Wireless Network Security
Although there are many different methods of securing a wireless network this guide will only cover WPA encryption. This method is the most widely used and easiest method to enable security, and is generally adopted by most manufacturers.
For more detailed information on configuring specific wireless network devices please use the manufacturers support websites.
Alternative or additional security methods are as follows;
- Disable SSID broadcast:- This hides the routers wireless network name. However because the SSID can be detected from wireless transmissions it does not supply any security to the network.
- MAC filtering:- The router stores a list of devices that can connect to the network. This adds an extra level of security but the list will need to be manually updated as and when devices are added or removed from the network.
- WEP encryption:- Similar to WPA however is based on older technology and therefore is less secure.
Router security:- It is always advisable to change the default administrator password so as to prevent unauthorised access to the routers security settings.
In order to setup wireless security you will need to configure both the router and wireless network adapter.
Setting up the Router for WPA security:
Connect to and login to your router. Please check the instructions provided by the manufacturer for information on how to do this. Additional support can be found from their website.
Use Internet Explorer and type in the routers IP address.
Check the routers manual to obtain the correct username and default password.
Once you have connected to the router you should navigate to the wireless security settings.
Next select or choose the option for WPA.
To use WPA Pre-Shared Key, enter a password in the WPA Shared Key field between 8 and 63 characters long.
Make a note of the WPA pre shared key as this will need to be used on all devices that require wireless connection to the network.
The router is now set up as secure wireless network
Scanning for and connecting to a wireless network:
This guide will use the Windows wireless zero configuration for network configuration.
3rd party configuration software can be used with the same effect, however due to the variety of utilities currently in use and hence the differing screenshots. I will concentrate on the standard Windows configuration method as this is available on all computer regardless of hardware.
If 3rd party software is installed it will have an icon in the system tray that will have an option to allow Windows to manage WiFi. Thereby allowing you to use the guide.
You can scan for WiFi networks in your area and connect to them by following the instructions below:
- Double-click the wireless icon in the Windows Notification Area
- Click Refresh network list under Network Tasks. Windows will now scan
- Click on the network you would like to connect to and click Connect.
- Enter the WPA key for the network when you are asked
- For connect to a wireless network in Windows Vista navigate to the network and sharing center as follows;
- Start -> Control Panel
- Then click Network and Internet
- Then choose Network and Sharing Center
Connect to a network
double click the wireless network you want to connect to
enter the Network security key or passphrase (WPA key you setup in the router)
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