Why Use Security?
If someone is able to wireless connect to your network from the road, near by parking lot, or adjacent house here are some things to consider. If they use your Internet connection for illegal activity, YOU are liable, not them. Also, once they are on your network, they may be able to open, delete, or change every file on your computers. There is also the possibility that the unauthorized user could spread viruses without them even realizing it.
So What Should I Do?
There are many ways to secure your connection. We are focusing on wireless security, so we will make a simple adjustment to your router. The simplest way to secure your connection is by using WEP (Wireless Encryption Protocol). Before I go any further, many hackers can find ways around this protection. It is not the best choice for large businesses (over 100 employees), but for home and small business users, this will work just fine.
Step 1 (Configure router):
Depending on your router, the specifics of this step will differ. You need to log into your router. This is done by opening your Internet Browser (Internet Explorer, FireFox, Safari, etc.) and putting the IP Address of the router in the address bar (the address bar is where you type web sites such as google.com). This IP address will either be 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.1.1; if you are unsure try both. Once you type the correct one in (and press 'Enter'), a pop-up will ask you for your user name and password. If you have never changed your password, then a default was set for you by the manufacturer. This is not the same user name and password as your computer or Internet Service Provider. If you do not know your default password, find it by clicking here.
Once logged in, look for the wireless section. This is often a button or tab found on the main page. For DLink routers there will be a button on the left menu. Now look for wireless security. For DLink routers it will be on this page. You should see a drop-down-menu. Select WEP (you may also see other choices such as WAP). Depending on your router, you will see some or all of these options. Set them as follows:
Authentication: Open WEP Encryption: 64bit Key Type: Hex Key1: PICK A 10 DIGIT NUMBER
The above 'Key' is your wireless network password. Anyone that uses your wireless connection will need to know it. Normally, you are only required to put it in your computer once and then it will remember it.
Step 2 (Computer Setup):
Now go to your wireless computer and try to connect to the network, it will ask you for the key. Enter it just as you did in the router.
Step 3 (Advanced Security):
If you would like more security then you can change some of the other options in the router. For example, instead of 64bit choose 128bit. Or instead of HEX choose ASCII. All routers are different and offer different levels of security. Basically, going to 128bit requires a longer password so it is harder for others to guess and going to ASCII requires a password with letters, not just numbers, so there are more possible passwords. You can change this around as much as you like and I do suggest changing to either 128bit or ASCII.
Note: For more information contact the manufacturer of the router. They often have a toll free number and will walk you through exactly how to do what you want. I suggest a DLink router because they have 24/7 support and are very helpful.