Configure security settings
A wireless network lets you connect to the Internet from any room in the house. However, if you don't want your neighbors tapping into your Internet connection, you'll need to configure security for your network. Two common security methods are encryption and address filtering.
Encrypting your wireless transmissions makes it difficult for outsiders to spy on your network. The two most common forms of encryption for wireless networks are WEP and WPA. All Wi-Fi gear supports WEP. Only newer wireless devices support WPA. WPA is stronger, but you may not be able to use it if there are older devices on your network.
When using WEP or WPA encryption, you must configure each device on your network with the same passphrase. Encryption scrambles data sent over the network. When another computer on the network receives the encrypted information, it uses an encryption key to unscramble the data.
A computer uses a wireless adapter to connect to a wireless network. Each adapter comes with a unique hardware address, also known as a MAC address. You can keep most intruders off your network by granting access only to adapters with known and trusted MAC addresses.
To do this, you need to gather the MAC addresses of all the adapters you want to grant access. Sometimes a MAC address is labeled on the adapter itself. If not, you can find it using a Windows command prompt. Open a command-prompt window by selecting Run from the Windows Start menu and typing cmd. Now, type ipconfig /all and hit Enter. This command displays the network information for your computer, including the MAC addresses for every adapter installed on that machine. The MAC address is listed as the physical address for your adapter. Go to each machine on your network, open a command prompt, and type ipconfig /all. Collect the MAC address for each machine. Finally, enter the MAC addresses you've collected into your router.