a website manually to put there.
If I want to add a new website, I use their graphical program to do so. Then when I'm done, if I look back into the directory below the main one, there it is. A folder for that website, with what only looks like a link to the actual website, looks sorta like a php string or maybe a Bash string.
There are a few folders in there shown only with numbers as the file name, and if you open one, it has sub-folders also with only numbers. All kinds of documents inside them I can't open, get a restricted notice.

I did notice one thing when I drop down to this folder, in the FTP window it shows I'm in folder (which has my account number in the folder name string).

Hate to show my ignorance, but I will guess that when someone types in an URL for one of my websites, it goes through the hosts folder for my account, then goes to either my main website, or one of the sub-websites, using redirects from that folder I can get to here, that I couldn't get to at Comcast, because at Comcast I had to make totally different websites.
It could be also because all of my current websites are sub-websites off the main website, but accessible via an URL.
Not exactly sure how that works though.
With Comcast, all of the websites started with home.comcast. net/~classichauslimited/roaringfalls
My sub-websites can be worded two different ways: (and I probably forgot the second way)
roaringfalls.classichauslimited is one way, and I think the other is
classichauslimited.com/roaringfalls, or it could be roaringfalls@classichauslimited
I'll have to look it up again to see the different ways of providing the same URL.

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yogi
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Re: .htaccess

Post by yogi » 08 May 2019, 18:19

Image

Creating websites are as simple as creating any other directory on a computer. The website directory is no more than a shared directory to which the public may have access. Thus, if you want to manually make a new website, it's just a matter of creating a directory with the name of your new site.

Of course the files in a website directory won't run by themselves. There is server side software, Apache in our case, to do what it takes to send the files in your website directory out into the wilds. When a request comes in to see what's in the directory, it comes in as an URL, which is suspiciously the same as a directory path with .html appended to the end. LOL It's really a simple concept and you have worked with it many times, I'm sure.

The image I posted is the root directory for my account on our Linux web server to which I have ftp access. My screen wasn't large enough to capture all the single files at the bottom, but you get the idea. The name of this directory is hidden, but I know it happens to be my account number. You will note that my account has both perl and php software installed as well as mail. The database is on some other server, I presume, and I need to use an SQL control panel to get at it. What you see here, this website, is in the highlighted directory called public_html. Therein is another list of directories similar to the one in the image and includes our website directory.

brainformation.com has an IP address of 216.85.168.253 which is all recorded in various DNS servers throughout the world. That IP address will get you to the root of public_html which has only one webpage in it: our portal. The address you type into the browser to get here is http://bfchat.brainformation.com and it points to the bfchat folder. That is a subdomain of brainformation.com. I have three others, each of which sports it's own website. It's the subdomains that brings sanity to this place. LOL I could put all four into the same root directory of brainformation.com, but that would be a nightmare to maintain. I have enough trouble keeping this single subdomain up to date.

So, you could actually roam about the bfchat subdomain directory with an ftp client. I don't think you can get into it's parent, and certainly you will not ever get to the directory in that image. It's all a matter of permissions and that ubiquitous .htaccess file. The pictured directory, my account, is one of dozens similar to it on that server. I do not have permission to see the parent directory contents from my desktop, but there are websites that will list all the other websites hosted on that server. Not sure how they do that, but it can't be too difficult.

In your case the parent directory (domain name) for your websites is classichauslimited. That's the equivalent to my public_html directory. classichauslimited has a sub-directory called roaringfalls, thus it would have a directory path of ~classichauslimited/roaringfalls. Apparently roaringfalls is in reality a subdoman of classichouslimited. Thus the convention of stating the subdomain ahead of the parent separated by a dot roaringfalls . classichauslimited. If you look at the URL for this forum you will see the same naming convention bfchat . brainformation, meaning bfchat is a subdirectory of brainformation.

simple, eh? :mrgreen:

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Kellemora
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Re: .htaccess

Post by Kellemora » 09 May 2019, 11:59

On my Host Provider, I cannot back-up far enough to see the folder with my account number as the name of the folder. I guess because that would put me into the Hosts root directory, which as you said, could be lethal to my host, hi hi.

I'm just guessing here, but if my Host has a folder named PUBLIC-HTML, all lower case maybe, then if I could back up into that folder, which I can't, I would see the folders for each of their clients by their account number.
I know MY folder is my account number, because that is what shows in my FTP URL window when I'm looking at my lowest set of files, it too has several hidden files and folders in it like yours above. But the only one I have access to is the one named classichauslimited. Once inside that folder then I can read or write anything I want to in there. Create folders, etc.
I have to make the assumption here that my IP address knows to look to my Host first, it's Public HTML folder, then for my classichauslimited folder. But all the user would see in their URL bar is classichauslimited.

I figure if every account they host is in the public-html folder, then all of us would have almost the same URL. Or am I all wet with that line of thinking? If I moved to a different host, I would need a different road map to classichauslimited, which would change the URL. I assume the URL holds the road map to find me, hi hi.

I told you I was a dumb as a box of rocks when it comes to this stuff.

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yogi
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Re: .htaccess

Post by yogi » 09 May 2019, 15:41

Well, Rocky, all I can tell you is that you are not alone. LOL I'm having major problems understanding UEFI's boot configuration and will probably write a few words about it when I feel I know enough to rant with authority. UEFI has not been around as long as IP addresses and domain names,d but both topics can be equally confusing to the uninitiated.

Web hosting servers are assigned blocks of IP addresses. You can research the IP down to the owner of the block and their location, but only the hosting service company knows to whom a specific IP address is assigned. In the case of websites that assignment is to a human readable URL. Thus every website URL has an equivalent IP address. That equivalency is stored in DNS servers all over the globe so that queries can be directed to a specific server. Once the query with the IP address arrives at your website server, the hosting software figures out (via a DNS table) which directory on the server goes with the address. The URL, of course, won't tell you anything about the server, who owns it, where it's located, or the directory tree structure on that server. All of that information is embedded into the IP address.

As you might imagine, the directory path to your website could have a very long chain of directories. Some of those chain links do indeed repeat for everybody subscribing to the service.

Code: Select all

 For example I'm reasonably sure all the sites Comcast hosts begin with  
 http://comcast/... 
 The end of that string is your domain name for the website  
 http://comcast/.../.../.../.../public_html/classichauslimited/roaringfalls/.  
 What's in the middle defines the directory tree of the server and 
 is for the most part hidden from public view.
 
How much of the server directory tree is visible and how much of it you have access to is the choice of the server administrator. The host for Brainformation deals with business websites and the webmasters who maintain them. I think we are a little more technically savvy than the average Comcast subscriber which is why there are a few more options here. One way to compare what is going on at Comcast verses our host is to think of Windows vs Linux. The end results is the same. How you get there could be way different.

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Kellemora
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Re: .htaccess

Post by Kellemora » 10 May 2019, 11:50

Before they shut it down, my website on comcast was: http://home.comcast.net/~classichauslimited/

Now that I have my own domain name again, my website anywhere is just: http//classichauslimited.com

I'm sure the DNS server has my Host providers URL as part of my URL embedded in it.
How else would the host provider know which of their subscribers to link to.

Forehead Slap: I just remembered, I looked all that up on-line only a couple of months ago, and it was explained clearly to me, I just forgot about it.

That's something else I miss about back home. We had an ancient computer club only three or four blocks from my house. I attended several times, learned a lot, but it was all stuff I never used myself so it fell out of my headbone.

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yogi
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Re: .htaccess

Post by yogi » 10 May 2019, 14:23

classichauslimited.com is your domain name and it doesn't matter what hosting service naming you put in front of it. The routing to your website will be done automatically by the service provider. It's kind of like your birth name. It doesn't matter what house you live in or in what city. You will be known by your given name regardless of your location. The USPS will get your bills to you no matter where you try to hide. LOL

A computer club sounds like just the thing. I'd suggest you start one in your neighborhood, but I know you have at least a million other things going with higher priority. :mrgreen:

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Kellemora
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Re: .htaccess

Post by Kellemora » 11 May 2019, 09:30

Believe it or not, when I first moved down here, well about two years later actually, I started a small Linux group, we met at the library closest to me. The closest one to me at that time was close to 20 miles away. I wasn't a whiz bang, but figured we would pick up a few knowledgeable members who could teach the rest of us.
It turned out to be a mistake, because all we got were curiosity seekers, and about the only thing we did was install a Linux OS on their computers for them. I was struggling along the best I could.
Fortunately, I didn't have to stop the group, the library decided another group needed our room. Sorta glad it happened that way.

Right after that I got involved with a few writers groups, and that kept me busy for a few years. And now, I don't even have time to stop to eat anymore. Don't know where the time flies off too.

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yogi
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Re: .htaccess

Post by yogi » 11 May 2019, 11:23

The problem with starting a group is that the founder is expected to be the expert, not the student. LOL
When we were looking for houses here in O'Fallon I saw a few that obviously had some highly sophisticated computer hardware laying around. I'm not sure how well a computer club would go over in this town, but I'm guessing there is a lot of talent out there. I feel a rant coming on, but I will save that for another post. LOL

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Kellemora
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Re: .htaccess

Post by Kellemora » 12 May 2019, 09:56

The man who started Suburban Radio Club, the oldest known continuously running ham radio group, did not know diddly squat about ham radio. He didn't even have a license yet. He hunted around for someone to teach him and become a mentor, then found others who wanted to learn also. So they formed a Learn Code for Novice test club, and they worked together mainly from books and records. As each earned their licenses, pretty soon those higher up in rank joined. They decided a repeater would be a great addition to their group, and the original founder renamed the group Suburban Radio Club. I may not have that exactly how it happened, but it was something along those lines.

I have an IT guy who moved in across the street from me, down one house, and he rarely will even say hi in passing.
I posed a few questions to him, one at a time over the past couple of years, when our paths crossed.
He never had a simple answer I could understand, so I just left him alone after that.
But in a room in his house you can see through the front window if he has the blinds open.
He has what looks like two or three server farm frames about 6 feet tall.
Said he handles work for grocery stores, filling stations and the like, plus a few large businesses.
But that's about the extent of what I've learned about him.

Sorta changing the topic a little.
Although I was always with the BBS service. For a time I was with a brand new Internet provider named INLINK.
Back then, the BBS service was just that, a BBS service. They didn't get involved with Internet until long after InLink.
I got my first e-mail address with AOL and dropped it right away. Then when InLink opened, and because they were only a block away from me at the time, I was one of their first customers, my e-mail was for my hydroculture plant business.
Those were the early days of dial-up modems. My first modem was one you used a telephone and set the handset into a two cup modem device. Probably 500 baud, hi hi.
Only because I was in the group of their first customers, as they raised rates, each time they upped to the next generation of modems, they never increased what they charged me.
I did spend a considerable amount of time in their offices, also helping build wooden shelving to hold all their modems. But never learned very much about how their system operated. The computer programs were in a separate room, always busy working, and not once did I get to talk to any of them.
About the time Cable Companies started running Cable Internet, they chose to shut down.
Thankfully, I had other e-mail accounts at the BBS who added dial-up modems, and also gave us access to the Internet. About the only thing I used back then was Usenet, don't think we actually had websites yet then.

It seems there are no more little home-grown ISPs anywhere anymore. The big Cable Companies, Fiber Optic companies, and MaBell's AT&T systems, seem to have run them all out of Dodge.

However, that being said, besides my neighbor across the street running one, I'm finding many businesses go through small server farms for their data storage and business operational programs. I don't see how they can be cheaper than the big guys, but maybe they are.
One of the book promoters I work with used NING for her websites, and she was paying through the nose for their services. She moved to a place much cheaper, but it is still expensive for her.
Apparently she don't know HTML at all, so uses the turn-key packages provided by certain major hosting companies.
In the end, she finally went with using WordPress to build her websites, and they are now movable to other hosts offering WordPress.
I had her check with my website host provider because I knew they added WordPress to their offerings. I figured since my account was super cheap, only about 100 bucks a year, she could save a few bucks herself.
Turns out they charge a bundle for each module you add. They would still be 100 bucks a month cheaper than where she is at now, but I often wonder why or the reason they fetch such high prices. Is it just because they can?
And if so, seems like this would be an open door for smaller companies to get back into the game.

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Re: .htaccess

Post by yogi » 12 May 2019, 13:35

Your story pretty much describes the way I got into ham radio. The difference being that I found a couple guys in the neighborhood who had the same interests as I did and we would practice code together. It wasn't an official club and we never expanded the group.

The competition in the ISP business has got to be fierce. At one time the little guys trying to start a telephone company faced the same problem prospective ISP newbies have today: no infrastructure and the little guy can't afford to build one. Even if they could afford to lay wires across the entire continent, it would be redundant. Thus they broke apart AT&T and all it's baby Bells. They were forced to let anyone who could pay use the existing infrastructure.

A brand new cable company today has the same problem as did the telephone company wannabe's. No network infrastructure. I don't know how that problem was resolved, or even if it was, One interesting solution gaining momentum is the use of wireless networks. I'm sure you have some unused time even on your busy network. You could open up your network to guests, maybe as many as a dozen. Things start to slow down after that. You could charge these people for access to your network which presumably would be a lot cheaper than going with a major ISP. This concept can be scaled up. I'm sure your ISP would be interested in knowing what you are doing, but that's besides the point. You could have ten routers on maybe two or three LANs in your house and maybe 100 subscribers from your neighborhood. Those that are far out would need a repeater placed somewhere between you and them, which would simply be one of your customers who agreed to have an antenna installed on the side of his house. So, if you had three LANs and 100 subscribers to pay the fees, guessing a few hundred buck a month, they could all get onto the Internet for $3 a month.

So, let's say you actually did this, and decided you want to offer your customers game playing capability. You would have to buy the game and the server for it, of course, but now you could add something to the subscription fee to pay back your investment. It's not costing you any more to operate your network other than the price of the software and server. Once that is payed off it's 100% profit. The more services you add to your network, the more you can charge your customers. It still only costs you $300 a month to connect your networks, but those one time costs for added services could be substantial. Eventually, depending on how successful you are you will exceed the bandwidth limits and need to get more connections to your ISP, who will in turn charge you more for access. You may get to a point where you would not need an ISP anymore. If you had enough subscribers you could rent an Internet switch from the phone company for a few thousand bucks a month. By this time you would have so many customers that you would cover the city with your repeaters every few hundred feet and then have to deal with city hall. LOL My point is that it is possible for the small guy to get into the business and the costs remain stable after the initial investment.

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Kellemora
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Re: .htaccess

Post by Kellemora » 13 May 2019, 11:43

When our BBS service first added Internet, they purchased a T1 connection from a larger company. I don't know who.
Later they upped their connection to a T3 connection, again from a larger but different company with lower rates.
They way I understood what was going on, Little ISP Company connects to a larger ISP company, who in turn connects to an even larger ISP company, who connects to Big Daddy ISP company who has a connection to the Backbone ISP of the Internet.

We had our own Telephone System in Des Peres in the beginning, as did most small towns. But they were not connected outside the towns in the beginning either.
A short time later, little Des Peres phone system connected to the larger Kirkwood phone system.
I later learned my dad's phone number at work was 82a and the greenhouse was 82b.
But by the time I was old enough to talk on a phone, Kirkwood had taken over. My dad's number was changed to Kirkwood 803. However, we still had our Des Peres operators. Most of the time the operators knew us by voice and I could ask to be connected to dad at work, or to the Flower Shop. With a new operator I had to ask just for 803. We didn't have to say Kirkwood unless the call was outside the Des Peres phone system and on the Kirkwood phone system.
Then about the time the Kirkwood phone system connected to the Webster Groves phone system, MaBell got in on the act.
Phone systems who connected to MaBell had to all get new phone numbers to do so.
Des Peres phone system ceased to exist at this time, and Kirkwood became a part of the MaBell System.
This is when the phone numbers became like TAylor 1-7393 (our house) and Taylor 2-xxxx for residential phones, and YOrktown 5-2460 (dad's work) and YOrktown 6-xxxx for business phones.
They TAylor and YOrktown prefixes were the Street Names of the Relay Stations.
Several years later the prefixes became numeric. TA became 82 and YO became 96.
Once a city joined the MaBell System, Long Distance calling became available to all cities on the MaBell System.
Eventually, everyone became a part of the MaBell System.

I may be wrong on this next part, and should probably look it up to see if I'm even close to right.
The Bell System was an interconnection of all the local phone companies they took over or who joined them.
They still had the problem of connecting across great distances where town were still far apart and their independent phone services not on the Bell Systems.
This is where AT&T comes in. Maybe not by that name yet?
Ma Bell turned to the Railroads first to use their Telegraph lines between distant cities.
This was great to reach some major cities, and also, many of the railroads had joined an interconnecting service to make Telegraph available nationwide, and Western Union took over the handling of telegraph on railroad owned lines.
Railroads didn't go everywhere, so AT&T who was doing like MaBell and joining distant cities together jumped on the bandwagon.
Eventually, AT&T is who owned most of the lines connecting all the distant cities together, and MaBell contracted with AT&T for long distance service over AT&Ts lines.

MaBell (The Bell System) was a conglomeration of several companies, Southwestern Bell, Southern Bell, New England Bell, Atlantic Bell, etc. and then they merged with AT&T to become one gigantic monopoly.

I see basically the same thing happening with Cable and Fiber Optics. Wondering when the government is going to come in and break them up?

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Re: .htaccess

Post by yogi » 13 May 2019, 13:20

We both have the same basic understanding of how the landline phone companies became interconnected. AT&T was the long distance company and then there were the Bell Telcos for local. Eventually they all merged, and that is when the government decided they were a monopoly. They were in reality a monopoly long before the merge. All the baby Bells had become separate companies but they seem to be all back together again these days. The difference is that landline business is dying and being replaced by wireless. Thus the Bell System/AT&T isn't the giant they used to be. The scenario is similar to what happened with Microsoft. They were the computer company until mobile devices took away a good part of their core business. There was no need to break up the monopoly then. ISP's are in a special category because due to the last "brilliant" move by the gangsters running this country, the Internet is not considered to be a public utility as are the phone companies. Thus the Internet isn't regulated and carriers can do what they please. And, that is exactly what the current batch of ISPs are doing.

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Kellemora
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Re: .htaccess

Post by Kellemora » 14 May 2019, 10:48

I pay three to six dollars a month in federal taxes for sending certain data streams over the Internet.
Still trying to figure out how the government gets by with taxing it?

Come to think of it, they probably tax a lot more than that, and we just don't know about it, because it is HIDDEN in our ISPs subscription fees. If so, then that would mean I'm being taxed twice for the same data stream.

Last night in one of our writers groups, someone brought up wireless optical Internet.
A few large business are already using a wireless optical network to send data between their separate buildings, and with other companies, like banks who are also starting to use it themselves.

I imagine it works sorta like a laser beam, but uses visible light (still above our vision range I think).
When lasers were tried, everything from birds to humidity, and rain of course messed up the transmissions.
Also, the further you go, the wider the light beam becomes.
Then there was the temperature problem causing equipment to drift from expansion and contraction with temperature.

Li-Fi uses simple low cost LEDs and can run at 100 times the speed of WiFi.

Unlike a Laser system, where it takes tremendous power to send a laser beam to a receiver.
If I understood what this guy was talking about properly. A Li-Fi system doesn't require much power, because it is not trying to shoot it's beam to a receiver. It is merely using enough power to lighting up the LEDs.
The receiver is more like a telescope, rather than receiving data, it is aimed at the source of the signal and reads what the LED is transmitting.

As an example: The hand held telegraph lights used on ships to send signals to other ships, do not have enough power for their light to reach the other ship. But the other ship can see the light from many miles away flashing the Morse Code in their direction. Then the ship sends a code back using their hand-held light to acknowledge they received the signal properly.

Doing it this way stops the refraction problem caused by rain or humidity to laser systems, which create false signals.
Since the data is sent in packets, just like on the Internet, a failed packet is resent until acknowledgement is received. So a bird or insects, would not matter much, and since the speed is already 100 times faster than WiFi, even several dropped packets would not be noticeable.

Right now it is used between businesses who own tall building.
But cell towers could also be used as nodes to reach many places, without running fiber optic cable.
Although your home might be able to see and read the signal, it won't be tuned to receive your LEDs. So for personal use, people will still have to rely on WiFi to reach whatever system uses fiber optics or Cable even if the signal is eventually sent through Li-Fi or even Satellite as far as that goes.

Sounds like something in the future, even if it is already in use by a few big money folks.

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Re: .htaccess

Post by yogi » 14 May 2019, 15:57

Got to admit that Li-Fi is a new concept to me. I probably am missing a few things from your description but it seems that send-only scattered light would suffer the same interference problems that coordinated laser beams suffer, with one exception. Laser beams are not as easy to intercept as light from an LED. Competing banks must love those who are using this system; it's seems so vulnerable to eavesdropping.

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Kellemora
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Re: .htaccess

Post by Kellemora » 15 May 2019, 10:00

I read about encryption-in-sync a couple of months ago. Forget exactly what it said, but basically the encryption code changes every six seconds, and the carrier key must stay in sync also.
I'm not explaining it very well, but technically it should be impossible to intercept and decode since the code changes every six seconds, and a whole new code group is generated each day, This is on top of the primary encryption too.
If I knew more about encryption methods, I might be able to explain it better.

Anyone can tap into a fiber optic cable and read the light pulses, I assume which is why they use encryption in the first place. So I guess it doesn't matter who can point a receiver at the flashing lights.

I have a scanner here that can follow trunked messages. I have no idea how to use it for that, but saw in a scanner magazine the trunking code for a few law enforcement channels that never change.
When I first got the scanner, I figured out how to do what I needed to do on it. But the friggin' thing is so complicated, I have to keep the book with it, just to listen to some local calls.

I saw some scanners advertised that connect to your computer so you can copy the text displays sent to patrol cars, if you know have the key and encryption keys to do so.

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