Introduction to wireless network security

Network security is often overlooked or not seriously considered when a wireless network is built. Many people buy the necessary network equipment, connect it, flip the power switch and there it is: free wireless connectivity for all the neighbours. All it takes to connect to an unsecured wireless network is to get within range and startup your computer. That could be a passer by with a laptop or perhaps your neighbour who is constantly within range of your wireless network. The nature of wireless networks makes it easy to compromise them. That is why wireless network security is so important if you want to prevent others from accessing your network.

Wireless G, speedboosters, WEP, WPA, encryption and MAC adresses, they are terms that only few people really understand. That is why such a large percentage of networks still lacks any form of security. A small walk through my own town town with my laptop yielded 7 out of 18 wireless networks that I could instantly connect to.

In this article I will show you how to configure wireless security on Linksys' WRT54G wireless router. This doesn't mean that this article is intended solely for WRT54G owners. The security measures offered by the WRT54G can be found in nearly every other wireless router.

The operating system examples in this article are taken from Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 2. Similarly, the principles shown in this security tutorial apply to other operating systems as well.