How can I secure my wireless network?

Posted on 2004-11-22
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-11-13

I am using a wireless access point to allow laptops with wireless cards to access the LAN without having to cable them in. It says that the network is unsecure, so how can I make it secure for only those laptops to use. I have added the MAC addresses of the laptops wireless cards to the access points configuration but I was wanting to make it as secure as possible. Anyone got any ideas and suggestions (with instructions please)?

Question by:jflah
LVL 41

Accepted Solution

stevenlewis earned 300 total points
ID: 12645985
Using WEP? or even better WPA (if all the laptops OS's support it)
also shut off the SSID broadcasting
aND you did the MAC limitation
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Assisted Solution

by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 200 total points
ID: 12645991
Instructions and abilities would depend on the exact access point.  Two other suggestions:
1.  Do NOT broadcast the (E)SSID - most access points can be configured to disable the broadcast.  This way, only people who know the ID can get to the access point.  Second, use the highest level of encryption you can.  Most only support 128bit WEP.  But some, like the US Robotics Wireless Access Point, can handle 256 bit.  Of course, you client machines cards must also be able to handle the same level of encryption.

Also, see if your cards and access point support WPA - see: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0%2C1759%2C1277020%2C00.asp
LVL 97

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 12646013
If you really want secure, do all the above and setup a VPN on the network side, putting the wireless on a public internet connection.  Then have your clients VPN into your network.  That's the most effective way of securing things as WEP can be broken within a day, MAC addresses can be forged, and IDs can be found.

Assisted Solution

caball88 earned 200 total points
ID: 12646058
if you are adding mac addresses to your access point then its "pretty" safe to assume that no one else can connect to your wireless network unless you specifically add their mac address. i assume you turned the option to only allow the specified mac address on your access point. i don't know which access point you have but its a good idea not to broadcast the essid so if someone was scanning for AP's they would not pick yours up. you can use WEP or WPA for authentication for the client devices. it will also help to encrypt the communication traffic. if you are really worried you can also setup some sort of VPN for each client device. this will provide alot more security but at a little cost in performance because there is more overhead. there is a whole array options for wireless security(list grows everyday) it just depends on the kind of protection you are looking for.

Assisted Solution

Ancient_Orange earned 100 total points
ID: 12646580
Well the VPN solution is probably the most secure thing you can do.there are still a few tricks like alternating wep keys in small intervals.(there are software solutions avaliable for this purpose).In addition to that you could Set up a Radius Server for wlan authentication.

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