step by step safeguardng for a home network

Discussion in 'Networking Issues' started by freewilly1, Mar 21, 2006.

  1. freewilly1

    freewilly1 Network Guru Member

    In my three-computer (Win-XP) home net, I have the ubiquitous WRT54G wireless router on my 'base' computer with two other personal computers wirelessly feeding off it. The AP is 'my' personal computer and it uses a commonly available, Linksys cable modem, which is getting Internet from Cox Cable. This modem feeds the above wireless router via wire which is then plugged into the base computer’s Ethernet card. The two client computers are: A new HP laptop with built-in wireless and a 1 yr old (wife’s) HP desktop computer using a common Linksys USB receiver. The system works perfectly, but is configured in (almost) “out of the box†condition.. In other words it’s almost totally hackable by even the most clumsy drive-by sniffer. I’m not trying to guard Fort Knox here, just trying to avoid doing something stupid and/or allowing the preventable.

    The only thing I’ve done so far is to ensure each computer has a working Windows password. And I’ve turned off the SSID ‘broadcast’ function and turned off the Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) function. Also, I’ve loaded the latest firmware (v4.20.7, Aug. 18, 2005) into the router. Obviously, I’ve snooped around in my router’s admin program, even made those modest changes. OK, pretty good so far:

    Naturally I’ve got the manuals on everything but the *&^ WRT54G router; don’t know where it got to.

    The internet/Linksys sources are pretty good about laying out WHAT additional steps should be taken. Generally missing though, is a clear, step-by-step** instruction on HOW to do each modification. Also which additional steps to do first, and any critical sequencing between clients and base units.

    1) I want to know how (exactly) to change my router’s password, currently “adminâ€. I’ll add a user name then, as well.
    2) How (exactly) do I change the SSID (currently linksys) without immediately screwing up the network? Which unit first? My efforts so far have immediately caused the two clients to go dark and lost. They’re back working again now that I retreated to the factory SSID settings
    3) WEP should be enabled, prob at the 128bit level, but who among the three computers gets WEPped first? Passwords involved? Cautions?
    4) MAC setting should be addressed, but how?

    I don’t want to do 3 & 4 until I get 1 & 2 right first. Any help here would be greatly appreciated.
    Bill H
    **e.g. “Go to your base computer first, and open your Linksys administration program, go to the “security†tab, then the “firewall†sub-tab. Now type in â€â€¦..………â€, etc, etc.
  2. kuataneto

    kuataneto Network Guru Member

    WRT54G router manual.

    Have you tryed to get router manual from Linksys support site?.

    Try this link:

    user manual

    and select User Manual (requires Acrobat reader)
    Saveit to disk or print it.


    Go to
    Select support option
    Select Downloads
    Select device WRT54G V4.0
    Select User manual (requires Acrobat reader).
    You can save it to disk or print it.

    - Gabriel
  3. freewilly1

    freewilly1 Network Guru Member

    Thank you Gabriel; downloaded the manual. This will be a good start for me. Bill H
  4. kuataneto

    kuataneto Network Guru Member

    Great!!. Feel free to ask any detail you may need...

  5. freewilly1

    freewilly1 Network Guru Member

    Ok, Gabriel, a detail question: The SSID change in general seems simple. Except accessing the router admin program to do that is an Internet function, URL for mine. When I call up that URL and change the base unit's SSID, the two 'clients' on my network immediatly go off-line; ie off the network. How does one get the clients to look for the 'new' SSID when they've been denied acccess to the 'new' network? This is looking like a carch 22? Thanks in advance. Bill H
  6. kuataneto

    kuataneto Network Guru Member

    OK, once you change SSID in router, you have to go to each client to change wireless network values.

    Go to wireless adapter properties.
    Go to wireless network
    Go to preferred network
    Add new SSID
    Set automatic connection

    It should work inmediately.

    - Gabriel
  7. freewilly1

    freewilly1 Network Guru Member

    Thanks again, Gabriel. It didn’t work at first, Then I remembered that I’d disabled the router’s “SSID broadcast†feature (a good thing to do after ALL setup is complete). After re-enabling this setting, the SSID name change went perfectly.
    Incidentally, before I found this excellent Forum, I’d written to Linksys, asking for the same help in setting up security features. Yesterday they responded providing this fine resource:
  8. kuataneto

    kuataneto Network Guru Member

    OK, keep in touch as needed.....

    - Gabriel
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