How do I secure my network please

  Never again 16:41 31 Mar 2006

I am running win xp and a belkin high speed mode wireless G router into an ntl cable modem.

Or I hope I am because its only been installed for 5 minutes!!

How do I secure my network from other users in my area.

  ade.h 16:52 31 Mar 2006

1) Enter your router’s config page by typing the IP address into your browser. This is Do this from a WIRED PC ONLY. All wireless clients must be disconnected during this process.

2) In the Wireless section, go to Settings and SSID. Change the SSID to something reasonably unique, like “My Wifi Network”. This achieves two things; it stops anyone from identifying your brand of router and it makes your network more obvious to you among those of your neighbours.
You can turn off SSID broadcast if you wish, but this sometimes causes pick-up problems with some devices.

3) Click on Security. From the drop-down, select WPA with Pre-shared Key (WPA-PSK). Now you need to pick a key, and it had better be good; a long mix of upper and lower-case letters, numbers and symbols, such as ydfPH9456#45=?ekny5834cbr. Make up your own and write it down for use later. When you are ready to connect a wireless PC for the first time, you will be asked for this key. It will be stored from then on, but keep a note of it anyway.

4) Click on MAC address filtering. Now, on each PC that uses your network, go to Start, Run and type in “command” without the quotes. In the box that has appeared, type “ipconfig /all” - without quotes, but with the space. Look for the MAC address and make a note of it. Once you have the MAC address of every PC, go back to your router’s config page and select “allow” from the drop-down. Now enter those MAC addresses by clicking on New MAC Address. If you later want to allow more devices onto your network, follow this procedure again.

5) Under the Firewall section, select Policy. It should already be set to typical. If so, leave it that way; if not, select it.

6) Go to Utilities and select Remote Management. If ANY of these boxes are ticked, untick them. By default, they will not be ticked.

7) In Utilities, select System Settings. This is where you set a password for the router’s config page. I cannot emphasise just how essential this is!! Enter a password that will be impossible to guess and tricky to crack with a password generator; it does not need to be as sophisticated as your WPA key, as you’ll need to type this password occasionally. Again, make a note of it.

  Never again 17:03 31 Mar 2006

I have to go out for a while before I can fo;;ow your instructions.

It's probably a really stupid question, but if I pull the mains plug out of my modem is my pc safe from intruders in the meanwhile.

  ade.h 17:20 31 Mar 2006

You have a seperate router and modem, I take it?

Switch off the router, in that case. I tend to do so at night anyway, as Belkins get pretty warm in use.

  Never again 20:55 31 Mar 2006

I've followed your instructions but they don't seem to agree completely with the belkin menus.

steps 4, 5 and 6 are different.

I could not see any other mac addresses but there are no other pc's connected to the router at the moment apart from the one i'm using.

There was no section called policy under the firewall section.

and the only mention of remote access was in the system settings.

but my router home page says that security is enabled (I have chosed passwords and a pre shared key).

The only problem I have encountered was that I unplugged the modem when I popped out earlier and on reboot my pc could not connect any network apart from my ethernet and so I reset the router and went through the setup again, but it was pretty quick as all the settings were saved on the belkin site!!

I'm going to have a go at connecting my laptop now.

Wish me luck.

  ade.h 21:25 31 Mar 2006

I base my guides on modem/routers (popular models). The standalone Belkin routers lose one or two settings and gain one or two others.

I can say with certainty that step 4 is the same on any Windowx XP PC: click here for a screenshot of the MAC Filtering screen as it should look once the addresses have been entered.

Firewall policy looks like this click here I don't know if that screenshot is clear enough to see it, but Remote Management is second from last in the Utilities section.

Hope that helps.

  ade.h 21:27 31 Mar 2006

Yep, just viewed it myself and it is clear enough. Sometimes they go pretty fuzzy when they get uploaded!

  Never again 21:37 31 Mar 2006

I've just checked your screenshot (how do you do that?) and done the ipconfig /all again and I've got some figures but none are listed as MAC address. The only 2 addresses are physical address and IP address.

Is one of these my MAC address and do I add this to the MAC address section on the Belkin page?

  Never again 21:43 31 Mar 2006

...and on comparison your firewall menu has policy included but mine does not, and I have no remote management settings listed seperately and a number of diffrent options?

Is this because we have different routers?

  ade.h 21:46 31 Mar 2006

MAC address = physical address.

The two terms are interchangable and refer to the factory-fitted identifier that every network adapter has.

Screenshots are easy. They only take a minute or two, so they're very useful for illustrating what someone is talking about. Go to Imageshack click here to upload an image. Press Alt and Printscreen on your keyboard to capture the current window, or just Printscreen to grab the whole screen, then open Paint or similar, paste it in and save it as a jpeg.

  ade.h 21:51 31 Mar 2006

"Is this because we have different routers?"

Partly; most manufacturers use a standard config utility and standard settings across most or all models, with certain additions for specific features on high-end models. New firmware can include tweaks to the interface as well, and that would be the case here; yours is brand new, while mine is 5 months old. It is wise to take an "if it aint broke" approach to router firmware, and because mine has always worked perfectly, it has not had an upgrade for risk of messing it up.

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