Now, it is so common to own a home wireless network. It is so convenient and beautiful. With a wireless home networking done, you can connect multiple computers together without any wiring lying around the house. You can subscribe to one internet service provider and the whole family can share it. Not with one computer but more than one computer. All computers can surf the internet or share information with one another without any connection of wires. You can save money by subscribing to only one internet service provider and save trouble by lying any cables around the house. So wonderful and simple.
But, being convenience can have its disadvantages too. Actually quite dangerous. Imagine, a stranger who is sitting near your house, detected your wireless home network and log on into your wireless home network. Now, the stranger can use free internet access, or maybe free information from your computer. The stranger with enough knowledge and tools can actually access to any computer that are log on to the network. He can even block your computer from the network! Now, that's bad. You can not use your own wireless network !! ??
So, protection and security of your home wireless network is vital. It is so very very important. Fortunately, it is not a rocket science thing to do. It is quite simple.
There are some simple steps that you can do to protect your wireless home network (802.11a / b / g / n Wi-Fi equipment).
1. Change default administrator password
Every wireless home network, there is a access point or router. The equipment that your internet line is connected. To set up the router, manufacturers provides you a web page. The manufacturer will provide you a web address number to key in, normally "192.168.1.1". It will show the equipment setup page. There, you can key in your password. The manufacturer will provide you the default password for the equipment. Change the password immediately, on the first time that you use it. If you are using a wireless network now and have not change it. Change it now. You do not want any stranger to change your wireless network setting making it useless to you.
2. Change the Default SSID
All network router equipment have a SSID (Service Set Identifier). It is a name for the router. All network router equipment have one, so the equipment is shipped with a default SSID name. It is easy for others to know the equipment default name. Furthermore, you want to know that you are using your own network equipment, no any other strangers network. So, change it to a unique name that you know.
3. Enable (compatible) WPA / WEP Encryption
All wireless network equipments supports a certain kind of encryption. Encryption allows data to be scrambled before sending out to the receiver. The computer which receives the information must know the way to unscramble the data to make it useful. You must use the strongest encryption technology that your equipment allows. WPA is a stronger encryption than WEP. If your home wireless network provides WPA encryption, use it.
4. Enable MAC Address filter
Each network device has a unique MAC address. Routers can track all the MAC address that it is connected to. You can take a look at the MAC address at the router setup page and physical network device. Almost all network device or notebook computer that is Wi-Fi enabled has a MAC address printed on the device or computer. Look at the numbers that is the same in the router setup page. Enable only your network device or any that you wanted the router to connect to. This results others from using your router network.
4. Disable SSID broadcast
The router usually broadcast its SSID name out. So, if your computer searches a network, you will see the SSID names of the router. Showing this tells people that the router is switched out and in use. You do not want others to know that you are having a wireless network router from your home. So, disable the broadcast so that others may not be able to see your router is switched on. Preferably after disabling SSID broadcast, change your SSID name. Remember the new name so that you need to key in the SSID name for your computer to connect to.
5. Disable Auto-connect to other network
Your computer may be detecting available networks and trying to connect it automatically. Although this is convenience but it is not a good practice. You may accidently connected to a hacker network, and you data is at risk. So, take control of which network that your computer is supposed to be connected to. Manual select or key in the SSID to the network that you wanted to connect to.
7. Enable Firewall
Most router provides the function of firewall. Enable the firewall provided by the router. It creates an additional line of protection by restricting unnecessary traffic.
8. Position your router
Your router sends out signals to your computer. These signals will travel in and out of your house. It is therefore easy for others to detect and use the signal. Try to position it in the middle of the house so that the signal will be stronger in the house, where you use the computer, and weaker out of the house.
9. Switch off your router during if it is not used for extended period of time
Shutting down the router will prevent others from using and detect your wireless home network. While it may be impractical to switch on and off every time you use. But, when you are out for more than a day, it makes sense to switch it off. You save electricity and prevent others from using your network.
10. Update your software
Always keep your software updated. Software that function to protect your computer must be regularly updated. Example anti-virus, anti-spyware, firewall, your operating system (MS Windows, Mac OS, Linux etc).