If you’re like me, then you have a pretty sweet home networking setup — perhaps one that’s more powerful than what’s necessary for the size of your home. You’re blasting the airwaves with a wireless signal from your primary router, and you might even be using an access point to stretch that signal as far as it can possibly go to ensure you’ve always got coverage.
Here’s the thing: if your signal is strong enough, there’s a good chance it’s going to pass right through the walls of your house…and keep on going. All your neighbors are going to see that your wireless network has the strongest signal they can connect their devices to. And if you’ve left your wireless network completely open — even though I’ve repeatedly advised against it — that’s the network that their devices will try to connect to by default.
So what’s a good neighbor — and a smart wireless network administrator — to do?
First, slap a password on your wireless network to ensure that only trusted devices can surf the Web using your Wi-Fi signal. Do this by accessing your D-Link® router’s Web configuration menu and adding a password via its Wireless Settings menu. There’s no reason you should be sharing the bandwidth you pay for with users you haven’t shared your password with, especially since the actions of such users can potentially get you into trouble. And don’t even get me started about the security risks to your data.
Hide your network
You should also make sure your powerful network(s) don’t show up in your neighbors’ lists of potential connection options. D-Link routers make this a cinch. In your router’s Web configuration menu, hit up your wireless network settings and look for an option related to the “Visibility Status” of your wireless network. Flip the switch to “Invisible” and your router won’t automatically blast your network’s SSID onto the airwaves.
You’ll now have to know this SSID when it comes time to wirelessly connect new devices to your network, but your network’s name won’t automatically jump to the top of your neighbors’ lists of available networks. They won’t even know it’s there — which is a lot more effective way to be a good networking neighbor than naming your wireless network “Keep Out!” and hoping for the best.
To stick with the theme of making the most of your wireless network, in the next post we’ll show you can bring the power of super-speedy wireless networking to any laptop using a device no bigger than a flash drive.