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Wireless security help


reeldeal
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I've had a wireless network running in my parents house for awhile because it was nice to come home and not have to plug anything in, and just be able to surf.

however, i am going to be moving to a "real" city and want to take the wireless router with me. problem is i don't understand the security at all on it.

i used to broadcast ssid and didn't use wep or anything because their house was pretty isolated. however, when i try to disable ssid broadcast or use wep i get about 50% signal loss. which is obviously ridiculous.

 

i know when i was in university that you'd have to register the mac address of your network adapter to be able to access the internet. is there any way to do this with the router? as in allow only certain mac addresses access? i only seem to be able to block certain mac addresses...which is the exact opposite of what i need.

 

i know this is a pretty common router so if anyone has any input please let me hear it.

 

thanks,

mark

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I use two things for my security.

 

1.) Disabling the broadcast of the SSID. By default the router broadcasts the SSID of your network so people can access resources. If people can't see your routers SSID, they can't get on your network. BTW, disabling the broadcast of the SSID should do nothing to the signal quality you receive.

 

2.) MAC address authentication. This is what you were referring to in your post. There should be a tab somewhere in your router settings for "filters". You should find MAC address authentication in there. You will need to add the MAC address all the components that need access to the router. This includes the MAC address of the network card in your PC that is connected to the router. If you use a PCMCIA card in your laptop, you need to put that MAC address in there also. If you would like to use your wireless network to play xbox live, you would need to put in the MAC addresses of both the ethernet wireless bridge and the xbox.

 

I do not use WEP because no one can get on my network anyway, I don't need the extra little overhead that comes with it.

 

If you have any other questions I will do the best I can to help.

 

The best thing you can do is experiment with your network. Go to www.netstumbler.com and download the program and experiment to see if you can see your SSID. Once you disable the broadcasting you will not be able to see your SSID anymore using netstumbler.

 

The fun thing is to experiment with it.

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It's always been my understanding that you DO take a performance hit when you don't broadcast SSID, because the client has to continually "look" for the specific SSID instead of just "picking" it...

 

I could be wrong, though.... I'm not a wirless networking genius or anything... :)

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Originally posted by Whooter@Jul 6 2004, 08:46 PM

It's always been my understanding that you DO take a performance hit when you don't broadcast SSID, because the client has to continually "look" for the specific SSID instead of just "picking" it...

 

I could be wrong, though.... I'm not a wirless networking genius or anything... :)

Interesting, I've never heard that. I'll do some more research on that.

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alright, the plot thickens

the ssid only reduces the signal quality/strength in my laptop. the second desktop has a linksys wet11 (or wep11) and doesn't degrade. the pcmcia card is some cheapo korean deal i bought off ebay. i'm not sure if this would have any effect however.

if i do that mac filtering however would it really matter if i'm broadcasting my ssid or not?

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Originally posted by reeldeal@Jul 6 2004, 10:08 PM

alright, the plot thickens

the ssid only reduces the signal quality/strength in my laptop. the second desktop has a linksys wet11 (or wep11) and doesn't degrade. the pcmcia card is some cheapo korean deal i bought off ebay. i'm not sure if this would have any effect however.

if i do that mac filtering however would it really matter if i'm broadcasting my ssid or not?

People using programs such as netstumbler will be able to see what clients are connected to your router, and thus get the MAC addresses of every client connected your network. Then there is software you can use to change the MAC addresses of network cards. Then they can access your network when the other MAC address is not connected to your router. This is called MAC address spoofing. If you don't broadcast the SSID they can't see what MAC addresses are connecting to your router.

 

EDIT: To answer your question, some wireless PCMCIA cards are much better than others. The cards that are known to get the best signal strength are Orinoco silver and gold cards.

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