Secure your Wireless Network (Home)

Most people now know how important it is to secure your home wireless, however many still don’t know all the steps available to protect your wireless beyond setting a password.  Here some tips to provide advanced security to your home wireless network.

  1. Change the administrative password.  Use a strong password.
  2. Set your wireless name to something that would not be easily associated with you.  Do not use your address, name, car make, etc.
  3. Turn off broadcasting of your SSID (name of the wireless connection setup in step number two above).  Some devices require broadcasting to setup and connect the first time, if this is the case turn on broadcasting of your SSID, connect the device, then disable it again.
  4. Use WPA2 Encryption.  Again, use a strong password as you did to setup your administrative password.  Do not use the same passwords.
  5. Use MAC Security.  What is MAC security?  Each system (network card) has a virtually unique MAC address.  Much like an IP address, however it is an address provided by the maker of the network card and not dynamic.  Setting up your wireless to only allow specific MAC Addresses (your MAC Addresses) further reduces the chances an unauthorized individual could use your wireless.  You can find your MAC address for any device generally fairly easily by Goggling “how do i find the MAC address for”…
  6. Turn off DHCP.  DHCP is a service provided by your wireless router that provides an IP address to each machine that is allowed on the wireless network.  Turning off DHCP and setting the IP addresses manually for each device is the safest, however I find it to be quite a pain so instead I limit the DHCP scope (range) to only the number of IP addresses of devices I will have connecting and then assign each one to a device.  This then associates an IP address with a MAC address and eliminates  the need to manually set IP addresses on each device.
  7. If you have the option and do not need your wireless devices (such as a laptop) talking to other devices (such as a wireless printer) then disable communication between devices.  Many home wireless routers do not support this option, so you may not be able to enable it.
  8. If you have options to limit the range (strength) of your wireless signal set it to the level that ensures it works for you but not higher.  Setting it higher than is needed makes your wireless network available in ranges you would not need it, thus increasing the chances that someone else might try to use it.