The Wireless Guide - Security
Wireless Network Security
The next step in setting up wireless broadband is security. This is possibly the most important step in setting up a wireless network.
Wireless security is needed to keep intruders out and your network safe. Without it, you could be supplying free Internet access and possibly your personal files to your neighbours!
There are several different ways to secure your network, you could even use a few methods to make it that much harder for anyone else to gain access.
WEP (Wireless Equivalent Privacy)
This option encrypts data you send over the network and can only be read by someone who has the pass key. This key is set by the user, and consists of a number of hexdecimal values (the characters 0-9 and A-F). You will have to type a certain amount of characters for your key, depending on the level of encryption you want (your router will explain exactly how many you should type).
This chosen key is then encrypted by the router using 'bit encryption' (the number of bits used when encrypting the chosen code). It can be set as 64 bit, 128 bit or 256 bit encryption. The longer the key or bits the harder it is to crack and gain access to your network.
One of the main downfalls of using WEP security is that you have to remember the hexdecimal code that you set originally if you want to add any more devices to your network, rather than a personalised password.
WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access)
This option is just the same as WEP but more secure because the user sets a key, but the router changes the 'key' at preset times making it harder for anyone to exploit your network. One of the main benefits of using WPA is being able to choose your own unique and memorable password without any restrictions, compared with WEP security which allows only hexdecimal values to be chosen.
MAC Control (Media Access Control)
Every network device has an identification code called a MAC code. This is unique code to the device and you can specify this MAC code in your router to allow data to pass. MAC codes are built into the hardware meaning only hardware that you allow can access your network. This method can be used with WPA or WEP also enabled.
Hide your SSID (Service Set Identifier)
This will hide your router name so it's 'invisible' from other wireless users scanning for networks. Only set this option when you have Set-up your Wireless Network or you won't even see your own network to connect to!
Avoid sharing sensitive files
Avoid sharing the whole of your drive (e.g. C:\) so if anyone does gain access, they cannot view personal files and data. You may want to set up a dedicated folder for Sharing Files.
Has your computer got protection?
Your Computer or Laptop should be equipped with Firewall and Anti-Virus software even if you don't have a wireless connection. If you don't already have any software, every Windows computer has a built-in firewall which can be accessed from the computer's Control Panel.
Set up trusted zones
Most firewalls will allow you to set up a trusted zone for internal networks. You could add your 'allowed' systems IP addresses (every computer has a unique IP address which can be found by clicking on 'Start' > 'Run' > typing 'CMD' into the text box followed by 'OK', and then typing 'ipconfig' into the black window that appears and pressing 'Enter') to access your PC. Any IP addresses that aren't on your 'allowed' list are kept out.
Turn wireless off during prolonged non-use.
If you are going away or you know that you won't be needing to use wireless for any prolonged time, you can turn off the wireless router.
Setting up your own Wireless Broadband Connection has never been easier!
Well, first of all you'll need to have a wireless compatible broadband connection. Freeola's Broadband packages are all wireless-friendly and it's incredibly quick and easy to get yourself set-up. Simply take your pick of our amazing broadband packages, and choose your wireless equipment during sign-up. We'll even pre-configure your router so it's ready to plug in and surf... It really is that easy!
If you already have a wireless capable broadband connection, take a look at our Wireless Equipment page to find out what equipment you need. If you already know what you need, you can purchase cheap wireless equipment from the Freeola Shop.
Select Your Freeola Wireless Broadband Package
A broadband internet connection without any wires or cables connecting the computers to the internet.
A Network of multiple Computers, Laptops and Printers all connected to each other and the internet wirelessly.
The essential item that connects you to the Internet with the built in ADSL modem.
An Internal Wireless Network Adapter for laptops allowing wireless communications between the computer and a wireless router.
An Internal Network Adapter used with PCs allowing wireless communications between the Computer and a Wireless Router.
Multiple-input multiple-output communication. MIMO Routers have more antennas therefore allowing more wireless connections and more coverage. A MIMO Router allows more devices to connect to it than a standard router, and will also have greater coverage, so the range of the wireless network can be increased.
A GB (gigabyte) is a unit of information or computer storage equal to 1 billion bytes.
A Mbps (megabit per second) is a unit of data transfer rate equal to 1,000,000 bits per second or 1,000 kilobits per second.
The Wi-Fi standard that applies to wireless devices such as routers, denotes a set of Wireless LAN/WLAN standards developed by working group 11 of the IEEE LAN/MAN Standards Committee (IEEE 802).
The two main types are 802.11b (which supports speeds of up to 11Mbps) and 802.11g (which supports speeds of up to 54Mbps). You won't notice any difference when browsing the internet with a standard (up to 8Mbps) broadband connection, however file and data transfers between devices on a wireless network will be faster with the 802.11g rather than the 802.11b.
USB Network adapter
An External Network Adapter suited to all types of computers allowing wireless communications between the Computer and a Wireless Router. USB adapters are very easy to use as you simply plug them into a USB port on your computer.
WEP, WPA, SSID hiding & MAC Control
These are all different types of Wireless Network Security. These allow for different levels of security to be set within your wireless router so that your network is safe from intruders trying to connect to your network.