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How to setup a wireless home network - section 9

Guidelines for a well secured wireless network

The wireless network allows you to surf the internet, access files, use your printer, etc. from anywhere in your house, but you need to realize the the wireless signal is not limited to your house and any of your neighbours or anyone on the street near your home will be able to use your internet connection or even access your files if you don't follow these simple but important guidelines.

Check the router configuration section to see how to configure the router with these settings.

Essential

  • Change the default admin password of your router. Otherwise, anyone with access to your router may change its settings, and for example, disable yor security changes. Use a strong password.
  • Use wireless security authentication and encryption. Prefer WPA and if not available use WEP. If you are using WEP, you may want to follow also the next guidelines, especially if you suspect that your neighbours will invest time in breaking your privacy (though breaking WEP is not easy to do at all!). WPA is strong on its own.

Recommended

  • Change the default SSID (wireless network name) to something unique and meaningless (e.g. my_link567sys).
  • Disable SSID broadcasting. This will cause other clients (computers) to not detect and list your router when looking for available wireless networks. For any new client you will want to connect to the router you will have to configure the profile manually in the client (type the SSID) or enable temporally the SSID broadcasting in the router.
  • Use MAC address filtering. Allow only specific clients to connect to your router. To know the MAC address of a client, open a command prompt (start->run->type cmd->ok) and type "ipconfig /all". This will list the MAC addresses of all your network adapters on that client.
  • Change the IP subnet and/or disable DHCP. Though some guides recommend doing so, it is really not needed.

Keep in mind that these guidelines protect your wireless connection between the router (or access point) and the computers. You still have to protect your computers from any other threats that you would have had if you were connected even with wires, such internet viruses, spyware, etc.






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