Wireless router connection

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sprayer | 09:34 Thu 27th Aug 2009 | Technology
17 Answers
I asked a similar question to this the other day but I still do not fully understand which is why I am asking this.
I have just got a wireless router which initially I had to connect to my laptop with a cable to enable the router to recognise the laptop, I then had to enter a ''WEP'' key that I had been given and it connects to the net and works fine, so my question is that if my friend visits me with her laptop and wants to connect to the net will she have to go though the same set up procedure with the cable and the WEP key etc. and if this is the case how do they get over all this set up stuff at airports & hotels etc. where they offer free wireless connection.


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the wep key is just that ... a key to let you in

so friend runs the wireless setup wizard (control panel) - or double klicks on the wifi icon in the system tray (if it's there)

in the display available - select your network ssid from the list

and when asked for the key - input your wep key

this is then remembered ... and next time you just select the ssid ... and away you go
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Thanks ACtheTROLL, I now understand THAT bit which means that without the WEP key nobody can sit outside my house in a car and use my connection, so then as I said how does this work at airports with free wifi when there is nobody to give you the key yet anyone can connect to the net ?...... Sorry to be so thick but all this computer stuff is new to me.
I have never ever had free WiFi in an airport (except for executive longes), and I travel most weeks. However the way this would normally work (eg in coffee shops or McDonalds) is that there will be no key (so anyone can access it), Other times (for example in hotels) you would be given a key to access the service.
too early in morning
hadn't opened eyes fully so only saw top of post

ben has the rest covered
except for bt openzones - costa coffe on most motorway services offer free connection ... and others
you have to sign up for openzone ... and then here it's free - easy enough - or elsewhere you may have to pay
if your isp is BT - there is an optopn to join the fon network
and then openzone and fon is free
I don't wish to confuse the issue, but why hasn't anyone advised against using WEP to protect the network? As of 2004, WEP has been deprecated and marked officially as "failing to meet it security goals". Nobody should be using WEP as a means to protect their network, as software to crack into it is readily available, and someone outside your house can decipher your WEP key within a few minutes of locking onto your WiFi signal.

Since 2003 all WiFi routers must support WPA (WiFi Protected Access) which supersedes WEP and is much stronger and harder to break. Even better, and currently the desired standard is WPA2, which is still considered "secure". You should configure your router to use either WPA or WPA2, WEP should be avoided if you value the security of your wireless network.


I have no problem with wep
I agree - it's a spoiler but 99% of the time that's good enough
Yes "road warriors" can crack the key quite quickly - but as with all hackers - the question is why would they want to?
unless you are remarkable - or just unlucky it's relatively unlikely anyone will try - my house is wired - but this lappy is wifi - using wep - and I know no one has so much as sniffed my connection

compared to wep wap has a huge resource overhead - so it will definitely slow a connection down by quite a margin
so the "might" of wep is worth the gamble in my book

if security was a real issue wifi isn't suitable anyhow - ethernet would always be my first choice - homeplug second .... and wifi third (unless I can find some wet string.
I run my wireless unsecured..

And no I am not mad, I know the rest of my network is secure, I also have full content filtering and protocol filtering for any unknown computer that does connect to my wifi, so if anyone did jump onto my connection they would have very limited Internet access and thats it.

If somebody really wants to sit outside my house in their car just to browse the internet then they must be pretty desperate to get online and if anyone is that desperate then they are welcome to use my connection. though I would suggest that they either go across the road to the pub with free wifi, or down the road 200m for the coffee shop that offers the same, it will be more comfortable for them!

BTW, in 6 months not one single other person has connected to my wifi other than me and friends.
I did decide that I would remove the attic mounted 24db gain tuned antenna (for channel 7) from my wireless network when I went unsecured though!

WTF are you lot on about! I haven't understood a word:-(((
geek talk carrust,

The scary thing is we techies really do find this stuff interesting :)

Remind me not to catch a lift with you lot! :-)
Guys, it's all very well having a laissez faire view on wireless security, but it's not good practice to omit details to those who don't understand.

Why is it you guys are the very same ones recommending firewalls? Most people will get on fine with the built-in Windows one and don't need advanced configuration and protection. Yet, because of your own views on the nature of network security, WEP, which is by technical definition a completely broken technology, is fine? Sorry, but it makes no sense, and it's not good practice.

WPA doesn't have a significant overhead on modern networks when it comes to internet connections. I have a 10mb cable connection, and that's exactly what I get via wifi. On a 54Mbps 80211.G network, WPA's overhead is transparent for a net connection like that - and this will apply to everybody except the fastest 50Mb internet users (who should have wireless N anyway). So that argument doesn't hold any water whatsoever.

Also, it's not just people out the front of your house you should be worried about. I live in a flat (not uncommon in the UK that one) and I pick up quality signal of no less than 5 other wifi networks. It's not just desperate people that would have access to mine, it's savvy people who don't want to have to pay for access.

By all means, use your broken encryption or leave your network open. In the context of ADVICE for other people, retain some parity between it and your advice on other areas of PC security. Internet security is recommended, and the WiFi alliance recommends security. So you should recommend it too. To me, your opinions are simply something that I disagree with, to someone like sprayer, it will form the basis of all that they know on the subject, and they don't have the luxury of disagreeing or knowing better.
mob ... if you understood - you'd understand

>>I have a 10mb cable connection, and that's exactly what
>> I get via wifi
mmmmmm - you must be using yours in the same room as the router

once you start encrypting/decrypting it the hit increases considerably

on a full blown PC it takes a finite time to encrypt data - on a small system such as a router ... that time is greater - because the processor is less powerful - so the same transfer rate as no security is impossible

a firewall/virus/malware scanner is different ... it protects the machine from what is statistically a far more significant threat than the likelihood of some savvy spotty youf sitting outside (or in the downstairs flat) .... and the throughput hit is acknowledged as part of the penalty

it's all a matter of likelihood - I live in an area that is geriatric heaven - the likelihood is very low
I have friends who live in flats etc - I've shown them how to monitor unauthorised access - the likelihood has been very low (actually zero).
most trusted articles on HOME security support the use of wep hindrance over the wap speed argument ... a few also go for chuck's open house tactic

I'd never use wep on a business installation - in fact given the choice I'd never use wifi - there are far better options

I base my advice on the findings of professionals - when that is also supported by my experience

I agree it's unfair not to explore all possibilities - but also those possibilities have been debated here many times - anyone interested in the arguments can easily use the search option to find those arguments
>>the WiFi alliance recommends security. So you
>>should recommend it too
in your opinion - there are many others who disagree
(the countryside alliance advocates foxhunting - I don't agree with that either)
Any promoter will of course advocate their opinions and using their top of the range products

>>To me, your opinions are simply something that I
>> disagree with
I have no problem with that ... everyone is entitled to their opinion - I know I'm not infallible - I assume you're not either?

So I'm interested - what do you base your opinion on - how long have you worked on wifi networks?
most ISPs who provide routers also go to the trouble of printing a lable - which included the device serial and a unique wifi key on their device - strangely that tends to be a wep key - wonder why they do that?
AC your understanding of WiFi is obviously flawed.

If the data is encrypted before being sent, and such encryption slows down throughput, then whether I have the router in the same room as the receiving PC is irrelevant, because the resulting data burst is sent at the speed of light. Therefore, if I have a full signal on WiFi, the network connection is no faster or slower whether I'm next to the access point, or 20ft away from it.

I don't like being told that I must be in the same room as the router to get the speed I do, when I am not. The router is two rooms away, through as many walls. I get 9.7-9.8Mbps on my web connection, which is limited by my cable connection, not my wireless network. Realistically, encryption overhead will cause slowdown when you're utilising all available network bandwidth. With a 10meg connection, I'm using all my internet bandwidth but less than a fifth of the overall wireless bandwidth of 802.11G network (54Mbps).

Manufacturers use WEP keys by default for compatibility. You should know that, if you're as experienced as you say. Manufacturers would rather not ship their products with any security, because no passkeys to enter means it's easier for the home user to set up their network and get legacy devices that may not be WPA compatible connected to their new wireless networks. That's what many still do in fact, but that too is bad practice.

There is no advantage to manufacturers "promoting" WPA/WPA2 because, as I said, it's a required feature of a WiFi certified product. So it's not a matter of "look, we've got the best security on our spangly new wifi router" because practically all routers now have these features, throughout the entire product range.

I won't argue with you about the other PC security aspects, other than to say that you recommend 3rd party firewalls to people. These are arguably harder to install, set up and constantly babysit than implementing WPA will ever be. To a novice end user who doesn't file share, they will offer little to no benefit over the in-built Windows firewall. In fact, most of them prompt the user to allow access to various programs, which simply introduces the dancing pig problem.

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