Step-by-step Setup Guide To A Secure Home Wi-Fi Network
based on a Linksys WRT54G router
First version: 04.28.2004 | This revision: 02.27.2005 (GMT+8)
Wireless is Freedom, or so the marketing babble goes, but the basic wireless network is insecure - your unfriendly neighbors can piggy-back your signal that extends beyond the boundaries of your residence and at the least surf the Internet at your expense. In this example, we shall go through the necessary steps to setting up a secure wireless network with a Windows XP wireless computer and a Linksys WRT54G wireless broadband router using DSL/PPPoE to connect to the Internet. Once you understand the concept of a secure wireless network, you can apply it to any brand of wireless routers with similar setup.
|1.||Read the instructions accompanying WRT54G and physically connect it to the broadband modem. Connect one computer to the router using a LAN cable.||Do not attempt to connect anything by wireless at this time.|
Power up WRT54G by connecting it to
the power supply. When the red
DIAG light goes off, open an Internet browser window and go to
http://192.168.1.1/ and press
ENTER. When presented with a logon screen, enter
admin in the Password box (no need for
user name). Click OK to continue.
Once inside the router setup, go
directly to Administration | Management section.
Change the Router Password to something more unique.
Click [Save Settings] button at the bottom of the screen (not visible in the image) to save the change. Use the new password to login again when the above screen appears again.
|All Linksys routers use the same "admin" password, so it is not secure.|
Go to Wireless | Wireless
Security. Notice wireless security is disabled by out
of the box.
Enable wireless security by changing to one of these two encryption choices: WEP or WPA Pre-Shared Key.
To configure WEP, see step 5a; for WPA Pre-Shared Key, see step 5b.
|The other available encryption choices require additional hardware/software support not available to the average home user.|
a) WEP setup
||Passphrase can be anything, but nowadays it is recommended not to use every day words or words from dictionaries.|
b) WPA setup
There you have it!
Your wireless router and network are now secure, but still more
to be done.
|The WPA Key should be at long as possible, and not using words from dictionaries.|
Go to Wireless | Basic Wireless
Change the Wireless Network Name (SSID) to something unique. We will use WRT54G as our network's SSID in this example.
Change the Wireless SSID
Channel at this time if desired (but not necessary).
The default SSID is
linksys, not very unique and easy to find if neigbours are
using the same SSID.
Despite advices from experts and advanced users, disabling SSID Broadcast does not improve wireless security and can lead to connectivity issues.
Go to Setup | Basic Setup.
Change connection type to match that of the Internet Service Provider (example: DSL using PPPoE).
Change the value in Maximum Number of DHCP Users to something smaller, preferrably same as the total number of wired and wireless computers on the network.
Make any additional changes to
connection settings at this time if necessary, e.g., Connect
|Limit the number of computers on a network also helps prevent unwanted neighbours from connecting to it.|
Go to Status | Router.
Click [Connect] to test Internet connection configuration. If connected successfully, the page will display IP address and other information about the connection.
Congratulations! You have
Internet access. Connection will be shared between all
connected computers through their network connections.
Install the wireless network card
according to the manufacturer's instructions.
(skip this step if it is installed already)
Locate the Wireless Network
Connection icon in System Tray (where Windows clock is).
Right click the icon and select View Available Wireless Networks.
The screens below list the available wireless networks (and their SSIDs) detected by the wireless card in the vicinity.
We shall be connecting to WRT54G we created earlier in this example (step 6).
a) Pre-Service Pack 2
Enter the WEP Key 3 (or WPA Key) from the router in the Network Key box and repeat in the box below to confirm.
Untick the option Enable IEEE 802.1x authentication for this network if available.
b) Service Pack 2
To confirm connection, double click
the Wireless Network Connection icon in System Tray.
Go to Support tab/page to verify IP address (192.168.1.nnn) and other information.
Finally, test the whole setup by
access the Internet.
|Related Topics (may open in a new window)|
|Connect To An Encrypted Wi-Fi Network With A Hidden ESSID/SSID|
|Wi-Fi Networking FAQ|
|Windows XP Wireless Zero Configuration/Wireless Networks Troubleshooting|
|Juggle Wi-Fi At Work And Home|
|Wireless Security WPA Step-by-step|
Dell TrueMobile WLAN Card User's Guide
(includes example of ad-hoc wireless network setup instructions)
|Tom's Networking Wireless Network NTK|
|Wireless Networking Basics|
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