The WiFi networks have carved out an important niche in our homes and businesses. They carry with us a few years, but in that time they have become almost indispensable in many daily activities that go beyond Internet connectivity, and also allow us to handle all kinds of gadgets and devices remotely.
Despite its growing importance, many users just pay attention to the configuration of your wireless network. Simply plug in the router and the operator is already, to start navigating. In general, there should be no major problem, but if we do not take some precautions that, an intruder can enter, our network and we cause more than a headache.
Normally it will not be spies or hackers evil as appearing in films that try by all means take advantage of our WiFi to commit crimes, but if any Hayles. Typically, it is a neighbor trying to sneak into our network way to cut the connection, making a responsible step in the first instance of the pages you visit.
How to avoid these unwanted intrusions in our WiFi? For although the total security does not exist (for that would have to turn off the network, of course), we can follow a series of tips and tricks, both simple and more complex, which we explain in this article…
Secure access to your router
First, we need to ensure that anyone outside of us will be able to access the router to control our WiFi. Otherwise, not everything we do will help because they can enter and reverse it or even deny us access to our own network.
Therefore, the first step is to upgrade the router’s firmware to the latest version available to correct potential vulnerabilities that have been identified, a process that depends on each brand and a specific model, and then begin by changing the password default normally It is given by the manufacturer or operator.
Do not let the door to your home hub opens with the classic 1234/1234 or admin / admin. Search a username and a personalized password that you remember well or you can leave pointed somewhere you know in case you forget.
It may also be useful to change the default IP address of the router. Normally usually 192.168.1.1, first figures that every avid user of pirating your WiFi typed in your browser. By simply changing the last digit, you can achieve delay or roll back the less experienced hackers or that neighbor freeloader who wants to take advantage of your connection.
Rename the SSID
The SSID (Service Set Identifier) or wireless network identifier serves precisely for that, to identify among many others. Typically, the default is given by the operator that provides the router, sometimes showing more information than they should on the type of router you have and its potential vulnerabilities.
Ideally, we use a simple name to remember or find him a personal relationship but that does not refer to us directly or our home. We can be as creative as we want, even completely hide the SSID if your router allows or create several different access permissions for guests.
However, never put our name, nick or physical address (WiFi 4th B) or email (yes, it seems absurd but it happens) because we will be giving unnecessary clues about who the network.
Choose the best encryption system and change the default password
A basic aspect of security in wireless networks is the encryption of data to be transmitted by them. There are mainly three different systems or protocols that can be found in most modern routers: WEP, WPA, and WPA2.
WEP is the most basic of the three, provides encryption level 2 and outdated to be able to break the protection device with a computer or medium power within minutes. The next option is WPA, born just like the most obvious solution to vulnerabilities of WEP. Their stands for something like “Protected Access Wi-Fi” and is a system much more secure against attacks by passwords not being so limited in the number of characters that can be entered.
Finally we WPA2, WPA developments and offers the highest protection of the three level. Whenever we can we choose, but we must be careful that all computers in the network support (older may not be compatible) or may otherwise not communicate.
Of course, we choose whom we choose, we must put a key complex enough so that no one can or, at least, is comfortable assault by brute force, but it us relatively easy to remember, especially if we want to use new devices that often require the insertion of the key when connecting for the first time. Nor is it more changes this password from time to time to prevent possible intrusions with brute force attacks.
Use MAC filtering
Another security measure that may be useful called MAC filtering (not try not to let computers connect to Apple, no). The MAC addresses or also called physical addresses are assigned to each network card recorded directly on your hardware and that uniquely identify the rest. It is something like an IP address but lower level and is used only within the same subnet.
It consists of 48 bits and is represented in 6 groups of hexadecimal numbers separated by colons or dashes. It is something like this: 01: 23: 45: 67: 89: AB or expressed as 01-23-45-67-89-AB.
Where do I find it? It depends on the device and operating system we use. Even in some gadgets, we can see on a sticker on the box or the device itself. In this article, you have several examples of where and how to look.
MAC filtering will be to create a kind of list of allowed network equipment to connect to our WiFi. To do this we enter the appropriate option in the router and enter the addresses we want to allow our network. Depending on the model, we can also make blacklists of blocked computers, preventing access to devices that are know for sure intruders or freeloaders of our WiFi. In this article, you have more details on how to properly perform this MAC filtering with a specific case.
Reduce ranges allowed IP addresses
If we will always have the same equipment connected to the network, we can use the option to disable automatic operation of the DHCP service (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) on the router that is responsible for assigning IP addresses to each computer connected to the network.
This will force us to have to configure the settings manually on all devices we have at home, but can provide a degree of safety. We can also play with the range of allowed IP addresses and restrict it to the values we want to avoid many remaining free addresses.
It is very easy to do. You just have to search the router option within the LAN configuration in which put something like Start IP Address / End IP Address and then specify the desired values (e.g. from 192.168.1.33 to 192.168.1.35, the that would allow us to connect three computers to the network). If the router also allows us to change the validity period of this assignment, we can also tell a very high figure and thus leave no available for an intruder, as they will not be free holes.
It limits the transmission power of the antennas
It may seem obvious, but it is the most effective method to prevent intrusion or unauthorized use of your wireless network. If the signal fails, hardly anyone can locate your network and much less connect to it.
Most routers allow somehow manage the power emitted by the antennas and thus handle the radio network coverage approximately. Typically, we meet with some option in which we are permitted to vary the percentage of signal level or the transmitted power.
Here we must try to lower the intensity to keep us can connect to the network inside the house, but the power to decay much out of it. We can go by checking simply moving with mobile home and around and seeing what we have WiFi coverage.
How much do I reduce it? For everything, you can while you no harm do not even cut the connection. It may also help orient the antennas on the router, if it allows us to do, into the house for maximum power in and output the least possible outwards and as if we are somewhat paranoid use some metallic reflector to modify the energy beam direction or even use some type of anti-radiation point electromagnetic in one of the walls where we do not want to leave the WiFi signal.
Although total security does not exist , following the simple tips discussed above can maintain a good degree of privacy on your wireless network that sure will back to most neighbors and potential spies. What steps have to follow? Here is a summary:
- Secure access to your router by changing passwords and default IP address
- Rename the SSID or hide it completely
- Choose the WPA encryption system or even better WPA2 and long alphanumeric calve
- Use MAC filtering and creates a list of allowed computers on your network
- Reduces IP address ranges supported on your local network
- It limits the transmission power of the antennas to the outside of house
If the WiFi is not going well, repositions your router
James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879) never saw a WiFi router in his life. That would have had to wait more than a century and probably much earlier had discovered the enormous implications that have for decades their discoveries in the field of electromagnetic radiation.
In particular, of course, his equations those formulated in 1865 as part of its “A dynamical theory of the electromagnetic field.” Among many (many) things, these equations allow us to find out why almost mundane subjects. For example, explain why reposition the WiFi router at home can mean the difference between a good or a bad reception.
Maxwell’s equations, more useful than ever
That discovery showed among other things that light is a form of electromagnetic wave, and although solving the equations by hand was a real torture, an algorithm discovered in the 60s and reformulation in the 80 allowed capitalize on the growing power of computers to obtain surprising conclusions.
It is what he did, for example, Jason Cole, a doctoral student at Imperial College in London, who had the singular idea of applying all these elements to try to improve the reception of the WiFi signal on your floor. Therefore, in addition, from your smartphone, thanks to advances in recent years is already able to respond to some equations that until not too long ago were all a computational challenge.
Cole applied his knowledge and simulated the behavior of a WiFi signal. A current oscillating at 2.4 GHz generates the electromagnetic radiation emitted by the antenna of our wireless router, and that is precisely what simulated in a small program to your smartphone this doctoral student prior establishment of a small plane distribution your floor.
A revealing simulation
When performing the simulation could reproduce how the WiFi signal is propagated by the router was moving from one place to another, something that allowed him to obtain the best position for that device.
Also verified other physical phenomena and expected behaviors that radiation: for example, that the waves travel much better in open spaces through the walls, or that some waves seem to stop changing and “flash” in the same places. Old acquaintances, of course: it is the so – called standing waves, which overlaps the WiFi reflection and makes the reflected wave and cancel each other.
If reception is poor in a particular position, even a slight change in the position of the router can produce significant improvements in signal strength.
This interesting result generated much interest among his acquaintances, which ended up causing this doctoral student’s just offering its simulation system in the form of application for Android devices. This application already has tens of thousands of -and downloads eye, is paid.
The message remains clear: electromagnetic waves are not only fascinating, mathematically elegant and extremely useful, but they can make your life easier, your Internet connection stronger, and can even earn you some money.