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How to Secure a Wireless Network

written by: •edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 7/23/2010

It makes good sense to lock down your wireless network in order to prevent unauthorized access into your system. This article provides a few tips on what easy steps you can take to make your wireless network, at home or in the office, more secure.

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    Wireless Security

    If you have a wireless network in your home or office, it is absolutely imperative that you secure it. Otherwise, you’re asking for trouble in the form of stolen bandwidth, breaches of security, and more. It makes as much sense to secure your wireless network as it does to keep your home or car locked up. This article will give you a few tips on how to makes your wireless network more secure, because there is more to it than just setting an access password.

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    Strong Passwords

    First and foremost, you need to set a password on your wireless router. With no password in place, anyone that can pick up the signal from your router can access your network. At a minimum, they can get free Internet access from you. If you have any folders shared on any PCs in your wireless network, someone could easily access them, too. There is no reason why you should not password protect your wireless network. None!

    Your router should give you the option of using WPA (Wireless Protected Access) or WEP (Wireless Encryption Protocol) security. WPA is better and newer than WEP, but either one is better than nothing. When setting a password, make sure you use something strong, meaning that it contains letters and numbers in random sequence that somebody could not guess easily. Don’t use your full name, street name, or anything very obvious.

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    Router Administration

    Setting the password for your router depends on the type of router. Typically, your router should have some kind of web-based interface where you use the browser to access it by going to or The default login/password should be admin/admin, and you should definitely change that after you login so that someone else can’t get in and change your settings for you. It would be no fun to get locked out of your own router.

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    Another thing you can do from within your router settings is to disable the broadcast of your SSID, or service set identifier, which is the name of your wireless connection. Doing this will make it so that anyone out looking around for wireless connections won’t just stumble upon your’s. It will make connecting your own machines require an extra step or two, but will save you a lot of trouble in the long run. Just like with the passwords, once you get your PC set up once, you won’t have to reconfigure anything unless you change some settings on the router itself.

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    PC Security

    Establishing a secure wireless network doesn’t just involve setting up the wireless router, but also includes PC security. Whether you are accessing from a desktop or laptop PC, you should also take measures to make sure your computer is protected. For starters, make sure your firewall is turned on. This will help to block a great many intrusions, and is the first line of defense with your PC. Also, some security software, like BitDefender Internet Security, actually includes wireless network monitoring that allows you to see who is connected to your network, and some take it a step further by allowing you to approve connections before they can get to anything, even if they know the password to your wireless network. Finally, make sure you don’t have any folders shared that should not be, especially ones that contain personal data.