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Seriously Mike
So, just got an idea of using a microdrone with Signal upgrade as a hacking relay - rigger/hacker sends out a drone to maximum Mutual Signal Range, where the drone gets into the MSR of a target system and the hacker uses it as a relay node to hack the target system (that is, for some reason, unreachable otherwise). Would that even work?
Aria
I think so but I'm no matrix guru! I've recently built a wifi 'bridge' based on a ferret drone that stays outside a wifi dead zone and sends in a kanmushi with a fibre optic spool attached to it - voila, matrix where no matrix should go...might be even better to use the drone that can tap fibre optics (UW?), then you can send it in to find some unsuspecting camera or similar hardwired device and hack in without being 'on-site'...

Hopefully I haven't got that completely wrong nyahnyah.gif
3278
QUOTE (Seriously Mike @ Feb 4 2012, 03:50 PM) *
So, just got an idea of using a microdrone with Signal upgrade as a hacking relay - rigger/hacker sends out a drone to maximum Mutual Signal Range, where the drone gets into the MSR of a target system and the hacker uses it as a relay node to hack the target system (that is, for some reason, unreachable otherwise). Would that even work?

Absolutely. In fact, this is how almost the entire Matrix works in SR4. Any wireless device is also a router for the wireless network, so a commlink can be a router, even if it's just some guy driving past! That's how the distributed mesh works.

Technically, you can also buy retrans units for your drones, specifically to do what you're suggesting, but they're holdovers from SR3 that don't need to exist in SR4, but apparently somebody wasn't thinking that day: every wireless device is a "retrans unit" with a range determined by its Signal.

This means, of course, that you can route to even very remote locations by using a string of devices to get there. It doesn't matter which devices: it could be a satellite relay to a drone to a toaster to a bystander's commlink to the target network. This makes truly isolating systems difficult, but the idea then is that you'd just not use wireless on those sorts of things, or block the wireless signals with wifi inhibiting paint or whatnot.
Yerameyahu
There is a Repeater mod/gear item. Technically, though, *anything* should automatically repeat matrix signal.
Aria
The retrans unit is a cheap way to boost signal...although I think sat link does it better and cheaper!
Yerameyahu
It's all tradeoffs, yeah.
SpellBinder
Typical drone or other device with a rating of 3 has a signal range of 400m. A Retrans Unit vehicle/drone upgrade boosts this to Signal 6, a range of 10km. Satellite communications is cheaper, has a Signal of 8 (100km), but also states it's meant for communicating with satellites in low-earth orbit. A GM can rule that a satellite link isn't capable of connecting to a local network for more than one reason (not omni-directional, different frequencies, etc.).

It'll pretty much come down to personal preference and what your GM will allow you to do with a drone/vehicle with an obvious satellite dish on it. Oh, and even though it might be minor, don't forget about LOS and the curvature of the Earth at longer distances.
Yerameyahu
Well, it'd go up to the satellite and back down to *your* sat link, of course. smile.gif But there are various tradeoffs involved.
Sengir
QUOTE (Seriously Mike @ Feb 4 2012, 04:50 PM) *
So, just got an idea of using a microdrone with Signal upgrade as a hacking relay - rigger/hacker sends out a drone to maximum Mutual Signal Range, where the drone gets into the MSR of a target system and the hacker uses it as a relay node to hack the target system (that is, for some reason, unreachable otherwise). Would that even work?

If you use the stupid "mutual signal range is required for hacking" thing it won't. Well, unless the drone is the node which your persona runs on...
Yerameyahu
Huh? Any path of connected nodes is Mutual Signal Range, including if those nodes use satellites.
Seriously Mike
Remind me then, where do I find directional antennas? Those might get handy too and I remember I saw them in one book, can't recall which one.
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
QUOTE (Seriously Mike @ Feb 4 2012, 01:39 PM) *
Remind me then, where do I find directional antennas? Those might get handy too and I remember I saw them in one book, can't recall which one.


Unwired...
Sengir
QUOTE (Yerameyahu @ Feb 4 2012, 09:26 PM) *
Huh? Any path of connected nodes is Mutual Signal Range, including if those nodes use satellites.

Nope, mutual signal range is when both nodes can "hear" each other directly, without rerouting in between
Yerameyahu
Yes, but so is any combination of nodes in mutual range. That's how the stupid mesh supposedly 'works'.
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
QUOTE (Sengir @ Feb 4 2012, 03:39 PM) *
Nope, mutual signal range is when both nodes can "hear" each other directly, without rerouting in between


Says Who?
UmaroVI
QUOTE (Tymeaus Jalynsfein @ Feb 4 2012, 06:07 PM) *
Says Who?

SR4A 222 under "Signal" where Mutual Signal Range is defined.
Sengir
QUOTE (Yerameyahu @ Feb 4 2012, 11:46 PM) *
Yes, but so is any combination of nodes in mutual range. That's how the stupid mesh supposedly 'works'.

Again no. MSR = direct connection, not routed connections. See Umaro's page ref.
3278
QUOTE (Aria @ Feb 4 2012, 06:20 PM) *
The retrans unit is a cheap way to boost signal...

Well, a retrans unit is 4000 nuyen, has an Availability of 12, and takes up a mod slot; for that you get a Signal of 6. [Arsenal, p141.] Or you can spend 3000 nuyen, no mod slots, with an Availability of 16, and just raise the drone's Signal directly. [SR4a, p222.] So what it is, apparently, is an easy-to-buy but slightly-more-expensive way to boost Signal...but really, it's just a dev oversight. smile.gif
3278
QUOTE (Yerameyahu @ Feb 4 2012, 10:46 PM) *
Yes, but so is any combination of nodes in mutual range. That's how the stupid mesh supposedly 'works'.

There's a couple things working here:
"mutual Signal range" is actually a specific circumstance in which two devices can talk directly to each other, without any routing.
You are [correctly] saying that any two devices that can be routed between are connected: this is also true.
Some people believe that hacking is not possible over a routed connection, only a "mutual Signal range" connection, which is the "stupid" rule Sengir's talking about.

So you're totally right,* but that's not what Sengir was referring to.

*Okay, not totally: MSR really is a specific circumstance. But close enough for Dumpshock, anyway. wink.gif
BishopMcQ
I look at retrans units as specific tools for a specific job. Let's say that you need to hack a node that is not connected to the mesh. If the hacker can't get inside, sending in a microdrone and a few small retrans units can be the solution you need.

Do you need it to hack the stuffer shack from your apartment? No. Tapping into the underground research facility with no outside matrix connection? Maybe.

Also, there's a biodrone swarm that acts like a retrans unit, so you can be unobtrusive. Dead drop a microdrone into a supply shipment, then use a bunch of flies (or ants) to bridge the connection.
SpellBinder
QUOTE (3278 @ Feb 4 2012, 06:23 PM) *
Well, a retrans unit is 4000 nuyen, has an Availability of 12, and takes up a mod slot; for that you get a Signal of 6. [Arsenal, p141.] Or you can spend 3000 nuyen, no mod slots, with an Availability of 16, and just raise the drone's Signal directly. [SR4a, p222.] So what it is, apparently, is an easy-to-buy but slightly-more-expensive way to boost Signal...but really, it's just a dev oversight. smile.gif

No, I'd not say it's an oversight. You can only increase the Signal attribute (or any other attribute, like Response) of a device by +2 from its original rating. So unless you're starting at a device rating of 4 (and your typical drone is a 3) you can't reach 6. See "Upgrading Devices" on the same page in SR4a.
3278
QUOTE (BishopMcQ @ Feb 5 2012, 01:37 AM) *
I look at retrans units as specific tools for a specific job. Let's say that you need to hack a node that is not connected to the mesh. If the hacker can't get inside, sending in a microdrone and a few small retrans units can be the solution you need.

Right, but what does this do that just raising the microdrone's Signal to 6 wouldn't do?
3278
QUOTE (SpellBinder @ Feb 5 2012, 01:43 AM) *
You can only increase the Signal attribute (or any other attribute, like Response) of a device by +2 from its original rating. So unless you're starting at a device rating of 4 (and your typical drone is a 3) you can't reach 6. See "Upgrading Devices" on the same page in SR4a.

Ah, I missed that! That's...fascinating. Explains the purpose of the modification, anyway! Good looking out. [edit: And now I'm looking at the ramifications of that rule, and cringing. Egads!]
BishopMcQ
QUOTE (3278 @ Feb 4 2012, 05:43 PM) *
Right, but what does this do that just raising the microdrone's Signal to 6 wouldn't do?


If you raised Signal to 6 to get past wi-fi inhibiting, the retrans unit bridges the gap between the drone and you, since standing near the air vent of the underground facility is bound to get you noticed. As I said, limited use tool, but handy when you need it.
3278
QUOTE (BishopMcQ @ Feb 5 2012, 02:57 AM) *
If you raised Signal to 6 to get past wi-fi inhibiting, the retrans unit bridges the gap between the drone and you...

Why doesn't the drone's own Signal bridge the gap between the drone and you? If the radio on the drone's retrans unit can reach you, why can't the drone's own radio? They're in the same place, with the same Signal.
BishopMcQ
The retrans unit is a middle man.

Microdrone | Retrans Drone ------ Hacker
Signal Range 0 | Signal 6 ----------- Signal 6 - by putting the retrans unit on the other side of the wall, it can get within the weak signal range that escapes the wi-fi inhibition, and then use its full strength radio to broadcast back to you.

My reading of Hidden Mode because it doesn't allow any access accept through pre-specified accounts, is that it doesn't use the mesh to route traffic. Going Active or even Passive in what should be a tech-free or no wi-fi zone, could draw undue attention. Ghosting is the only time I see the MSR rules coming into effect, and the retrans unit bridges the gap to all
3278
QUOTE (BishopMcQ @ Feb 5 2012, 04:56 PM) *
The retrans unit is a middle man.

Yep. That's not really what I'm asking, though: I'm not asking, "Why use a drone to extend Signal range," I'm asking, "Why use a Retrans Unit on that drone rather than raising the Signal of the drone?" Part of the answer to that question is that some drones simply couldn't raise their Signal to 6 without a Retrans Unit, as SpellBinder points out. That aside, my point is that basically every single wireless radio in Shadowrun is a "retrans unit" that can extend your wireless range; whether that's Bob's cell phone or a drone with a Retrans Unit or someone's toaster, the effect is the same. There's no reason I can see to use a Retrans Unit, specifically, unless you need a Signal of 6 on a drone with a Signal of 3.
Yerameyahu
Yup. It's partly the upgrade limits, and partly (I'd guess) previous-edition holdover. The whole auto-mesh thing makes more sense if you avoid thinking about it.
Brainpiercing7.62mm
QUOTE (Sengir @ Feb 4 2012, 09:09 PM) *
If you use the stupid "mutual signal range is required for hacking" thing it won't. Well, unless the drone is the node which your persona runs on...


Ok, for this one, I think (and I may be wrong) that it's supposed to work like this (and unfortunately I haven't rechecked this from the rules, but...)

For nodes which actually see legitimate traffic, there will be guest accounts, so you connect, "log in" to a guest account from any node with routing, and hack from there. That's like hacking a web-page, or something.

For nodes which don't have guest accounts, like, say, drones runing in autonomous mode, you first have to locate their node, and then hack by getting in mutual signal range. That... doesn't make so much sense, when you think about it, because a signal is a signal, whether it's routed or not. BUT, I'm guessing that was the intention, anyway.
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