Setting Up and Securing Your Wireless Network

There are more and more people who choose to work from home than before. The advantages of this are many including avoiding the morning and evening rush hours, being able to spend time with your children and significant others, and doing everything on your own time. Despite the many pitfalls, one that I will focus on in this article is setting up a secure wireless network for your home based business. Currently somewhere out there, there is someone with a receiver waiting to pick up on an unsuspecting person’s wireless local area network. Their hope is to gather some sensitive information that might lead to identity theft, and steal business-owned information.

Most business owners have no technical inclinations, even though they may be strong users, in general security arrangements are not one of the first things they want to play in their daily operations. This makes most wireless LANs a good target for information predators.

Here are some general guidelines for following your wireless network settings. Although it may differ from one vendor to another, the list is more or less the same:

1. Set up the wireless access point / router via a cable client.
2. Always change the factory-set password to something that is difficult for someone to guess.
3. Activate 128-bit WEP (Wired Equivalency Privacy) encryption on your access point and network card. From time to time, change the WEP key entry. If your hardware doesn’t support 128-bit minimum WEP encryption, it might be time to replace this dinosaur. WEP is only a minimum safety precaution, which is better than nothing.
4. Change the factory default SSID on the access point / router to a string that is difficult to guess. Initiate your computer to connect to this configured SSID by default.
5. Set your access point to not broadcast SSID if available.
6. Block anonymous internet requests and pings.
7. P2P connections must be disabled.
8. Enable MAC filtering.
9. Enable the firewall on the network router / access point with the demilitarized zone function disabled. Enable client firewall for every computer on the network.
10. Update the router and access point firmware when an update is available.
11. Make sure the physical router is hidden so that random people cannot reset the settings.
12. Position the physical router near the center of the establishment as opposed to the window to prevent others outside of receiving a signal.

These and other settings will collectively help prevent unwanted interference with your personal data.