How can I make my wireless network more secure?
A wireless network may be unaffected by the walls of your house, allowing you to use your laptop in your garden. However, unless you add security measures, it's technically possible for nearby households to access your broadband connection and see what you're doing online. AOL Broadband will help you to take the steps to increase the security of your home network.
A few simple steps are necessary to help protect your network from unwanted access:
- Ensure that the security features on your modem router are turned on. Security features are often switched off by default.
- When you set up your modem router, you should select a personal name for your network, called an SSID, or network name. If there are a number of networks available in your area, this network name will identify your network as your own. Eg, when connecting a computer to your network, you may also be able to see a neighbour's wireless network. Personalising the name of your wireless network will make it easy to recognise. Make a note of your network name for future reference.
- We recommend that you set up WPA encryption on your modem router. If WPA encryption is unavailable on your modem router or any of your wireless adapters, we recommend that you set up WEP 128-bit encryption instead. Encryption scrambles data as it passes over your network, preventing unauthorised access. You must also set up encryption on each wireless adapter you are using to connect computers to your network. To ensure you have all of the above settings turned on, go to the AOL Easy Installer download page. Find your modem router, and click the Download the easy installer link. This will run the AOL Easy-Installer. Select option 2 from the Go wireless on this computer screen and follow the on-screen instructions.
- If your modem router has wireless capabilities but you do not wish to connect computers wirelessly, you should ensure that this feature is disabled. To turn off wireless networking on your modem router, go to the AOL Easy Installer download page. Find your modem router, and click the Download the easy installer link. This will run the AOL Easy Installer. Select step 1 Set up modem router and when asked if you want to go wireless, select No.
- When using a home network, parents should ensure that Internet Access Controls are installed and activated on all computers linked to that network. This will allow Parental Controls to effectively restrict web usage. Children's internet usage should be supervised at all times.
For added security, all the computers connected to your home network should have up-to-date personal firewalls and anti-virus software installed and enabled. AOL Broadband members can get McAfee® Personal Firewall Plus software at no extra cost.