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 The Best Computer The Best Computer Tips and Tricks: Wireless Home Networking

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PostSubject: The Best Computer The Best Computer Tips and Tricks: Wireless Home Networking   Wed 02 Jun 2010, 12:27 pm

The Best Computer The Best Computer Tips and Tricks: Wireless Home
Networking


Fix Connectivity Issues

It sounds crazy,
but 95 percent of all Internet connectivity problems can be solved by
power-cycling both the router and the modem. Turn them both off, and
then turn the modem back on first. Once its "sync" or signal light comes
on, turn on your router. Use Encryption

You've
probably heard this before, but it bears repeating: Always enable your
router's wireless security! Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) encryption is
the oldest (and weakest) form of security; the newer (and stronger)
Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) and WPA-2 are the best protection available
today for home users. Update Your Router's Firmware

All routers include internal read-only chips with embedded instructions
that can be updated by the manufacturer. Router manufacturers generally
update a product's firmware to increase performance as well as to
resolve bugs and security issues, so it's wise to keep your router's
firmware up-to-date. Check the manufacturer's Web site for the latest
updates. Boost Your Wireless Signal

If walls and
distance are causing wireless signal degradation, you can do a few
things to boost it. Move your router to higher ground—the signal
radiates downward. You can also try a signal extender (or repeater),
which boosts the signal. Finally, high-gain antennas will work, but they
only focus the signal in one direction. Change Admin Password


Every router has a well-known default password that's used to
access the router's browser-based configuration page. Most setup
wizards will make you change this password, but not all do. If not, be
sure to change it yourself to prevent unwanted hangers-on from changing
your network's settings. Go Back to Factory Settings

If you've lost or forgotten your router's login credentials, you can
get around this predicament by resetting the router to its factory
settings. Do this by holding down the button on the back of it for 30
seconds. Next, look in the manual for the default user name and
password, and then change them on your router's browser-based
configuration page. Disable SSID Broadcast

Unless
you disable it, your router broadcasts its service set identifier
(SSID)—the name of your network—which allows your neighbors to see (and
attempt to gain access to) your network. Instead, disable broadcasting,
making the network appear as "SSID not broadcast." Access the unnamed
network by typing in the SSID name when prompted. Change the
Default SSID


Change your pre-defined, default SSID—leaving it
as "Linksys," for example, tells the world that you haven't configured
your router, which invites attackers. Filter by MAC Address


Every piece of networking gear includes a unique "fingerprint"
called a media access control, or MAC, address. You can configure your
router to filter connections using these addresses so that only your
computers can connect to your network. Most routers will show you
connected devices, so adding an adapter's MAC address is a one-click
process. Step Up to 5GHz

The majority of today's
networks operate in the crowded 2.4GHz frequency range, which is shared
by microwaves, cordless phones, and other home networks. To avoid
possible interference, many new routers are capable of broadcasting at
5GHz, which has 23 wide-open channels as opposed to 2.4GHz's three
non-overlapping channels. Limit Your Number of DHCP Clients


Most people use their router as a DHCP server; when clients
connect, the router dynamically assigns IP addresses from a large pool
of addresses. Limiting that list to the number of clients in your home,
however, will help prevent interlopers from hopping onto your network.
Use Your Router's Firewall

Two features make most
hardware firewalls more powerful than software firewalls: stateful
packet inspection (SPI) and network address translation (NAT). SPI
examines packets' content and behavior before granting access, and NAT
hides all PCs connected to the router from the Internet, "translating"
their IP addresses into private ones that are unreachable from outside
the firewall. Change Your Channel

Wireless B and G
(and some N) routers operate at the 2.4GHz frequency, which only has
three non-overlapping channels: 1, 6 and 11. By default, your router
will most likely be using one of these channels, and the bad news is so
your neighbors' routers as well. If you experience dropped connections,
sluggish performance or both, a good first step is to switch the
channel. If it's set to channel 1, go to 11. If it's set to 6, try
either 1 or 11 for best results. Let Windows Control Your
Wireless Networks


If a network adapter's software takes
control of your wireless network, it can be difficult to put Windows
back in charge. First, click Start, then Run, then type services.msc.
Scroll down to Wireless Zero Configuration and start the service.
Right-click your wireless connection, select view available networks,
and then click advanced settings on the left. Click the wireless
networks tab, and check "Use Windows to Configure my wireless network
settings." Disable File Sharing in Public

If you're
in a public place with a Net connection, it's a good idea to disable
File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks. In the properties of
your network adapter, uncheck the appropriate box. It's also a good idea
to switch your notebook's wireless radio off if you aren't using it.
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