Friday, December 16, 2005

Setting up a home network

A lot of folks were surprised when I mentioned that I was an IT executive and that I setup a home network on my own.

Actually, I myself was surprised that it was so easy to setup a home network. I thought I would be spending my entire day figuring everything out. But it came out to be a simple process.

The key component in the whole home network puzzle is the router. Plug all your PCs into the device and you are up and running! If you are running a wireless network, and you are damn serious about security or worried that someone is leeching your internet connection, you will find some tips below.

1. Change the admin password immediately. The admin password is normally "admin" and many people know this. So if you don't change it, people can connect and reconfigure your router.

2. Do not broadcast your SSID. The SSID is how people identify your network. If you don't broadcast it, people will have to figure out the SSID themselves to connect.

3. Enable encryption. By enabling encryption you require all clients to enter a complicated string of alphanumeric characters to connect to your network.

4. Limit the number of IP addresses. For example, if you have only 2 PCs in your house, then you can limit the number of IP addresses to 2 or 3. If you specify a higher number, say 5, then it basically means that an extra 3 PCs can connect to your network.

Now if you do not care about other people leeching your internet connection, then tips 2 to 4 can be disregarded. Some people I know do this, especially if they are on leave.


Anonymous PHL said...

Well, I wasn't really surprise but was rather amazed at the extent which your wired (wirless'd) your home network.

For those without a broadband (DSL or Cable Modem) connection, you don't really need a router (unless you want to go wireless), just a second hub or switch will do.

Regarding the SSID, yes you probably shouldn't broadcast but if you have frequent guests that come over and use your network, it might be better to reserve an IP for the specific network card they're using via DHCP.

Encryption is secure but rather slow, so even if you have 802.11g (max 54 mbps) it tends to make it noticably slower. If you're live less populated area, you probably don't need it unless you alway work on confidential files, etc.

9:50 AM  

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