by Jeremy Schlinz
Do you have a wireless network at your home? If not, have you considered one? Security should be a top concern if you have installed or plan to install a wireless network.
Home networking has become commonplace in the last decade, thanks to the strides made in wireless technology. A wireless connection can eliminate the need for in-wall cabling or running cords along the floor. Multiple PC’s can connect to the network from any room in the house. But without proper setup, this convenience also increases the likelihood your home network may be compromised by a third party.
Unfortunately, unsecured or poorly-secured home networks remain commonplace, allowing malicious users to easily break in and steal data from any computer in your home. Spammers are also able to break in and use your internet connection to solicit e-mail advertisements which can then result in restrictions placed on your internet connection. Even at the lowest level of risk, an unsecured network could allow a neighbor – or multiple neighbors – to “piggyback” on your internet connection and steal your bandwidth, meaning a slower connection for you and possibly increasing the charge you pay your provider.
Many types of wireless routers are plug-and-play, meaning you simply plug them in and use them right out of the box. That’s certainly easy, but it’s not an advisable method for setting up your wireless network. In order to set up a secure connection, you must set passwords on both the equipment and your wireless network. WARNING!: Improperly changing any of the settings within your router – including your wireless security settings – can take down your network and leave your router inaccessible! Please contact ABS Internet first if you have any questions, or to request an installation.
You can log into your wireless router yourself using the default username and password, which are usually, user: blank/admin and password: admin. The default web address of your router is usually 192.168.1.1. Check your router documentation for more specific configurations. Generally under the administration section, you may change the router password. Make the password long and difficult to guess, of both upper and lowercase letters. . If you forget this password, you will not be able to get back into your router and it will have to be reset, so you might want to write your password down and keep it in a safe place. Once you’ve set your password, navigate to the wireless security section of the router interface.
There are three common types of wireless security: WEP, WPA, and WPA2. WEP is only slightly better than having nothing at all. It may keep the neighbors out, but if anyone is set on getting into your network, tools can easily be found online to crack the code. WPA is the security setting recommended for home networks. All traffic is encrypted, and the network key/password you create will be very difficult to crack. Again, make this password as long as possible; a short phrase would be ideal. This password you will only need to enter once per computer, as it is saved.
These are only basic wireless configuration suggestions. There are many more steps that can be taken, both at an advanced level on the router (depending on hardware support) and at the computer level (anti-virus protections and firewalls) to ensure your network is secure. ABS Internet installs only the highest-quality equipment. Our expert technicians are able to quickly assess the needs of your home network, should you decide to contact us. Please visit our website at ABSInternet.com for more information.