Knowing that the Zionist rebels use the Hover ships to reach a broadcast level in order to infiltrate the Matrix, yet every blue pill in the matrix seems to be hard wired into it, how do they broadcast in? Has it ever been explained? In real life, you cannot hack into a wired system wirelessly without a wireless node or access point. There would have to be a bridge between wireless and wired, even if the hacker has to physically add that bridge themselves.

Even if we assume that the Machines, who destroy, rebuild, and allow to repopulate Zion created these access points, do the red pills ever question why they are able to hack in like that? The first thing a paranoid or intelligent person would ask is why the machines don't disable this access.

The other option I could think of is that the Matrix relies on wireless broadcasting at some points in the network, but considering the power pipelines that run all the way to 01 (the Machine city), it makes no sense to make the links wireless.

  • 1
    Good question, but we don't know that they hack-in wirelessly. Perhaps they "plug" an input cord somewhere in the pipelines when they prepare for their hackery. We may not have seen what they did on-screen. Also, they are L337 haxor5, they find a way :)
    – Möoz
    Commented Jul 14, 2015 at 0:39
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    @Mooz they broadcast. And multiple times we see them broadcasting while the ship is moving...
    – user16696
    Commented Jul 14, 2015 at 0:40

3 Answers 3


You don't need a direct wireless feed to The Matrix in order to hack into it. All you'd need is wireless access to any system that is directly or indirectly connected to The Matrix, and then route from there.

In network security there is a concept called air gapping, which is pretty much the highest level of security a system can have (if implemented correctly). It relies on isolating a given system from external systems (unplugging it from the internet is a good start) so that you'd need physical access to get anything out of it.

The concept itself is really simple, but the reason almost no live system uses it to any greater extent is because it's really difficult to implement, if not outright impossible in some cases. The bigger the system, the more interconnections you have, the trickier it is to isolate.

The Matrix, as shown in the movies, has several connections to the outside world, and the Machine City. You have the agents, who continuously get information from the outside world; the Train Conductor who can smuggle programs from the Machine City to the Matrix; Deus Ex Machina (the big swirly robot face at the end of Revolutions) who talks about the current state of The Matrix.

All it takes is one vulnerable chain of connections from a wireless receiver in the Machine City, leading back to The Matrix.

Something to keep in mind here is also that the Machines, as stated in the movies, want the Zion people to hack into The Matrix. It's part of their cycle to give them a way in. With that design goal in mind, it wouldn't be hard for them to leave a number of obscure vulnerabilities lying around in the system, and maybe even leak some details about them. Why would Zion suspect that it was intentional? The very idea that the Machines welcome rebellion is ludicrous.

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    The last point is worthy of my +1. Zion is a scam, therefore the reason why X can happen is because Zion is a scam.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 14, 2015 at 11:21

We know that Agents are able to communicate with sentinels in the real world because they order a sentinel strike in The Matrix:

Agent Brown: The trace was completed.

Agent Jones: We have their position.

Agent Brown: Sentinels are standing by.

Agent Jones: Order the strike.

Notably, we also know the Agents are limited to hard wired connections. As Morpheus explains:

Neo: What are [Agents]?

Morpheus: Sentient programs. They can move in and out of any software still hardwired to their system. That means that anyone that we haven't unplugged is potentially an Agent. Inside the Matrix, they are everyone and they are no one.

Although the Agents are limited to hard wired connections, the sentinels receive orders in the real world wirelessly. Therefore there must be a communication channel (some sort of wireless access point installed by the machines) between hard wired connections in the Matrix and wireless signals in the real world. It is reasonable to assume this bridge offers two-way communication (so that the sentinels can provide status updates to programs in the Matrix like Agents and the Architect), and therefore the humans can inject a wireless pirate signal into this communication channel to hack into the Matrix. Moreover, this channel has an obvious military communication purpose so the red pills aren't suspicious of it. On the machines' part, they want the humans who reject the Matrix to leave the Matrix for Zion so they have no reason to try to prevent the red pills from hacking into the Matrix in order to unplug those humans.

  • This doesn't really explain how the sentinels can receive these wireless signals within Zion but the humans cannot transmit from Zion.
    – user8693
    Commented Jul 15, 2015 at 0:04
  • @MichaelHampton This question is asking about the hoverships hacking into the Matrix from broadcast level, not whether they can do it from Zion (they can't) or why the sentinels can receive orders from within Zion. I suspect that either the machines have more advanced communications technology, or there were simply sentinels just outside of Zion that were relaying orders to the sentinels inside Zion.
    – Null
    Commented Jul 15, 2015 at 1:31
  • Initially, there is no line of sight between Zion and broadcast depth; no way to get a signal to the matrix without being closer than Zion. Relaying, especially the bandwidth needed to jack in, may be difficult or impossible. Sending a "please hold" order needs very little bandwidth, and at that point the machines have a direct line-of-sight because they just finished sinking a shaft from the surface to Zion.
    – Matthew
    Commented Mar 1, 2021 at 14:06

I suspect it is a plot oversight. It makes no sense to have wireless access to a completely wired, high-speed environment unless you have devices that require mobility and yet need a connection to the network. Unless you consider the Sentinel Robots (Squids) which attack Zion or anything that is outside of the Matrix proper.

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It is never explained why or how the Nebuchadnezzar (or any other ship) is able to access the Matrix wirelessly (for all we know, it's mentioned but ends up on the cutting room floor) but one of the theories is the SQUIDS use a wireless connection to be controlled from the Matrix.

  • It is this connection that is being backhacked to connect to the Matrix. It also explains why the connection is always open and never shut down.

  • It is possible the Sentinels are completely autonomous and don't need a connection to the Matrix, but it seems more likely the Matrix would maintain a connection with all of their machines, in real time, just in case threats attack from outside and they need to relay information in either direction.

  • It may also be why the Machines don't necessarily recognize someone hacking their network. If the signal is primarily an outgoing signal to the Squids, then the machines may never check or notice the illicit connections being used by the insurgents.

  • Perhaps the insurgents modified the send/receive options of the wireless connections so they could use them without being discovered by the Matrix.

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    In The Matrix Revolutions the sentinels clearly receive some sort of wireless signal during the battle, instructing them to stop the attack.
    – user8693
    Commented Jul 14, 2015 at 6:04
  • Of course there is no reason the Squids are believed to be part of the Matrix directly. I'm assuming the machines do have lives outside of the Matrix, as the animatrix shows them being alive and sentient.
    – user16696
    Commented Jul 14, 2015 at 7:51
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    @MichaelHampton But this raises another question, when they can receive a command in the outer parts of Zion, then they could hack the Matrix also from Zion...
    – Thomas
    Commented Jul 14, 2015 at 7:59
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    @Thomas no, since they can be tracked. The Zionists don't know that the Machines know where Zion is, so they have to play the mouse to the machine's cat.
    – user16696
    Commented Jul 14, 2015 at 11:23
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    I don't understand this answer. You start off by saying (in bold) that there is no reason to have a wireless connection to the Matrix, but then you list reasons why the sentinels would communicate with the Matrix wirelessly.
    – Null
    Commented Jul 14, 2015 at 14:58

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