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How to Secure a Wireless Router

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Message 101 of 169
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These are great instructions for setting up most wireless routers, although they have little to do with Comcast's routers, as they don't allow for disabling the SSID nor for stronger protection than 128-bit WEP.  Having worked with Wireless routers since they were released, I'm here to tell you that with Windows XP, (doesn't matter which version or SP level,) disabling SSID only causes problems with Windows ability to find the router.  As long as you disable the MAC addressing ability to where only the network cards you have are seen by the router, disable UPnP, and can use WPA protection, you should be fine in most cases.  Unfortunately Comcast still hasn't realised this and **bleep** up the settings pages with the routers with their firmware and don't allow for the WPA protection to work, wheither or not your equipment is capable of it, because their techs are stupid and don't know how to do a simple drop down change to use the protection, since they seem to think that everyone else is incompetent to set up their networks themselves and thus purchase their equipment and need their incompetent techs to go out and do it for you.  (Yes, I do mean incompetent, it took them thus far 20 tries to get my network to where it stays connected 70% of the time in comparison it used to stay connected about 55% of the time.  I still see major drop offs of connectivity and they still can't figure out there is a problem somewhere in the network that's not at my house, even after they run a dedicated line straight to the modem and the modem isn't showing any problems on it's end, nor have the other 5 modems that have been connected to the line.  They also still can't read the news reports as well as Microsoft's website where they tell you that WEP has been cracked for a long while now and is no longer secure nor supported by Microsoft for securing a network.)
 
One more thing, Apples don't have the problems with not being able to find non-broadcasting SSID's that Windows has a problem with.  You will experience many drop outs if you're even able to connect at all when using Windows XP and disabling the SSID.  I've set up hundereds of Wireless networks for people to know for a fact through trial and error that I know what I'm talking about, I've even discussed it ad nauseam with Microsoft themselves about this issue and they tell me they are still aware of it and are still not able to fix the problem as they require it to be able to find the network to connect to it.  Wheither or not you chose to let Windows control the connection or not.  I've used every method there is to keep the connection without enabling the SSID and in every case it would drop the connection, if not immediately then shortly afterwards.  I'm not saying that everyone will have this problem but with all the networks I have connected to that have the ability to disable it, it's happened with and it's well documented across the net as well.
 
As far as WEP goes, I have to change mine every couple days or it gets cracked, but this varies dependant upon location, it doesn't help I live not far away from a truck stop either and can't disable DHCP with the Comcast router either, since they only allow for a maximum of 5 computers to be connected to their network devices and require that it be enabled.
Posted by
Connection Expert

Message 102 of 169
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>>"I'm here to tell you that with Windows XP, (doesn't matter which version or SP level,) disabling SSID only causes problems with Windows ability to find the router."
 
 
 
 
 
Hmmm....... I've had 5 or 6 different makes and models of Routers in past years, and used the built in Window's client to manage the connections.
 
 I  turned off SSID Broadcasting from day one on each and every one of them, and never once had a problem associating with, or staying connected to these WAP's.
 
 
 
I am curious as to why you would continue to use the Comcast Home Networking package ?

Message Edited by EG on 11-01-2006 06:52 PM




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Message 103 of 169
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When buying a Wireless Router for home use, are the right kind of security features: 64/128-bit WEP, WPA, ironclad 802.1x authentication via a RADIUS server. These are features are on the D-Link DI-624 router are they good enough for portecting a simple home network?
 
this the first router I ever thought buying and any help with geting my computers connected to the net would be great.
Posted by
Email Expert

Message 104 of 169
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WPA is the authentication mechanism you want to use. WEP is easily broken, and RADIUS requires a separate authentication server on your network (this option is mainly for businesses -- it allows them to use the same accounts for wireless authentication as they use for their server logins).



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Posted by
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Message 105 of 169
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A BIG THANKS for this information. I see alot of differences mentioned when users were "upgrading" to XP. Any concerns arose since Vista's introduction? Wireless client configuration still simliar? This forum has been a great help, much appreciated!Smiley Happy
Posted by
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Message 106 of 169
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I can't speak for Vista personally, I haven't had the opportunity to install a wireless adapter on my Vista setup.  However, from the looks of the wired network properties dialog, I'd guess it was pretty much the same.  XP had a nice wireless network setup wizard that worked reasonably well, and most manufacturers had installs that worked as well as long as the user didn't cause their own problems.  I might get a wireless card next weekend and give it a try and maybe update the top post with Vista instructions and tips.  Of course it will all depend on the weather.  If it's nice again, it might be time to get the Harley fired up and have its first bath of the year Smiley Happy



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Posted by
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Message 107 of 169
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Baric wrote:
it might be time to get the Harley fired up and have its first bath of the year Smiley Happy



The bath is done here....just waitin for the rain to stop now!
Posted by
Networking Expert

Message 108 of 169
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demusman wrote:

The bath is done here....just waitin for the rain to stop now!


I shoudn't have said anything, because now it's snowing outside, with about 4-5 inches of very wet, heavy snow.  Sigh...



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Message 109 of 169
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Great job....I've been reading everything I can get my hands on!!
 
Question: I have another program "NETWORK MAGIC" that allows me to momitor my network conections, speeds etc.
 
When I have the WPA security in place on my wireless computers then this program "NETWORK MAGIC" no longer sees the connection with my wired master computer.
 
Is there some way to do WPA on the wired computers? Maybe I'm asking the impossible.
Posted by
Connection Expert

Message 110 of 169
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WEP and WPA are *wireless* security encryption schemes and do not apply to, nor are they necessary for *wired* networking.

Message Edited by EG on 06-29-2007 12:57 AM




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Message 111 of 169
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That was what I suspected Thanks and thanks for the how to on security!!
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Message 112 of 169
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Thanks Baric. This all I nedd.

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Message 113 of 169
21,264 Views
what do you suggest if the page at http://192.168.1.1/ is blank?   It is blank on every computer Smiley Sad
Posted by
Connection Expert

Message 114 of 169
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What is the make and model  # of your router ?



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Message 115 of 169
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Wow! Thanks much for all the information. I have a wireless router on it's way and have been told that setting up my network could be a nightmare. I have a desktop I am using, and a laptop I'd love to use wirelessly... as it is if I want to use my wonderful laptop I have to plug in the ethernet and have comcast re-set the modem, then I have to unplug it, re-plug the desktop and have them reset it again. I can't find my reset button on the modem or I'd do it myself. I have never used a wireless router (this one is specificly for use with cable/dsl/broadband modems and is a lynksys) or configured a network before and am trying to collect all the help and tips I can before it comes (hopefully Monday). Your information is going to come in handy!
Trish
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Message 116 of 169
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Hi again
Quick question. Is it possible to make my wireless laptop connection to be the main computer? Just wondering, since the desktop that has my comcast connection belongs to my teenagers. I have a new wireless router coming and I would prefer to be able to have all the "control" from my personal laptop that the kids can't mess with.
Thanks
Trish
Posted by
Email Expert

Message 117 of 169
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You restrict access to managing the router with a username and password, it has nothing to do with which computer you're coming from.



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Posted by
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Message 118 of 169
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In the original post, Baric indicated:
 
"XP Wireless Client Configuration
(Stay tuned for the the wireless client setup for XP, it will be a little delayed due to a faulty power supply)."
 
I know you aren't around as often...but it's taking a really long time to get that XP box up and running...or did I miss something?  Did this info get posted elsewhere?  Or did you change your mind about eventually filling this in?



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Posted by
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Message 119 of 169
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I haven't seen Baric around here in months.  You might want to email him, and jerk his chain. Smiley Happy
Posted by
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Message 120 of 169
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In the absence of any further Windows client configuration direction from Baric, readers of this thread may find the following link to a Microsoft Technet article helpful:
 
 
To some extent it may be info overkill.  But the sections on "Configuring the Windows XP Wireless Clients" cover the various options and methods to get the client up, running and secured.  That info can be used as an adjunct to the router configuration info already provided here.  There's a specific section on how to follow the WPA-PSK and TKIP configuration suggested by Baric.  It also covers WEP and WPA2, and explains the relative advantages and disadvantages of each.



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Posted by
Visitor
Message 121 of 169
21,127 Views
Tried the router reconfiguration site 10 times, will not come up
Posted by
Visitor
Message 122 of 169
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Help, just got a Belkin with my new laptop and can't get the reconfig page to come up, how did you do it
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Message 123 of 169
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I am setting up a wireless router and following your excellent instructions. I hit a snag - on instruction #7, enable wireless filtering, when I do my ipconfig /all it gives me two addresses. I do not know which to use:
The first addresses is called Ethernet adapter LAN...... Macphyter PCI adapter physical address, and the next address it lists is called the Ethernet adapter wireless network connection physical address. Which one do I "permit only" per the instructions?
Karen
Posted by
Connection Expert

Message 124 of 169
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Well unfortunately, Baric's whereabouts are currently unknown, but I believe that would be the latter. 



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Posted by
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Message 125 of 169
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Since you're securing your wireless connection, you must use the physical address of the wireless adapter.



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Posted by
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Message 126 of 169
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Note that some wireless routers (the SMC that I have) will apply mac filtering to all connections, both wireless and wired. If your router works this way then you might want to include both mac addresses.
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Message 127 of 169
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Some clarification on the SSID broadcast issue....

Actually, turning off SSID broadcast potentially makes your network LESS secure. (Counter-intuitive, I know - but bear with me)

From what I recall (and I'll post the links below so you can read the original articles rather than my recalled interpretation of them) -- There are 5 types of broadcasts that use the SSID - only one of them is the beacon to announce the network's presence. Turning it off - still leaves the other 4.  If your network is "hidden" by turning off the broadcast, your laptop will continually broadcast a "are you there?" message looking for your home network. There is no way to turn this off. So, if you're sitting in Starbucks - while you are connected to their network (or the free one next door that someone left open) - your computer is still sending out broadcasts looking for your other, hidden network by name. Regularly. Continually. Someone who picks up these messages now knows that your laptop has a preferred connection to a wireless network of a certain name. (which they presumably could spoof) You have just compromised your security. If your home network  broadcasts the SSID,  your computer doesn't need to do this and keeps quiet.

Here's a column by George Ou of ZDnet on this issue and other incorrect WiFi security myths:
http://blogs.zdnet.com/Ou/index.php?p=43

Here's the more technical article that George references:
http://www.icsalabs.com/icsa/docs/html/communities/WLAN/wp_ssid_hiding.pdf

(But still, it's an EXCELLENT post -- I just hope there are still some people who don't bother with such things, so I can jump on an open connection when I need one and there's no "legal" alternative access point!)
Posted by
Networking Expert

Message 128 of 169
20,984 Views
I find this argument utterly unconvincing and well, silly.  And here's why... Yes, you are broadcasting, but others can't see you unless they are running special wireless packet sniffing software.  These folks know who you are and who you're talking to anyway, just not what you're saying, which is the important thing.  It doesn't make you less secure, it just offers no added protection against a knowledgable and determined attacker.  That doesn't really gain them anything, your data is still encrypted, so there's nothing they can do (short of cracking your encryption).  They know you're there, and if they happen to come on you away from your network, they now know the name of your wireless network.  Big deal.  How is that any different from some bozo sitting outside your house with a wireless sniffer, who can also see you transmitting encrypted data back and forth on your network.  This is just so much mumbo jumbo made to scare people, but it's meaningless.

While I'll agree that turning off broadcasting is of debatable value, I think letting you fly under the radar of most clueless and semi-clueless users out there is a good thing.  But I take strong issue with those who say you are LESS secure for turning off SSID broadcasting.  That's nonsense as far as I can see and I have never seen a convincing argument to the contrary.  Now, I'm not great wireless transmission expert, so I'm willing to change my mind, but someone needs to convince me, and with a stronger, more well formed argument that that zd-net article.


Message Edited by Baric on 03-08-2008 12:48 AM



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Posted by
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Message 129 of 169
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I also find the articles misleading. Security is not an absolute, it's a continuum. The harder you make things for an attacker, the more secure you are. Also, multiple security mechanisms should be layered: if one measure doesn't stop the attacker, hopefully the next one will.

For example, he says that MAC address filtering is worthless. I agree that you should not depend on it as your only protection, since it's trivial to spoof. But I see no problem using it alongside other protections like WPA authentication.

Some of the measures we recommend are not going to protect against a determined attacker. But they do a good job protecting you against casual intruders. When my Comcast connection has gone down, I've turned on my wireless network and connected to a neighbor's unprotected WiFi router. If you follow our recommendations, you would not be susceptible to such simple hijacking.



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Posted by
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Message 130 of 169
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Posted by
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Message 131 of 169
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Message 132 of 169
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I just purcahse a laptop. My hubsand and myself were wondeing if i need a router to have wireless at home or will i have problems using the laptop at home. 
Posted by
Connection Expert

Message 133 of 169
20,358 Views
If you desire to have a wireless home network, and the laptop has a wireless adapter, and you don't have a wireless capable router, then yes, you will need one.



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Message 134 of 169
20,230 Views
I agree with everything you say but 1 that is 8. Turn on wireless encryption. Using Mac filtering is good enough by only using it I can assure you no one is getting into your router or your system. I have even had Comcast installers agree on the same thing. One thing you forgot to list is that on wireless your speed is cut in half from using wired to 54m when you turn on and use encryption you again cut that almost half because of compression now you are down to about 36m speed. I have played with this for a number of yrs and have ran many of tests. If you run any of the good speed test with it on and off compared to being hooked wired you will see the difference. Like I said using Mac filtering is good enough there is no way some one can change the Mac address on there wireless device to one you have in your list if they can see it or can they not change there wireless device to ant Mac address they may see coming from any of your wireless devices. I have configured many of routers using factory or other custom firmware and have always use Mac filtering never wireless encryption and not once has any one hacked into anyone's router doing it only that way,
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Message 135 of 169
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N.M. Withdrawn.
Message Edited by EG on 12-23-2009 10:48 AM



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Posted by
Bronze Problem Solver

Message 136 of 169
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EG wrote:
N.M. Withdrawn.
Message Edited by EG on 12-23-2009 10:48 AM

Smiley Wink

Posted by
Connection Expert

Message 137 of 169
20,218 Views
Smiley Wink



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Message 138 of 169
20,154 Views

isn't  UPnP  used for peer to peer tv & bitorrent  I have a wireless router and would like to port forward  this has to do with upnp??     that would be a very popular need for it ????

Posted by
Networking Expert

Message 139 of 169
20,143 Views

UPnP is used by a number of hardware and software components. I do believe that some bittorrent clients will use it if available, although I have no hard info on this.  I think it's a huge security risk and I'm not in favor of allowing just any program to open up holes in my firewall whenever it wants to.  Would it be easier for some?  Probably, but then so would removing your firewall entirely and I think we call all agree that would be a bad idea.

 

Not sure what you mean by peer to peer TV, got a particular system in mind?

 

In the end, it's up to the individual user what settings they decide to use or disable.  They have to evaluate the risk vs. the utility of using a particular feature like UPnP.  Some users may well decide the risk is worth the benefit gain, others may decide it's not.  I'm firmly in the "not" camp at this time.




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Posted by
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Message 140 of 169
20,124 Views

Thank you.. Good job!

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Message 141 of 169
20,202 Views

Baric, Do u send personal emails to people, such as myself, i am new at routers and such

 

but i have a few questions, If i may email you, then i will send u my email address , newbie.

 

Thanks much.

Posted by
Email Expert

Message 142 of 169
20,193 Views

Baric hasn't logged into the forums in a week, so sending just to him may not be the best way to get an answer.

 

Please start a forum thread with your questions. There are a number of us who can answer them.




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Message 143 of 169
20,127 Views

I have home wireless. I want to set up a home office in another room with another computer. What, if anything, do I need to do to get Internet service on my new computer?

 

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Message 144 of 169
20,125 Views

Please respond!

 

Posted by
Connection Expert

Message 145 of 169
20,121 Views

Need a little more info here.

Do you subscribe to the comcast Home Networking service  where they take care of everything like this for you?

or

Do you just have the normal High speed internet service?

If the latter is the case.

you have to buy a Wireless router or get the Free Wireless Router from Comcast.

Once you have the Router:

  1. Power the Modem off
  2. Disconnect the Computer from the Modem
  3. Use an ethernet cable to connect the Router WAN Jack to the Modem.
  4. Power up the Modem and let it stabilize
  5. Power up the Router and let it stabilize
  6. Use another cable to connect the PC to one of the LAN jacks on the Router

Once you get the wired part of your network running as above, then Fire up your Wireless Laptop and let it connect wirelessly to the router.  You should see an icon pop up on the lower Right corner of the screen (taskbar) showing you are connected

Or you can open your browser and see if you can surf.

If you can surf, thenfo back to Barics Thread to set up Encryption to keep your neighbors from using your Wireless router to get free access to the internet.

Once you are able to surf and are all set up , move your laptop out to the Room where you will normally use it and give it a try.




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Posted by
Email Expert

Message 146 of 169
20,038 Views

Moved to Customer Service, since this has nothing to do with configuring router security.

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Message 147 of 169
18,941 Views

I would like to order a wireless router

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Message 148 of 169
18,939 Views

I was told I could order awireless router on line.

Posted by
Connection Expert

Message 149 of 169
18,937 Views

Click the link below for info;

 

No longer valid link removed.

 

 




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Message 150 of 169
18,778 Views

I ordered a wireless modem a few weeks ago and haven't recieved it yet. I have called all the numbers and everyone direct me back to here. What is the problem.? Is there a live person any where that will talk to me htat knows where or why my FREE wireless router has not come. I have been very displease with the service I have recieved so far with this program xfinity.