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Secure Your Wireless Network

You have a lot of pictures, documents, and music on your nice working system. Your system is just 1 1/2 years old and it has been running fine. What can happen? Lets take a look.

Like to put your computers, printers, and external hard drives on your local network to share data and access resources not conveniently located to use network cables? A wireless network is one good way to solve your problems. Wireless network uses radio waves with defined frequency range specific for computer networking. It is common for this signal to be carried outside of your premise. Many wireless routers and access points have a range typically to 160 feet. There are more powerful wifi units that can go further. Yes, your data would accessible and worse yet, they could just use your network and Internet access. Intruders look for wireless networks with no or low security settings. They may be sitting in a car in front of your premise or next door to your house, apartment, or office.

What should you do?

When you put in your wireless network, there are cases where manufacturer default setting for the access point and the wireless portion of the wireless router to have no or a very weak security. Also, the broadcast ID signal or SSID (Service Set IDentifier) is also set to be on. You should turn on the wireless security and if it is already on make sure you are using security higher than WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy).

What is the security?

It is basically an encryption of your data before transmitting on your network. There are different types of wireless security that you can enable to safeguard your network. Routers and wireless hardware have the WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) and WPA (WI-FI Protected Access) configurations. These two services are the main security features for a secure wireless connection. WEP provides protection by encrypting the information sent from one point to another over the radio waves. WPA is a certificate program that follows protocol from the Wi-Fi Alliance. It requires user authentication which is encrypted before allowing a client to gain access. WPA is a newer and more powerful form of protection than the older WEP. There are other stronger and newer protocols. A separate article is needed to explain other options. However, WPA will do nicely for most cases.

Would security affect my system performance?

Wireless security causes additional processing for encryption at sending system and decryption at the receiving computer. Also, the stronger the encryption, the more resources it needs. You should get the newer wireless technology with built-in encryption processing chips so that is doesn’t need much of your computer system resources. No matter, you should have the best possible security when using wireless network. In today’s technology, there are fast computers and software that does address these requirements. There are other factors that also effect wireless performance such as range, base speed, and data compression. This would involve separate articles to describe these performance effect parameters. BOTTOM LINE, put a dead bolt on the wireless network.