How To Keep Your Home Wireless Network From Being Hacked
Wi-Fi is great! Radio waves are sending packets of data containing an awesome Netflix movie fly through the air over to your laptop, desktop or TV; what could be better? Well... surely, not much.
However, Wireless Internet can suck if it is not setup properly. For example, your neighbors may use up your bandwidth watching these funny cat videos on YouTube. As a result you get signal dropping every time you take your iPhone into the bathroom and try to download a new application. Agonizingly slow speeds every time another family member jump on the network.
Setting up a secure wireless network properly can alleviate all of these issues. Resolving these problems is actually quite easy. This is a guide on how to setup a secure home wireless network properly. Additionally, the guide points you to a few extra steps to help secure the whole network.
Which Type Of Device Do You Need To Buy?
You could buy a D-Link router or a Wireless-G ADSL Home Gateway router. The advantage of these devices is, you not only have the wireless network, you also have at least four wired ports to connect to. You can use these ports for scanners, printers and devices that do not come with a wireless connectivity. Either way, make sure that the router you are buying has a visible antenna, which is the sign the router has Wi-Fi capabilities.
Set The Router Up
Initially, you need to use a physical port and connect a computer to the router you just bought. You only need to do this for the first time so you can configure your router. For example, you may connect your laptop to the RJ-45 jack of the router and you could connect the phone line to the phone jack, also known as a RJ-11 connector, in the router.
Next, put the CD which comes with your ADSL router into the computer and run it. It usually auto-runs and guide you through a step-by-step process where you can complete the initial setup of the modem. If you are asked for IP settings, you need to get that from your ISP. Most ISP provides a dynamic IP every time you connect to the Internet, so typically you do not need to use any static IP addresses.
Once your router has been physically identified, it is necessary to locate the device on the network. Wireless routers are typically configured by browsing to a web page using an address which is frequently printed on the bottom of the router along with a default password.
If this does not work, the most effective option is to check the address your computer is using as its default gateway. For computers using the Windows operating system, you need to press WIN+R to open Run window and then enter 'cmd' and click Okay.
In the black command window you need to enter the 'ipconfig' command to review network settings.
Under 'Default Gateway' you will notice the gateway you need to connect to your router. For example, a commonly used gateway address is '192.168.1.1'. If you are a Macintosh user, you will need to launch terminal and enter 'netstat -rn'. One of the first lines that say 'default' followed by an IP Address represents the default gateway you need to use.
Now, you know you can access your router by using the address 'http://192.168.1.1'.
Type in router's default username and password. Username and password are usually printed on the bottom of the router. Or you can try to use 'admin' as a username and 'admin' as a password to connect to the router.
Once you are logged in, you can see there are several tabs: Setup, Wireless, Status... We only need to use the 'Wireless' tab. This page of the router management software will allow you to setup various wireless settings.
Pay attention to the following options:
1) Wireless network name (SSID): This is the name of your network. You may want to change the default to something more appropriate. This piece of information will be visible to everyone.
2) SSID broadcast: For extra security, turn this off. This means that if any computer or laptop is scanning for networks, they will not be able to see the name of your network. However, you will still be able to access the network by manually typing in the network name, or SSID, on your computer or smartphone. If you are planning to use MAC filtering, you may turn this setting on.
Now look for the Wireless security section.
This section allows you to setup various network security settings and passwords. We recommend using WPA2 type of encryption. WEP is the least secure type of encryption.
Now, you will notice you are allowed to type a password you want to use as your WiFi password. Type in your passphrase in the small text box that appears. When you are done, click Apply. Additionally, you may want to go to the 'Status' tab and save all the configurations you have made. Wait a minute as the router will restart itself. After a while you will see your new WiFi network is available. Connect to it by using the passphrase you just saved in.
This is a security feature that will enforce your privacy and security policies. By using MAC filter you are able to prevent other computers, phones and devices connecting to your WiFi network.
Look for the 'MAC Filter' tab and click on it. You will see a list of MAC addresses that are able to connect to your wireless network. However, in the first place you need to know your own MAC address so you do not block your own devices.
In order to know your own MAC address, open 'Network and Sharing Center' in the Control Panel and left click your Wireless Network Connection under 'View your active networks' section. You will be presented with a small window. Click on 'Details' and piece of data next to 'Physical Address' represents your MAC address.
Copy this address and paste it into the MAC filter table in the form of XX:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX. Do not forget to save this configuration. If you cannot find your MAC address, you can click on Start > Run and type CMD and click Okay. Type 'ipconfig /all' and hit enter. The listed 'Physical Address' represents your MAC address.
Finally, go to 'Status' tab in your router and save all the changes you have made. Now you have a completely secure, hack-proof wireless network.
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