Accessing the internet wirelessly at home is very convenient, but securing your router and wireless connection is very important. Not doing so could allow unknown people to gain access to your network. Here is a basic tutorial on how to setup and secure your wireless network. First, you'll need to find out which type of internet connection is installed at your premises (Static/DHCP/PPPoE). Do this by right-clicking on the network icon (system tray) and selecting ‘Open Network and Sharing Center’. Click ‘Change adapter settings’, right-click on the connected adapter and choose ‘Properties’. Double click ‘Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)’ and note down all the entries mentioned there (such as IP, gateway, and subnet mask). Click on ‘Advanced’ and note down DNS settings.
Note: Some routers need to restart at each page. Make sure you do so before proceeding to the next stage.
Accessing router settings
Once the router is connected, open your browser and enter the following IP in the address bar – ‘192.168.1.1’ to configure it.
Note: If this address doesn’t work, refer to your router manual for the IP address and username. There a handful of routers that have different interfaces and menu systems. Enter the ‘Router username’ and ‘password’ when asked.
STEP 1: Changing the router’s administration password
Click on ‘Administration’ and navigate to ‘Management’. Here enter a new password in the ‘Router password’ field and re-enter to confirm. Save your settings and again login into your router with the new password.
STEP 2: Configuring the Internet or WAN connection
Navigate to ‘Setup | Basic setup’. Here, you will need to change your WAN connection type depending on the type of Internet connection you have (Static IP or Dynamic IP). If your connection uses an automatic IP address, you will need to change the connection type to ‘Automatic Configuration – DHCP’, else you will need to switch to ‘Static IP’ and enter the settings that you jotted down earlier. ‘PPPoE’ users will just need to select the same from the drop down menu and enter the required username and password provided by the provider.
Limiting computers from gaining access
You can limit the number of computers that can access the router. You should be able to view a setting where you can specify the number of users.
STEP 3: Securing your network
Switch to ‘Wireless | Basic Wireless Settings’. Leave the network mode at default settings and enter a name for the router’s wireless network (SSID); this is used to identify your network. Once done, secure your connection with a password. For this, click ‘Wireless Security’ and choose a security mode, preferably ‘WPA2 Personal’ as ‘WEP’ is weaker. Leave the encryption type to the chosen default and enter an 8 to 13 character password. Save your settings and login to the router once again.
Tip: You can choose to disable the SSID from being viewed. This hides your wireless network so nobody can see it. You would need to manually add the SSID name while connecting if you do so.
STEP 4: Enabling the MAC filter
Enabling ‘Wireless MAC Filter’ helps either prevent PCs from accessing the network or let's you permit specific PCs depending on their MAC addresses. To know a PC’s MAC address, right-click on the network icon in the task bar and select ‘Open Network and Sharing Center’. Click on ‘Change adapter settings’, right-click on the wireless adapter and select ‘Status’, and choose ‘Details’. The ‘Physical Address’ that you see is the MAC address.