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Wireless Security Guide

A guide to keeping wireless networks secure.

If you have a wireless network, it is important to keep it secure. This will allow you to ensure that only certain computers can access your network. These simple guidelines should help you to create a safe and secure wireless network.

Plan the location of your wireless base unit
You should make sure that your wireless base unit is in the centre of your home or office. This gives you maximum coverage within your building and also ensures that as little of the signal as possible 'leaks' outside. This is a good start but you will need to take further measures to secure your network.

Use WEP or WPA
WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) and WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) allows you to encrypt the information that is sent over your wireless network. WPA is newer, more powerful technology and solves some of the problems of WEP. WEP can still be useful if you want to connect older wireless adapters that do not support WPA. Many wireless routers come with WEP/WPA disabled so you should enable it as soon as possible.

Hide your wireless network
You can 'hide' your wireless network by hiding your SSID. Your SSID works like a password, so only people that know your SSID can access the network. You'll be able to find more information on how to do this in the instructions that came with your hardware. Be sure to set an SSID that doesn't give away any important information, for example, do not include your name or address.

Restrict access to specific computers
Set up an 'access list' if your wireless hardware allows. This means that only wireless adapters that you specify can connect to your network. An access list usually defines the machines that can access your network by MAC address. You can find out the MAC address of a computer in Windows XP by clicking Start > Run then typing cmd and clicking OK. Now type ipconfig /all to find your MAC address.
Check the instructions that come with your hardware to find out if you can set up access lists.

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