Broadband - How to Secure Your Wireless Network

By: Liam G

It wasn't all that long ago when personal computers where restricted for offices and wealthy households. Moreover, computer networks where practically unheard of in residential settings, such technology was reserved for large office buildings - things however, have progressed considerably over the years.

One of the most common methods to share a broadband connection within homes and offices today is using wireless technologies.

Although such technology has revolutionised the way people can access networks and the internet it does have a major disadvantage, one that was not prevalent with coaxial cables or the more familiar CAT5 network cable; this being security.

The technology that comprises a wireless network usually consists of a wireless router; wireless receivers (generally USB dongles or built in antennas); and in some cases one or more repeaters (if the signal needs to span an exceptionally long distance).

Once set up, the wireless router will happily start broadcasting and accepting information within a certain radius. This essentially means that your next door neighbour (or anyone in range!) could be accessing your network, and leaching your internet connection - which as well as invading your privacy could be costing you money if you have a broadband usage allowance.

So, the first line of defence is to familiarise yourself with your network and your routers configuration options, which are usually accessed via a browser window

Router manufactures tend to apply the same SSID (the networks name) and login details for all of their routers, so to begin with, changing these to something more personal is the first line of defence.

Following this you should apply some form of encryption, the popular choice being WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) and WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access), the later of which is the most secure. This involves applying a specific "key" that any computer attempting to access your router will need to input.

Lastly, possibly one of the best ways to ensure only devices of your choice have access to your router is to establish MAC filtering. MAC or Media Access Control is a unique code given to every physical network device.

Therefore, finding out the MAC code for each device in your network (this can prove difficult to the untrained so referring to the manufactures manual is recommended) and inputting only these addresses on your MAC filter list will ensure only they will have access.

In conclusion, securing your wireless broadband network is relatively easy, with a wealth of broadband sites out there offering helpful information and guides you're never far from help. Such sites often allow you to compare broadband packages, as well as offering expert help.

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