6 Tips to Secure Your Wireless Ethernet Network
Many people now use a wireless Ethernet network to connect to the Internet, and it is important to understand how to secure your wireless ethernet network. It makes it very convenient when you are not tied down by a physical cable, especially if your primary computer is a laptop. Unlike traditional, hard-wired connections, a wireless network connection requires more security to prevent unwanted access.
While the steps you take to setup the security may be different because of the hardware that is used, for the most part the settings you use to secure your wireless Ethernet connection are the same. Let’s look at what you need to do to keep your connection secured.
How to Secure Your Wireless Ethernet Network
Securing your wireless connection to the Internet isn’t complex, but you must make sure you understand how to secure the connection.
Settings to Change to Secure Your Wireless Ethernet Network
When setting up the security, you should look at the access point (AP) to your local network. This is the gateway, or the entrance to you local network. For most home users it would be the router that is connected to the modem. When securing the wireless network you should change the following settings:
- The administrative ID and password. Not all routers allow you to change the ID, but if it does then change it to something that is easy to remember. For the password, ensure you create a long password (10+ characters) to prevent anyone from guessing the password.
- Set Security Mode to WPA or WPA2. This is what will actually secure your wireless Ethernet network. If at all possible, don’t use WEP, always choose WPA2 first, or WPA if WPA2 isn’t available. If you only have the option for WEP, then I suggest you upgrade your router. All new routers have the option for WPA2.
- Choose a strong passphrase. Much like the administrative password, choose a long passphrase that will need to be entered to connect to your wireless network. The longer the better.
- Change the SSID. This is the name you give to your wireless network. While this won’t prevent someone from using your wireless network, using the default SSID can cause problems if other people near you didn’t change their default SSID.
- Limit the number of IP addresses. Routers allow you to use more IP addresses on your local network than you could possibly use. If you only have one or two devices that are connecting to your router, you should reduce the number of IP addresses that are managed by your router to the number of devices that you use.
- Change to more secure DNS servers. I currently use OpenDNS for my DNS servers. OpenDNS allows me to block access to certain types of web sites when connected to my router. By changing the DNS settings in your router, you can also prevent people from visiting certain web sites when they are connected to your network, which helps to secure your wireless Ethernet network.
Whenever you create passwords, you should always try to create long passwords. The reason for this can be found in the post Size Does Matter…at Least for Passwords.
The above list provides some of the settings that you can look at changing within your AP to help secure your wireless Ethernet network.