Wireless SSID Broadcast

Discussion in 'Cisco/Linksys Wireless Routers' started by tobriant, Sep 10, 2004.

  1. tobriant

    tobriant Network Guru Member

    Being a newbie, I'm confused by something. Right now my WRT54G router is to enable the wireless ssid broadcast. I assume if you didn't want your neighbors to see your ssid out in the airwaves, this could be disabled. But if I disable it, how do MY wireless machines see it?

    I have (at least) two neighbors who have wireless routers. I know because my wireless machine detects them. One is encrypted; the other is straight out of the box (ssid is still linksys). I have put WEP encryption in place, and changed the password on the router. But, I figured if others couldn't see my ssid, they would wouldn't even know I was here.

    Have I misunderstood what the broadcast means or am I just missing how to connect my wireless machines even when I don't broadcast the ssid?
  2. FDM80

    FDM80 Network Guru Member

    Disabling SSID Broadcast does not hide your wireless network. If your neighbors know how, they can spot any wifi network they want, regardless of if the SSID is broadcast (you have to have the right tools to see them). Disabling of SSID broadcast is not a legitimate protection (it's not a protection at all as a matter of fact).

    Also WEP will protect you but only if you keep on changing the keys often. If you have the hardware, use WPA. If you are stuck with WEP, then I would maybe considering running a tinyPEAP firmware (www.tinypeap.com)to harden WEP so essentially your network can't be sniffed. WEP does provide protection, but only up until another user has sniffed enough data to crack the key. WEP is really only safe until someone legitimately tries to break it. It will stop casual users.

    In order for your machine to see your access point you just have to manually input the SSID instead of having windows automatically find it for you.
  3. tobriant

    tobriant Network Guru Member

    Since I haven't been able to get WPA security working, I'll have to stick with WEP for now.

    Is MAC filtering a more secure way to prevent unauthorized access? What I understand that to be is I can plug in the valid MAC addresses, and the router will reject any not found in the list.

    Thanks for the counsel.
  4. FDM80

    FDM80 Network Guru Member

    MAC filtering is also not a very good security measure. MAC addresses can be spoofed. Heck, even the router has the ability to spoof it's own mac address as well. I'd say the easiest road to you securing your network and still use WEP is to use tinyPEAP and run the network with WEP+PEAP authentication.
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