Securing Your Home Wireless Network
Your home wireless network consists of your computers communicating wirelessly with your router. The router is the broadcasting device that transmits wireless signals for computers and other such devices to pick up. Once your computer is successfully connected to this wireless network, it can effectively communicate with the router and thus get access to the internet. An important thing about the wireless router is that it has a range much wider than your premises, and hence, your neighbors can virtually see your router through their laptops. If they know the correct parameters of authentication, they can connect to the router and use your internet connection. In this article, you will find ways to prevent such unauthorized access.
1. Turn off Your Wireless Router During Non-use
When you are not using the wireless router, there is no reason to keep it turned on. This may be difficult in short periods of non-use. However, during considerably long periods of non-use, it is always good to turn off the router.
2. Change the Authentication Settings of the Router
Once you have connected to the router, you have access to its settings page (designated as the default gateway). This page contains all the settings of the router; you can set various properties of it through this page. The default gateway is, however, password-protected. The user id and password to access your router’s default gateway are usually printed on the bottom of the router. Anyone who owns this router knows the user id and password. Hence, it is always best to change these default access settings as soon as you purchase the router.
3. Change the Encryption Type
By default, most of the routers support an encryption type known as WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy). However, almost all routers support better encryption standards, such as WPA (Wireless Protected Access) and WPA2. As soon as you get your router, change the encryption type and set a stronger wireless key.
4. Hide Wireless Network Name
Most of the routers give you the option to hide the name of the network. This will make the wireless network stealth. This feature is known as ‘Disable SSID broadcast’. SSID stands for Service Set Identifier. Once SSID broadcast is disabled, possible intruders will not be able to detect the presence of your wireless network.
5. Use Static Internet Protocol (IP) Addresses
The wireless router assigns an IP address to each device connecting to it, whether it is a computer, tablet, or a cell phone. These IP addresses are by default dynamic, assigned by an application known as DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol). With dynamic IP enabled, any third-party device connecting to the router can get an IP address and use the router for itself. On the other hand, with static IP, only the computers that have pre-assigned IPs will be able to connect to the router. Through the default gateway page of the router, you can assign static IP addresses to the devices that you want to connect to it.
6. Enable Firewall
On each of the computers that connect to the router, you should have a firewall installed. On most of the routers, you have a built-in firewall. You should make sure that this firewall is also enabled. These firewalls will create a strong blockade to third party devices.
7. MAC Address Filtering
MAC (Machine Access Code) is the hardware address of any network interface card. This is a unique address available to a device. The same MAC address cannot be assigned to two network interface cards. Routers can keep track of the MAC IDs of all the wireless devices that connect to it, on a table called the MAC table. You can set the router to connect to only certain MAC addresses. This will restrict network connection to only the computers that you authorize.
A home wireless network is of a great convenience. With wireless routers having a lot of new features, home networking has become an efficient way to use the internet today. However, the number of people, who know this technology and can exploit it, is also increasing. Follow the steps outlined in this article for giving much better protection to your home network.