Wireless router security and efficiency

  Laurence WM 17 Sep 12
Locked

I purchased a laptop for the first time two days ago. Consequently I have set up wifi in my house, using a Linksys Wireless-G broadband router (connected to my broadband modem and my Desktop PC) which was in a cupboard in my house - it must be about seven years old.

Any things I should be aware of with regards to wireless routers? What about security? What are the dangers, and how are they best prevented? I have set my router to:

SSID broadcast enable (what is a broadcast in this context?) Firewall enable Block anonymous requests Disable access restrictions Mode - mixed

Just guessing that these were the best options.

Also, does the quality of the router affect the performance/speed of the laptop online?

Thanks very much indeed, Laurence

  KRONOS the First 17 Sep 12

I assume you needed a password to access your router settings or are you still using the default login details?

This might answer a couple of your questions.

  Laurence WM 17 Sep 12

Thanks, Chronus. This article advises me against disabling SSID broadcast. I could still do with more of an introduction to the whole wireless security subject though. What are the dangers? Is it just from people within the range of the network? What is the WPA2 encryption that the article recommends?

Thanks, Laurence

  KRONOS the First 17 Sep 12

All this will be in your Router manual.You do not give your model number so cannot provide a link to your routers manual/support page. Providing you have changed the default password to one of your own then you should not have to many things to worry about. Yes your neighbours will see your SSID but unless they no your password they will not be able to log in.

As for the WPA2 encryption this will be a setting in your router which you will need to set it involves little more than checking a box.

If you can post your router model I'll get the details for you.

  Laurence WM 18 Sep 12

Thanks again, Chronus.

I have a Linksys Wireless-G. In small letters it says that the model number is WRT54G.

I have the instructions. I have followed them, they tell me how to access some of the settings, but don't really advise on the pros and cons of each setting.

I have set up my own router user name and password.

I have found this article, which, with the others to which it links, is helpful:

http://www6.nohold.net/Cisco2/ukp.aspx?pid=80&login=1&app=search&vw=1&articleid=19073

This article tells me how to set up encryption, which the instructions do not at all. Is WPA Personal good (the other options are Radius, WPA Radius and WEP)? Setting up encryption includes creating the 'security key' which the laptop asked for on first connection, but not subsequently. The article helpfully explains that this is not the same as the router password.

I'd still like more knowledge of the context, i.e. what is at risk. Is it just a matter of preventing neighbours from using my wifi? Or are wifi networks more vulnerable to hacking than are online PCs?

I've read other stuff about about things like MAC address. Is bothering with this being over-cautious?

Thanks, Laurence

  KRONOS the First 18 Sep 12

Once you have your own password then you are fine from your neighbours piggy backing your internet connection.Everything else is just a little over the top. MAC addresses can be useful if you are having trouble connecting a device, I had problems with my Wii but generally you will not need to worry about that.

I expect you have this page WRT54G. Routers once they have been set up correctly don't usually cause to many problems and in my experience work quite happily in the background.

So I would not worry to much about settings in the router as most of them work fine at the default level.

But you are quite right,you can never have to much knowledge, so read all you can.

  Laurence WM 18 Sep 12

Thanks again, Chronus. It's reassuring to know that I'm not neglecting something crucial.

Anyone else got any opinions about the importance of wireless security?

Or on my supplementary question - does speed/efficiency depend on the quality of the router?

Thanks, Laurence

  KRONOS the First 19 Sep 12

does speed/efficiency depend on the quality of the router?

Yes very much so. I myself have just upgraded my faithful Netgear WG843G to a N300 purely because the wireless signal was not particularly strong and I have acquired a couple of devices that connect wirelessly. I only live in a small flat so do not have that much of a problem with wall between the router and device, but they can effect the signal if they are particularly thick or there is some distance between.

  Laurence WM 19 Sep 12

Thanks again, Chronus!

Any idea whether my Linksys Wireless-G WRT54G is a good one?

Cheers, Laurence

  KRONOS the First 20 Sep 12

Having a quick look around the net the conclusions are as follows.

Pros: Extremely easy to set up and configure. Good documentation.

Cons: Somewhat weak throughput at intermediate distances.

The Linksys WRT54G is a good-performing product with a solid feature set. It will not disappoint those looking for an entry-level router.

So not great but not bad.pretty similar to my Netgear WG834G but it was very reliable and I still have one as a backup.

  Laurence WM 20 Sep 12

That sounds good enough for me.

Thanks a lot, Chronus! I really appreciate yuor reseach on my behalf.

Cheers, Laurence

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