Learn more about your security options for a wireless Internet connection.
About Protecting Your Network
Computers can connect over wireless networks at a range of several hundred feet. When your network is unprotected, people can access and use it. To protect yourself, we recommend configuring your security settings as part of the initial installation. In most cases, your setup wizard or installation CD will guide you through the steps to establish your security settings. You can also log into your router directly at any time to configure your security settings.
WEP is a security protocol for wireless networks that encrypts transmitted data. It's easy to configure, but it’s also not difficult to crack. Using WEP reduces performance slightly.
WEP has three settings:
- Off (no security)
- 64-bit (weak security)
- 128-bit (a bit better security)
If you run a wireless network with only the default security, where WEP is turned off, any of your neighbors can immediately log on to your network and use your Internet connection.
For wireless devices to communicate, all of them must use the same WEP setting. (40-bit and 64-bit WEP encryptions are the same thing — 40-bit devices can communicate with 64-bit devices.)
The WEP concept of passphrase exists so you don’t have to enter complicated strings for keys by hand. The passphrase you enter is converted into complicated keys. Choose passphrases with the same care you would important passwords.
- With 128-bit encryption, you need to enter a passphrase to generate each key.
- All four keys must be specified, because WEP switches between them to make your traffic more difficult to break.
- All devices within your LAN must use the same passphrases (i.e., the same keys).
Configuration steps vary depending on the manufacturer of your router. For detailed configuration steps, please refer to the router's owners manual or manufacturer's website.
A Few Points to Remember When Creating Your Security Settings
- We recommend you enable these wireless security settings from a computer wired to the router.
- Write down your security keys and put them somewhere you can easily find them. Consider taping them to the back of your router. If you can’t remember them, you won’t be able to make any changes to your network unless you reset the router to the factory defaults.
- After you enable wireless security features on the router, you must configure your wireless computers with matching settings. Your wireless computers won’t be able to connect without them.