- Internet & the Web
How to Configure Your Wireless Router For Enhanced Security
Broadband and wireless routers usually go together. The wireless router may be integrated with the modem that is provided by your broadband provider or may have been bought separately. In either case, the wireless router is necessary to allow multiple devices throughout your home to share a single broadband connection.
The default settings of your wireless router should work fine depending on which model you use. However, they are often not optimal and can be adjusted to better fit your needs. By changing some of the settings of the wireless router, you can unlock additional functionality.
How does a wireless router help with security?
A wireless router usually includes a firewall, which sits between the devices connected to the router and the Internet. It restricts access to and from the Internet and makes it more difficult for outsiders to steal information or conduct other malicious acts against you.
If your connection is not secure, then anyone can gain access using your Internet connection. Strangers could use your Internet for free or criminals can commit acts that will be blamed on you. Clearly this is a situation that you want to avoid.
A wireless router is therefore very useful to prevent things such as credit card fraud, identity theft and so on. Unfortunately, a wireless router is often not secured as much as it could or should. That's why it's important for people to change some settings to maximize security.
Restrict access to your wireless router with MAC addresses
Your wireless router can be configured to only allow access to certain devices and block other devices from accessing your wireless connection. This can be done by adding a list of allowed MAC addresses using a MAC filter.
Every device needs a wireless adapter to connect to a wireless router. Each of these wireless adapters comes with a MAC address. The MAC address is an alphanumeric string that is unique on every wireless adapter. It can be found in the documentation or on the adapter itself.
Just let your wireless router know what the MAC addresses are of the devices in your home. Any device with a MAC address that is not listed in your router configuration will not be allowed to access your wireless router and use your broadband connection.
Block access to the Internet with IP addresses
By default, anyone connected to your wireless router is given access to the internet. However, you may not want that to be the case at all times. You can accomplish this by blocking internet access to some of these IP addresses. They will still be able to communicate within the network, but not with the internet.
Every device connected to your wireless router has an IP address. Usually, it's 192.168.XXX.XXX, where XXX is a number between 0 and 255. You can add an IP filter to your router settings that either blocks or grants access to the internet to IP addresses that fall within a certain IP range.
For example, if the IP filter starts at 192.168.0.0 and ends at 192.168.0.255, a device with an IP address of 192.168.0.2 will be given internet access, assuming the filter is set to grant access. All devices with IP addresses outside this range will be blocked from accessing the internet.
Do not broadcast the SSID of your wireless router
A wireless adapter will scan for available signals and let the user know which networks are available. To connect, the person needs to know both the SSID and password. If your wireless router is configured to broadcast the SSID as is usually the case, the user only needs a valid password.
By not broadcasting the SSID, you can enhance the basic security of your wireless router. Someone now needs to know two pieces of information, which is harder than only one piece. This increases the security of your wireless router and broadband connection.
Enable encryption and lower your signal strength
A wireless router should come with a password and you should add one if there isn't one. This password will be required for devices to access your wireless router. You should also make sure that authentication is set to at least WPA2 and not to something less secure. Avoid using WEP.
Making adjustments to your wireless router should also require a password. This should already have been done for you by the manufacturer, but you should still check to make sure. Change the password if it is something generic or easy to guess.
The signal strength of your wireless router should be lowered to the minimum possible. This will prevent devices that are too far away from accessing your wireless router. Only devices in your own home should be allowed access. It will also lower electricity consumption of your wireless router.
Take the time to configure your wireless router
A wireless router is essential with a broadband connection. You can also connect devices using cables, but having cables all over the place does not look pretty. That is especially true when devices are far away from your modem.
With a wireless router, your home looks neater and you can easily move around without worrying about cables. You can access the internet using your broadband connection from pretty much anywhere, including your garden.
With that said, you should look into the configuration of your wireless router. There may be some things that you want to change to make the most of it. It may take some of your time, but it is well worth it.