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Windows Forums member, walt1019, made the following suggestion in our suggestion box:

Tips on securing home wireless networks could be useful. So many are still using the default settings which are wide open while some just use WEP, MAC filtering or not broadcasting the SSID which offers little to no protection.

This guide will show you how to do the following:

  • Access your router’s administration panel.
  • Secure your wireless network.
  • Secure your router.
  • Disable SSID broadcasting.
  • Connect to a non-broadcasting network.

Why do You Need to Secure Your Home Network?

With an unsecured network, I can get access to your router, PC, private documents, printer, peripheral devices, and can even monitor your instant messaging activity, emails, bank passwords etc. I can also use the internet you pay your hard earned cash for, without paying for it myself. It’s important to protect your home network and this guide will show you how.Note: This guide will show you how to configure your router but may not give specific instructions for your brand/model of router. I got my hand on as many brands of router as possible and provide instructions for:

  • Most D-Link Routers
  • Most Linksys Routers
  • DD-WRT Firmware

Please refer to the manufacturer, of your router’s, support pages for specific instructions on how to access and configure your router:

Access Your Router’s Administration Panel

Unfortunately, I don’t have access to all brands of router but I do have access to the most popular: D-Link, Linksys, and DD-WRT firmware. I realize if you’re using DD-WRT, you probably know everything in this guide and much more, but if you happened to inherit a DD-WRT router or want to double check yourself, this guide should help. If you are not using a D-Link, Linksys, or DD-WRT router, you should scroll up and go to the support page for your router.

D-Link

To access your D-Link’s administration panel:

  1. Connect to the network either by connecting via Ethernet or by connecting to the wireless network.
  2. Open a browser (Internet Explorer usually works best but all browsers should work.)
  3. Go to
  4. The default username is “admin” with a blank password.

You are now into the administration panel. If the username and password combination doesn’t work, I suggest you reset your router by pressing the reset button with a small pin for 10 seconds while the router is powered on. If “admin” still doesn’t work, please visit this site to find the default password for your model.

Linksys

To access your Linksys’ administration panel:

  1. Connect to the network either by connecting via Ethernet or by connecting to the wireless network.
  2. Open a browser (Internet Explorer usually works best but all browsers should work.)
  3. Go to
  4. The default username is left blank with “admin” for the password.

You are now into the administration panel. If the username and password combination doesn’t work, I suggest you reset your router by pressing the reset button with a small pin for 10 seconds while the router is powered on. If the username and password combination still doesn’t work, please visit this site to find the default password for your model.

DD-WRT

To access the administration panel of your router running DD-WRT:

  1. Connect to the network either by connecting via Ethernet or by connecting to the wireless network.
  2. Open a browser (Internet Explorer usually works best but all browsers should work.)
  3. Go to (if this doesn’t work, try or go to the support site of your router to find the router’s address.)
  4. The default username is “root”. The default password for your model can be found here.

You are now into the administration panel. If the username and password combination doesn’t work, I suggest you reset your router by pressing the reset button with a small pin for 10 seconds while the router is powered on. If the username and password combination still doesn’t work, please visit this site to find the default password for your model.

Secure Your Router

As we saw above, if you are connected to your network (via Ethernet or Wireless), you can access your router’s administration panel and, from there, can lock the rightful owner out (until they reset the router, which is a pain!) The first thing you’ll want to do is secure your router by changing the administrator’s password and, if available, the administrator’s username.

D-Link

To change the default password for your D-Link router:

  1. Log in to your router.
  2. Click the Admin tab in the left-hand menu.
  3. Click the Tools tab on the top menu.
  4. Under Administrator, type a new password and click Apply.

Wireless network security 02

Linksys

To change the default password for your Linksys router:

  1. Log in to your router.
  2. Click the Administration tab on the top menu.
  3. On the Management tab, type a new password and click Apply.

Wireless network security 05

DD-WRT

To change the default password for your DD-WRT firmware router:

  1. Log in to your router.
  2. Click the Administration tab on the top menu.
  3. On the Management tab, type a new username (optional) and password and click Apply.

Wireless network security 08

Secure Your Wireless Network & Disable SSID Broadcast

This part of the guide shows you how to secure your network and disable SSID broadcasting (i.e. making your network name available when people search for nearby networks.) While this does make your network more obscure, there’s plenty of software out there that will sniff out non-broadcasting networks anyway. I broadcast my home network because I often have guests who want to connect and it’s a lot easier when they can see it but you may want to obscure your network by following the steps below.

D-Link

To secure your wireless network and disable SSID broadcast for your D-Link router:

  1. Log in to your router.
  2. Click the Wireless tab in the left-hand menu.
  3. Click the Home tab on the top menu.
  4. (Optional) Change the default Channel (helps if you have neighbors who are all using Channel 6 as well.)
  5. Change SSID Broadcast to Disabled.
  6. Choose WPA-PSK security (if your router gives you the option, look for WPA2-PSK.)
  7. Type a strong Password and click Apply.

Wireless network security 01

Linksys

To secure your wireless network and disable SSID broadcast for your Linksys router:

  1. Log in to your router.
  2. Click the Wireless tab in the top menu.
  3. On the Basic Wireless Settings tab on the top menu set the following settings:
    • (Optional) Change the Wireless Channel (helps if you have neighbors who are all using Channel 6 as well.)
    • Set Wireless SSID Broadcast to Disable.

      Wireless network security 03

  4. Save your settings.
  5. Click the Wireless Securitytab on the top menu set the following settings:
    • Choose WPA2 Pre-Shared Key Only security.
    • For WPA Algorithms, select AES.
    • Type a strong Password and save your settings.

      Wireless network security 04

DD-WRTTo secure your wireless network and disable SSID broadcast for your DD-WRT firmware router:

  1. Log in to your router.
  2. Click the Wireless tab in the top menu.
  3. On the Basic Settingstab on the top menu set the following settings:
    • (Optional) Change the Wireless Channel (helps if you have neighbors who are all using Channel 6 as well.)
    • Set Wireless SSID Broadcast to Disable.

      Wireless network security 06

  4. Save your settings.
  5. Click the Wireless Securitytab on the top menu set the following settings:
    • Choose WPA2 Pre-Shared Key Only security.
    • For WPA Algorithms, select TKIP+AES.
    • Type a strong Password and save your settings.

      Wireless network security 07

Connect to a Non-broadcasting NetworkIf you connect your computer to your router wirelessly, you should follow these instructions. If you connect your computer to your router via an Ethernet cable, you do not need to take any action–by plugging in your computer via the Ethernet cable, you’ll be connected to the network.To connect to a non-broadcasting network, in Windows 7:

  1. Click the network icon in the system tray and click Open Network and Sharing Center.

    Wireless network security 09

  2. In the left-hand menu of the Network and Sharing Center, click Manage wireless networks.

    Wireless network security 10

  3. Click Add.

    Wireless network security 11

  4. Click Manually create a network profile.

    Wireless network security 12

  5. Type in the network name (SSID), select the security type (what you set above your router), and enter the key.

Wireless network security 13

Your network is now added and your PC will connect to it when it is in range.

 

Wireless network security 14

What Did I miss?

What security precautions do you take on your wireless network? Do you use MAC filtering or find a good password and non-broadcast is secure enough? Let us know in the comments.



About Rich

Rich is the owner and creator of Windows Guides; he spends his time breaking things on his PC so he can write how-to guides to fix the problems he creates.

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Comments

  • Lakrut

    I use mac filtering since I heard that all kinds of security mode could be easily broken.


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