[I thought setting up a wireless network was fairly easy. Most of the time when it comes to setting up things for me, the instructions are never even needed at all.
I purchased a NETGEAR Wireless Router (WGR614 v4) today. The guy at Best Buy said it was just as good as a Linksys and talked me into getting it (they were out of a certain adapter for Linksys for another PC at my house, but Netgear had some in stock). I get it home and unpack it thinking I'll be surfing wireless in no time. WRONG!
First off, the directions on paper, their website, and on the CD that came with it are all different. They all have the directions but written in different order. Apparently I didn't really need the instructions though. On one I am told not to change the SSID name and on the other I am strongly urged to do so. But anyway, I think I have all that pretty much set up, but....]
I can't seem to find out where I set up my wireless connection. Is it supposed to be in My Network Places' properties? All I have is "Local Area Connection" which is enabled but doesn't mention anything about Netgear. And some Network Bridges... 1394 Connection (no clue), and a Network Bridge (no clue also).
I swear there was once a wireless connection option there. I mean this notebook DOES have wireless capability. Can I create a new connection for wireless under the Network Connections?
Thank you. I just found out that my driver wasn't installed. I did that and I was automatically connected (well, I was given networks to choose from first).
But now I'm wondering why I have 2 to 3 other networks than my own to chose from. Could these be people who live in my area? Keep in mind that I live in a brand new subdivision, but it's still out in the country. There's nothing else but corn fields and farms around here. The nearest businesses are about 3 miles away. The other networks that were available were linksys, which I obviously don't have, and 2WIRE583. Another also appeared and then disappeared. Could these be people in my subdivision that are broadcasting their network names [unintentionally]? Could I be doing the same as well? It did tell me that it didn't prefer that I connect to my own network because it was insecure. I have also named my network name the same as my home address. Should I not do that just in case I am broadcasting my network name?
Well, I'd like to make it so that I'm not broadcasting my network name and stop other people from getting in other than the computer in the next room. But I just did something (I don't know what) and now I have a padlock above my Wireless Network Connection icon in Network Connections. I am getting "Enabled, Firewalled." But this still doesn't make me feel 100% safe.
Could these be people in my subdivision that are broadcasting their network names [unintentionally]? Yes, and they have not changed the default names of their networks, nor have they disabled SSID broadcast. They are running insecure wireless networks.
Could I be doing the same as well? Yes, but first get your network set up so it is working, then think about renaming the network (with SSID broadcast still enabled). Once it is working, then you should disable SSID broadcasting. You should also consider enabling MAC filetering and WPA encryption, but again, make sure the networking is working before attempting these. See the following:
It did tell me that it didn't prefer that I connect to my own network because it was insecure. It will continue to do this until you enable the security features on your network. Again, it is OK while you getting things set up.
I have also named my network name the same as my home address. Should I not do that just in case I am broadcasting my network name? It would be best to choose a network name that is not easily guessed.
I have a padlock above my Wireless Network Connection icon in Network Connections. I am getting "Enabled, Firewalled." But this still doesn't make me feel 100% safe. It sounds like you have the Windows XP firewall enabled. This duplicates the firewall on the router and will prevent file and printer sharing on your local network (at least until you have updated to Windows XP SP2, which is coming out in the near future. A firewall, inlcuding the one on your router, will prevent hacker attacks, but you still need the other security features mentioned above, to prevent others from using your wireless internet connection or reading the wireless transmissions as they are broadcast through the air waves. The firewall will no nothing to stop this kind of break in. Note that no wireless network is 100% secure. If someone want to badly enough, they can, with the proper tools and effort, break in to your network. Unless you are transmitting large amounts of sensitive financial information, government secrets, or using your network for criminal activity, there is little incentive for someone to want to break into your network, and thus, such breakins are not very likely. Just as your home, business, or country cannot be made 100% secure, neither can your network.
If you are using XP's built in wireless utility to manage your network then DO NOT turn SSID broadcast off. If you do so then XP may try to connect to your neighbors instead of you...
Turning off SSID doesn't offer that much security (neither does renaming it from the default name, although it's not a bad idea).
You should, however, enable MAC filters on your network. Nearly all wireless routers support this feature. Basically you will enter in the MAC addresses of your wireless cards and then only those cards can connect to your network.
You should also probably enable encryption, either WEP or WPA (if your hardware supports it). Pick the highest level you can (it will create overhead but you won't notice it unless your transfering lots of big files -- which you really shouldn't do over wireless anyway if you can avoid it). This step will also prevent you from getting that 'connecting to an insecure network' warning that microsoft starting generating with Service Pack 1.
These two steps (mac filters and encryption) will offer significant security for your network. They are not foolproof but they will make any attacker devote significant time towards breaking in. If you get these steps working you can try turning SSID broadcast off as well, but it is more likely to cause problems...
Message Edited by NemesisDB on 08-08-2004 11:43 PM
I turned off broadcasting my SSID but I also put myself and no one else in my preferred networks so that way it won't try to connect to other networks automatically. So far it hasn't tried connecting to anyone else. It only shows them if I "view available wireless networks." I do have some more questions though and maybe they can be answered here.
1. How do I know that I'm *not* broadcasting my SSID? I will still show up in my own "wireless network connections" that are available. I mean, I know I unchecked the box that says to broadcast it. Do I just trust that it doesn't?
2. Mac addresses. Is that a MAC address of my computer or my router? Can I find out my MAC address any other way than going into my router's settings (by inserting the setup disk which it came with)?
3. If I am using my MAC address filtering, will I be able to connect another computer in my home to the network using the same MAC address? Do I have to set up the PC wireless adapter with my Dell Inspiron 8600? Will this be a fairly easy process or difficult? I have not tried setting up the wireless adapter for the PC as of yet because I have not had the time to do so yet.
Thank you again for helping a wireless newbie (to anyone who responds).
Message Edited by mr_wilson on 08-09-2004 07:47 PM
Basically every piece of network hardware should have its own unique MAC address. Your router will have one but you do not need to know it (it's probably on a label near the serial number).
Since every network adapter has a unique MAC, you need to input the MACs of all the adapters you wish allowed on your network.
To find out the MAC address of an ethernet or wireless card you can either look for a label on the card that says it, OR you can run cmd, and then type ipconfig /all . The physical address listing is the MAC address.
1. How do I know that I'm *not* broadcasting my SSID? I will still show up in my own "wireless network connections" that are available. I mean, I know I unchecked the box that says to broadcast it. Do I just trust that it doesn't? Get another computer with a wireless card and see if you can see your network. If broadcast of SSID is not enabled, then no one else can see it. If you remove the listing from the Wireless Networks box on your computer, then you will not be able to see your network unless you know the SSID and input it yourself. Obviously, if someone can guess the SSID of your network, they too will be able to find it.
2. Mac addresses. Is that a MAC address of my computer or my router? It is the address of the network card in your computer. It is unique to that network card. Can I find out my MAC address any other way than going into my router's settings (by inserting the setup disk which it came with)? Since the MAC address is not on your router, the only way you can find it, is to run the command prompt (Start > Run, type cmd then click OK) and run ipconfig /all. The physical address of the wireless card is also the MAC address. You can get to all of the settings on your router by using the web based configuration utility. No software other than a web browser is required.
3. If I am using my MAC address filtering, will I be able to connect another computer in my home to the network using the same MAC address? No, each computer has a network card with a uniques MAC address. If you want to connect another computer, you will have to enter the MAC address of that computer into the MAC address filter on the router.
Do I have to set up the PC wireless adapter with my Dell Inspiron 8600? Yes,
Will this be a fairly easy process or difficult? Should be easy.
It will be the same as setting up any other adapter. The same as any other wireless adapter.