Easy steps to secure wireless network at home or small office:
My name is Jim and I would like to share some wireless network security tips. I was working as a Senior technical support Executive for almost 5 years. I used to answer customer calls for their home wireless network. I have troubleshooted almost all the brands of wireless router.
No doubt, wireless network security is the most important part when you are trying to setup your router.
How do you change the settings of your wireless network?
Each router has a default IP address and a setup page. Setup page is the page where you can change the settings of the router.
First you will need to check the IP address of the router. Connect the computer to the router with the Ethernet cable. Do not use wireless computer to change the settings of the router. Always connect the computer with the cable. Check the IP address and default gateway number on the computer. Default gateway is the IP address of the router which you can use to open the setup page of the router. Easy steps to open the setup page of the router.
Once you open the setup page, you can change the settings and secure wireless network.
What settings do you need to change?
First I will suggest you to change the wireless network name also called as SSID. Almost all the routers come with the same default SSID. Let’s take an example of Linksys router. The default SSID of Linksys router is Linksys. If your neighbor is also using Linksys router then there will be 2 same SSID to connect and your computer will get confused. So use unique SSID.
Change the Wireless network security mode. Generally all home network routers support WEP, WPA and WPA2 type. You can use any one of them.
WEP is least secured and it can be cracked easily. However some old operating systems only support WEP. But those were old days. If you have Windows XP SP2 or above then it will support WPA and WPA2 also. If you are using WEP security type then make sure that network key is 10 or 26 digit hexadecimal number. WEP encryption will reduce your WiFi speed also.
WPA and WPA2 are the best types of encryption and used by almost all the users nowadays. WPA2 is stronger than WPA but WPA2 is not supported by all the operating systems. I will suggest you to use WPA and do not share your key with anyone.
There are definitely other settings that you can use to secure the wireless network but I don’t think it is necessary for home network users. And that will be just a wastage of time. You can simply change the SSID and use stronger WPA or WPA security key. That will be sufficient.
I will give you just an idea about other security settings below.
Enable Wireless MAC address filter: In this type, you can allow only the devices with specific MAC addresses to join the Wifi. First you will need to check the Wireless MAC address of all the devices that you want to connect. Then add these MAC addresses to the MAC address filter list. Now in this case you have to add the list each time you want to add another device. This is very frustrating for me. I have seen many people using MAC filter and then quit using it after a month or two.
Disable SSID broadcast: You can disable the broadcast of your wireless network SSID. No one will be able to see that your wireless network is broadcasting in that area. Now in this case, you have to add the wireless network manually on all the computers and devices. Also Wifi adapter on your computer requires more energy to stay connected with this hidden network. This may cause decrease in speed.
Disable DHCP server on the router and change the default IP address: In this case, you need to assign static IP address to the computers and devices in the network. Note that all the devices should have different IP addresses.
I think this will be sufficient for WiFi users at home. Don’t need to worry about other things.
Remember the password of your WiFi and do not share it with anybody. I used to ask people to write down the password on a piece of paper and stick that on the back of your router. Because if you forget the security key, you will need to open the setup page again and grab the key which is again not easy task. I know many people will end up resetting the router while looking for the security key.
I will suggest you to use Fix home Network‘s Easy Network Guide and secure your wireless network manually. This Guide will help you find the settings and also help you to setup your wireless router in case you need to reset it.