Safe Connections in a Wireless World

By Lucy Walker  |  Updated February 22, 2017  |  Other | 

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How do wireless networks work?                                                          

As mentioned above, wireless networks connect to the Internet without using any wires whatsoever. To do so, they have to convert information signals into a form that is suitable for transmission through an air medium. So, if you’ve ever been to the coffee shop next door, an airport, a hotel, or any other public internet space, you were basically right in the middle of the wireless network. There are also other forms of wireless networking called Wi-Fi (or 802.11 networking) which is most commonly used to connect to the internet at home, or any other place that gives you access to their wireless internet for free.

Building a wireless network at home

If you already have several devices in your home that are all networked together, it would be a great idea for you to create a wireless network with a wireless access point. BUT, if your computers aren’t connected, you’ll have to add a wireless router. Along with the router, you also get all the necessary features: a port to connect to your cable or DSL modem, a router, an Ethernet hub, a firewall, and a wireless access point. With this router, you’ll be able to use wireless signals for up to about 100 feet (30.05 meters) in all directions. This connection is beneficial, quite reliable, and virtually invisible.

To summarize how it works:

1. Your PC’s wireless adapter translates data into a radio signal and then transmits it using an antenna.

2. A wireless router receives the signal and decodes it, and then the router sends the information to the Internet by using a physical Ethernet connection.

Now, let’s talk about your safety

Security is one of the main things you should be concerned about when using wireless devices because anyone who has an internet connection (and the know-how) can easily access your network without you even knowing. Most people keep all strangers out of their network in order to protect themselves, but it’s up to you to choose whether or not you want to make your router an open hotspot, meaning that anyone who has a wireless card will be able to use your signal. Or, you can add a password for added security purposes.

What else can you do to protect yourself?

Change your settings! By making a minor change in your router settings, you can improve your internet security. Set it to keep the router from responding to IP requests from remote users, blocking WAN requests. Or, you can simply set a limit to the number of devices that are able to connect to your router. If you want to be the only one that’s able to change the settings, the most important thing is to set the option to where only computers that are directly connected to your router can make network changes.

NOTE that choosing a stronger password and setting the Service Set Identifier (SSID - your network name), you can make it harder for hackers to easily reveal your router details.

Do you ever think about the safety of your wireless network?

Now that you know, do you think these tips will come in handy?

What kind of prevention do you use to protect your online security?