Configuring Wireless Routers

When you buy a wireless router it is not secure and its default configuration will allow unwanted users that are in the vicinity of your router to connect to the internet and “steal” your wireless router internet connection. They could also gain access to your PC or network and steal files and folders of data. Manufacturers leave the configuration “open” so that the user can easily set up the router and get it up and running quickly. However, there is a risk if the router is not secure.

Accessing Your Wireless Router's Configuration

To gain access to your wireless router settings and configuration menu then connect to the router either wirelessly or via a Ethernet cable. Most home and small business wireless routers use common IP addresses that are found in the instructions.

1)  Change Admin password
Most wireless routers ship with a blank password. It is essential that this is changed else a potential hacker could get into your router configuration and lock you out of your own hardware.

2) Change The Network Name (otherwise known as the SSID)
The default network name is usually made up of the name/model of your wireless router. This information gives a head start for a hacker and makes it easier for them to break into your network. Don't rename it to something like your surname or house name as this unnecessarily exposes personal information. Rename it to an alpha-numeric string - this can be up to 32 characters long.

3) Turn off SSID broadcasting
By default, a wireless router's SSID is broadcast so anyone in the vicinity of your wireless router can see that it. SSID broadcasting can be turned off thus making your wireless router virtually invisible.

4) Enabling Encryption
This is switched off by default. There is a choice of WEP, WPA and WPA2. Currently the latest encryption method is WPA2 so use this where possible. Both your wireless router and wireless PC adaptor must be configured to use the same encryption.

5) Mac Address Control
All hardware has a unique MAC address associated with it, including your PC adaptor card. This MAC address can be added to access control list in the wireless router. Only devices added to the router's access control list are allowed to be connected.

6) Update router firmware
It is recommended that the latest router firmware is downloaded from the manufacturer's website and installed in the router. This will hopefully fix any bugs that have been found for your router and also help with any known security flaws in the router itself.

7) Backup settings
Finally, backup all router settings. If you reset the router back to its factory default settings for whatever reason, your configuration can later be easily and quickly restored back into the router.

Sound like a lot of work?  And should you be using home wireless routers in you business?  We can help.  We can secure your wireless network so only authorized users have access to it, create DMZs, and make sure that your wireless network is accessible.  We can also help by designing business grade secure wireless networks.

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