Your Wi-Fi, how secure

buffalo router

A Wi-Fi allows data exchange or connect to the internet on a local area wireless technology using radio frequencies, 2.4 GHz UHF and 5 GHz SHF to any wireless capable electronic devices.

Devices like video-game consoles, personal computers, tablets, smart phones, digital audio players and some digital cameras connecting through a wireless network access point.

A wireless Access Point (AP) is a device connected to a router (wired network) as a stand alone device or a router with wireless capabilities that allows these wireless devices to connect to resources such as the internet or local computer network (peer to peer).

A wireless router is a device with the same functions of a router but it also has functions of a wireless access point. It is used to provide internet access.  It can function as a Local Are Network (LAN), Wireless-only Local Area Network (WLAN) or mixed wired/wireless network, depending on the brand.

How to choose and how do you configure your wireless router?

It is important to change some settings on your wireless router to prevent or lessen security vulnerabilities. Few little things you can do that are important and you might not know

Selecting a Wireless Router

Wi-Fi networks have limited range. A typical wireless access point using 802.11b(has a maximum raw data rate of 11 Mbit/s) or 802.11g(It operates at a maximum physical layer bit rate of 54 Mbit/s or about 22 Mbit/s average throughput) with a stock antenna have a lower range than of IEEE 802.11n. 802.11n wireless standard operates on both the 2.4 GHz and the lesser used 5 GHz bands. It operates at a maximum net data rate from 54 Mbit/s to 600 Mbit/s (100Base-T  standard) or higher gigabit speed (1000Base-T standard) which has  transmitting Ethernet frames at a rate of a gigabit per second (1,000,000,000 bits per second), as defined by the IEEE 802.3-2008 standard.

 

*On these days, you should choose a wireless router that uses 802.11n wireless standards.

Why? Because,

  • Its wireless range is longer,
  • Data transfers are faster than the other Wi-Fi standards,
  • Its Wi-Fi protocol is backward-compatible meaning, old computer using older technology will work on the new router.
  • Even while streaming high-definition videos, you’ll be able to share & transfer other files without a slowdown
  • Choose a dual-band router (Radio Frequency; 2.4 GHz & 5 GHz)

     Why? Because,

  1. It can handle more data at once and at faster speeds
  2. Some dual-band wireless routers operate the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands simultaneously.
  3. It can divide traffic letting you put slower, 802.11b/g devices on a separate SSID (Service Set Identifier-network name).
  4. Some dual band routers let you isolate traffic on two wireless network’s SSID.
    (Example; Create 2 network names, “Guest” (for house guests & friends to connect) and “Home” (for you and your family to connect)

*Choose a router that has an external antenna port so you can change compatible antennas if you want a longer range. Many factors may affect the signal range including but not limited to;

  • Interference from neighbor’s wireless signal
  • Structure of the surrounding buildings
  • Distance where you want the signal to reach

Setting up / Configuring Your Wireless Router

  • It is very important to learn on how configure your wireless router;
  • For security reasons to prevent anyone from accessing your router (network) by simply entering commonly known default logins
  • Improve performance of your network
  • If anything goes wrong, you’ll be able to troubleshoot it right away

How to configure; Most routers comes with an installation disc to guide you through easy setup. But I prefer to configure it on a web browser to get better access to the advanced settings.

  • Ethernet cable: Use Cat-5e or better cables for all connections for high-quality connectivity
  1. Connect your computer to the router; Attach the Ethernet cable to the computer port and the other end to the wireless router.
  2. Know your router’s gateway IP address and have a copy handy. Sometimes this is written on the manual that came with the router or printed on the sticker somewhere on your router. If not, you can find it in the control panel, “Network Connections”. Your (LAN) Local Area Connection listing should read “Connected”, since the router will default to DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol- When a computer or other networked device connects to a network, its DHCP client software in the operating system     sends a broadcast query requesting necessary information such as an IP address). For the lists of a router’s default gateway address default user and password, please refer to my “Router Default” post.
  3. Open a web browser and on the address field type your router’s default IP address then press enter.
  4. A pop-up window will show asking for a user and password login (please refer to my “Router Default” post for the commonly used user and password login), but most of the new routers will ask you to input directly your choice of the user and password login
  5. First, type your choice of user name on the user field then choose your own password then press the login button to save the changes (please refer to my “Strong Password Protection” post in creating a password if you need help). Afterward, it would logout and it will log back in. Now, type the user and password you’ve created. Once inside, you can now control all of your router’s settings
  6. Next, change the router’s internal subnet and IP address. It will help you avoid conflicting IP addresses on the other networks in your area. It will also add a little security.

      How to?

  • Go to “basic settings” and change the default IP address (Example:  You can change the value marked “x” (192.168.X.1). Where “x” is any new number between “1 and 254”. If your default IP is “192.168.1.1” you can change it to “192.168.200.1”).
  • Write down your new IP address then click “save change” then click on “apply settings”  if applicable. Wait until the router finishes the new settings.
  • On your address field, type the new IP address you chose then press “enter”. Then type you user name and password.
*Now, go to “Advanced” setting / “Wireless” setting to change your SSID (any unique wireless network name of your choice and you may “disable” SSID broadcasting to add another thin layer of security- your wireless name will not show on other computers / wireless devices). Save changes after each configuration.

*ENABLE Wi-Fi encryption on the “ security” settings on the wireless configuration panel to enable password protection. Wi-Fi without a password is unencrypted and would mean that anyone in the area  reached by your Wi-Fi signal can connect to your network and could easily intercept and read your data.

  • Choose WPA2 on your “security type” dropdown menu. Why? (Please read my “Understanding Wireless Security” post).
  • Enter your password / security key (please refer to my “Strong Password Protection”) post in creating your security key/password.
  • Click on “Save changes” the” Apply settings”. Your router will apply changes and boot up.

Congratulations! You may now use your internet! But please keep in mind that your file sharing, data transfers and all activities online will vary on the internet speed you purchased from your network provided.

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