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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A few tips for a secure Wi-Fi network

Here are some tips provided by Mr. Kusumba on securing your network at home or office and some basic information on how Wi-Fi functions:

Disable DHCP:

Since the DHCP is pre-configured to give private IPs automatically, (something like 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.0.2) whenever a device logs onto it, the first level of security would be to disable the DHCP on your access point and manually give the IP addresses to the access point and your Local Wireless devices. On the computer or laptop, one has to get into Network Connections and then to TCP/IP properties to do this. Since the IP addresses are manually assigned to your Access Point and Local Computers, it is practically difficult for someone to automatically connect to your network easily.

Set up WEP Pass key:

WEP stands for Wireless Encryption Protocol. You would have to define a "pass key", (either 8-digit or 12-digit or alphanumeric depending on the make of the access point) in the Access settings of the access point. For this you have to get into the Access settings and enable passkey Access method. The modem would release to the wireless device seeking to log on only when the same WEP passkey is supplied properly by the wireless device. It is good practice to change the Access Passkey on your access point periodically.

MAC Address change:

MAC stands for Media Access Control, a unique identification assigned to every network adaptor or controller or device manufactured in the World. Every electronic device has such unique MAC address. Generally, branded computers or devices have the MAC unique number or WLAN address (in case of mobiles) printed on a sticker that is seen either at the bottom of the Laptop or under the battery in case of Mobile. Alternatively, one could find the MAC address of a computer simply by Clicking on ‘Start’, select ‘Run’ and punch in ‘cmd’ and on the command prompt type: "ipconfig /all" which displays variety of information about your network controller or adaptor in your laptop or computer. Some times, MAC address is also displayed as "Physical Address". Example: 00-1D-72-8E-A8-C0

Once you have identified the MAC address, get into the settings of the access point, select ‘access control’ and key in the MAC addresses of all the devices you wish to allow to log onto the Wi-Fi network. That would mean only those devices which have the MAC addresses fed into the settings would be allowed to use the Wi-Fi network.

Change Admn Password:

All the access points come with an Adminstrator access to configure the access point. The password of the Access Point is left as the default password when supplied by the manufacturer. One must ensure to change the password to their own and avoid access to any unauthorised person. To do this, connect to the wireless network initially, right click on the network connection icon. Select ‘status’ and click ‘support’ and you would get the IP address assigned to the PC and also the default gateway IP address. The gateway IP address can be used as a web address in the browser to access the configuration menu of the access point. On the webpage, you can now change the default Administrator access password

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