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Wireless home network - Is what I'm thinking right?

Old 03-31-06, 11:46 AM
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Wireless home network - Is what I'm thinking right?

Ok, I'm a tech baby so please be gentle....

I have a desktop PC at home and am interested in getting a laptop with wireless capabilities. This is what I'm thinking.

First, get laptop and make sure it has wireless capabilities.

Second, get a router (any suggestions on an affordable one? that is safe and secure?).

Third, install router software on desktop PC and follow instructions.

Is that the ABC of setting up my little network?

I have high speed cable internet and an all-in-one scanner/printer that I would like to use from my laptop. Do you think someone who is not completely tech savvy but has basic computer knowledge can handle this?

Last edited by iggystar; 03-31-06 at 11:52 AM.
Old 03-31-06, 12:32 PM
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Hey Iggy,

first - yes, make sure is has "G", most new systems have this.

second - WRTG54g, Linksys, I think they have the market hold, I've purchased 2, going to purchase another. 1 for me, 1 for my sister's family, 1 for my parent's place. We can discuss security later, I use WPA, and MAC address filtering.

third - No software is necessary, just a configuration page you access using a browser, you point to 192.168.1.1 and adjust the router's configuration. This is for a Linksys Router.

YES, you can handle it. If you are willing to try and follow through, you will succeed.
Old 03-31-06, 01:08 PM
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1) What Barney1234 said.

2) What Barney1234 said.

3) What Barney1234 said.
Old 03-31-06, 01:24 PM
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Belkin has pretty cheap stuff and I've never had any problems with performance or security. You can get them at Comp USA.

The ease at which the computers connect to one another may depend on what OS you're running on your desktop. I assume you'll be getting XP on the new laptop.
Old 03-31-06, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Barney1234
Hey Iggy,

first - yes, make sure is has "G", most new systems have this.

second - WRTG54g, Linksys, I think they have the market hold, I've purchased 2, going to purchase another. 1 for me, 1 for my sister's family, 1 for my parent's place. We can discuss security later, I use WPA, and MAC address filtering.

third - No software is necessary, just a configuration page you access using a browser, you point to 192.168.1.1 and adjust the router's configuration. This is for a Linksys Router.

YES, you can handle it. If you are willing to try and follow through, you will succeed.
I see a notebook I want to order here is one of the specs:

Network Interface: 10/100 Mbps integrated Ethernet LAN, 802.11g integrated wireless (up to 54Mbps) with SecureEasySetup, 125 High Speed Mode and BroadRange Technologies

"802.11g integrated wireless (up to 54Mbps)"...is this the "G" you're referring to?

Now the third step. How do I get to that config page, is this on Windows? I seemed to remember some networking options when fooling around on XP.

I'm certainly willing to try and succeed, especially since Comcast wants you to pay like $149 to come out and do it for you. I figured with the Talkers help I could save that money.
Old 03-31-06, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by iggystar
Now the third step. How do I get to that config page, is this on Windows? I seemed to remember some networking options when fooling around on XP.
Plug your computer into the router. Open up Internet Explorer. You should be online just like that.

To get to the config page, in Internet Explorer, type in 192.168.1.1 (if you get the Linksys) in the address bar. By default, the username is blank and the password is admin (I think). Check the manual for full info. It's really easy to set up.

You probably want to:
(1) Change the SSID.
(2) Add WEP (64 bit) security.

That should be plenty. If you're paranoid, then you can disable SSID broadcast, use WPA, add MAC restrictions, etc.
Old 03-31-06, 07:27 PM
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YEs, that is the G you need. 802.11g is pretty standard.

In reference to setting up a wireless network it is really easy. Just remember to copy down any encyrption codes you use or any passwords you change with the router as they always come with 'password' setup as the actual password. Obviously you would want to change that right away as well as setting up a basic encryption method that will take care of 99.99% of potential network hackers. The encryption isn't bullet proof and can be hacked but that is not going to happen. Usually hackers don't drive around looking for people's personal wireless netwroks to hack.
Old 04-01-06, 11:30 AM
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Thanks guys. I order that notebook and I'll buy a router.

I'm pretty confident I can do it. I'll update you and let you know how I do.
Old 04-01-06, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by namja
Plug your computer into the router. Open up Internet Explorer. You should be online just like that.

To get to the config page, in Internet Explorer, type in 192.168.1.1 (if you get the Linksys) in the address bar. By default, the username is blank and the password is admin (I think). Check the manual for full info. It's really easy to set up.

You probably want to:
(1) Change the SSID.
(2) Add WEP (64 bit) security.

That should be plenty. If you're paranoid, then you can disable SSID broadcast, use WPA, add MAC restrictions, etc.
There is 0 reason to use 64-bit WEP. It is way too easy to crack. If you are going to use WEP, use 128-bit. However, unless one of your devices doesn't support it, you really should be using WPA, as it is much more secure than WEP. Don't bother with MAC filtering or disabling SSID broadcast, as neither of those provides any real security and both are pointless to use if you are using encryption. If someone manages to crack your encryption (even the 64-bit WEP variety), I assure you that it will take them less than 10 seconds to get around MAC filtering.

Be sure to change the SSID and login password from their default settings!
Old 04-01-06, 09:14 PM
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Originally Posted by JM
There is 0 reason to use 64-bit WEP . . .
The chance of anyone hacking your wireless, let alone using your wireless, is very slim. IF someone wanted to hack into your system and was capable, then 128-bit or 64-bit won't matter much.

Putting a security is really to ward off moochers.
Old 04-01-06, 11:00 PM
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Might as well use WPA, as virtually every recent router has it. It's not like it's any harder to set up.
Old 04-02-06, 03:45 AM
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Originally Posted by namja
The chance of anyone hacking your wireless, let alone using your wireless, is very slim. IF someone wanted to hack into your system and was capable, then 128-bit or 64-bit won't matter much.

Putting a security is really to ward off moochers.
Assuming all of the WEP-enabled equipment on your LAN has implemented weak IV avoidance, 128-bit WEP can make quite a bit of difference in terms of time it and number of packets it will take to crack WEP. Still WEP is flawed beyond just the weak IV exploit, and WPA is MUCH better. Provided you choose a sufficiently secure passphrase, a WPA-enabled network is currently quite secure.
Old 04-02-06, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by JM
Assuming all of the WEP-enabled equipment on your LAN has implemented weak IV avoidance, 128-bit WEP can make quite a bit of difference in terms of time it and number of packets it will take to crack WEP. Still WEP is flawed beyond just the weak IV exploit, and WPA is MUCH better. Provided you choose a sufficiently secure passphrase, a WPA-enabled network is currently quite secure.
Take the tinfoil hat off. Namja hit the nail on the head. Basic security is to ward off moochers. The real "hackers" will get in no matter what route you go WEP/WPA/mac filtering, doesn't matter.

Lets get the guy going wireless first.
Old 04-02-06, 07:27 PM
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Originally Posted by kantonburg
Take the tinfoil hat off. Namja hit the nail on the head. Basic security is to ward off moochers. The real "hackers" will get in no matter what route you go WEP/WPA/mac filtering, doesn't matter.

Lets get the guy going wireless first.
Whatever. By your reasoning, the Wi-Fi Alliance is just wasting its time coming up with WPA, WPA2, and 802.11i. My advice to the OP stands: use the strongest encryption that is compatible with your equipment. WPA2 > WPA > WEP 128-bit > WEP 64-bit.
Old 04-02-06, 07:58 PM
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Originally Posted by monkeyboy
Belkin has pretty cheap stuff and I've never had any problems with performance or security. You can get them at Comp USA.
I hate my Belkin router and I want it to die a horrible death.
Old 04-02-06, 08:07 PM
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Hit or miss. I gave away a Belkin B router and notebook card to upgrade to G. Went with Linksys.

The Belkin worked much better. Get low signal strength in my bedroom now, so it's still just B speed anyway basically, and it drops sometime and the router needs power cycled at least a couple times a week as it will just stop working. Never had those problems with the cheap ass Belkin setup.

And I just use WEP as I play online with my Nintendo DS and it only supports WEP.

Plus I'm just not paranoid, just want to ward of the moochers. If I'm unlucky enough to get hacked, oh well. Not worth losing sleep over.

Last edited by Josh Hinkle; 04-02-06 at 08:10 PM.
Old 04-02-06, 11:15 PM
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The main problem with wireless security is that the wireless performance suffers. It's an inverse relationship: the higher the security, the worse the performance.

It's a trade-off that I'm willing to accept. The small chance of someone hacking into my account for years of improved performance.

Here's a simple test: Do you use credit cards at restaurants? If you answer yes, then you don't need security (and 64-bit is more than enough).
Old 04-03-06, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by namja
Here's a simple test: Do you use credit cards at restaurants? If you answer yes, then you don't need security (and 64-bit is more than enough).

Wow. My head just exploded.

Yes, I used credit cards at restaurants and every place else and online. I really don't have much to steal so I'm not really worried.

I'm going to buy my router today. So which one do you guys think is best Belkin or Linksys? I'm more concerned about quality, not dropping, ease of use with a measure of security.

Last edited by iggystar; 04-03-06 at 10:51 AM.
Old 04-03-06, 01:50 PM
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Linksys!
Old 04-03-06, 02:31 PM
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I vote for Linksys as well. The WRTG54G that Barney1234 mentioned earlier is probably the best selling router of all time, so you'll be able to get a lot of help on line if you have any questions/problems.


<small>The reason I mentioned credit cards is ... you're 10x more likely to get scammed by credit card fraud than to get your computer hacked into by someone who cracked your wireless security.</small>
Old 04-03-06, 07:35 PM
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Originally Posted by namja
The main problem with wireless security is that the wireless performance suffers. It's an inverse relationship: the higher the security, the worse the performance.

It's a trade-off that I'm willing to accept. The small chance of someone hacking into my account for years of improved performance.

Here's a simple test: Do you use credit cards at restaurants? If you answer yes, then you don't need security (and 64-bit is more than enough).
I am sorry, but you are spreading bad and possibly dangerous advice.

1) Decent modern routers can handle encryption with little to no performance degradation, and it is not necessarily an inverse relationship. Many routers that support WPA have a specialized processor for AES such that WPA-PSK using AES incurs no performance hit. From Tom's hardware tests, "WPA-PSK with AES encryption imposes virtually no throughput penalty. Using WEP will cost you about 10% (33 vs 36 Mbps) and enabling WPA-PSK with TKIP extracts the worst penalty at about 17% (30 vs. 36 Mbps)."Source. 17%, worst case scenario. Even then, if all you are using is Internet (i.e. no LAN PC-to-PC transfers), then you will not notice a difference unless you have > 30Mbps Internet connection (based on the numbers in the above test), which few do.

2) If you are using WEP 64-bit, or worse NOTHING, the chance are high that someone will eventually gain access to your wireless. WEP 64-bit can be cracked in under 10 minutes.

3) There is a lot more at issue than somone stealing your credit card number. If someone gains access to your WLAN, they can potentially access any Windows shares you have set up (whether on purpose or out of ignorance), exploit any security holes in your PCs, sniff ALL data going over your network (including bank accounts, email passwords, tax returns, social security numbers, etc.). Moreover, they might use your network to do nefarious things that you will have to incur legal expenses (etc.) to challenge.

4) "Here's a simple test: Do you use credit cards at restaurants? If you answer yes, then you don't need security (and 64-bit is more than enough)." So, since I use my credit cards at restaraunts, I should leave my WLAN completely open for anyone to grab whatever data I happen to have flowing over my network and/or stored on my PCs? That is just ridiculous.

For those of you thinking that namja is right, please know that he is not and that his recommendations go against those of any reputable network/security expert.
Old 04-03-06, 07:46 PM
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Originally Posted by namja
I vote for Linksys as well. The WRTG54G that Barney1234 mentioned earlier is probably the best selling router of all time, so you'll be able to get a lot of help on line if you have any questions/problems.
Keep in mind that the WRT54G has been through at least 5 revisions since it was released. You can identify the revisions by the first few characters of the serial number, as detailed here. The v5 is very different hardware than previous versions (has less RAM and flash space). It also runs vxWorks OS rather than Linux. As such, for those considering running any of the feature-packed 3rd-party firmware such as DD-WRT, HyperWRT, OpenWRT, or Sveasoft, the v5 is to be avoided at all costs as it will not work.
Old 04-03-06, 11:31 PM
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Originally Posted by JM
If you are using WEP 64-bit, or worse NOTHING, the chance are high that someone will eventually gain access to your wireless.
Chances are high? I can tell by your posts that you're of the paranoid type. As I mentioned earlier, anyone who is of this type SHOULD use as much security as possible.

Anyway, you've COMPLETELY missed my point. My point (since you totally missed it) is that using security is really to ward off the casual moochers, and that if someone really wanted to hack your wireless to steal your personal info, then whether you have no security or whether you have WPA won't make that big a difference (one will just take a little longer). Either way, the hacker WILL steal your info.

In fact, if you're using WPA because you're afraid of someone stealing your passwords and such, then you probably shouldn't bank on line or buy anything on line. Because chances are high that your account will be hacked.
Old 04-04-06, 12:34 AM
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Originally Posted by namja
Chances are high? I can tell by your posts that you're of the paranoid type. As I mentioned earlier, anyone who is of this type SHOULD use as much security as possible.

Anyway, you've COMPLETELY missed my point. My point (since you totally missed it) is that using security is really to ward off the casual moochers, and that if someone really wanted to hack your wireless to steal your personal info, then whether you have no security or whether you have WPA won't make that big a difference (one will just take a little longer). Either way, the hacker WILL steal your info.

In fact, if you're using WPA because you're afraid of someone stealing your passwords and such, then you probably shouldn't bank on line or buy anything on line. Because chances are high that your account will be hacked.
No, I got your point. I just disagree with it. I think you overestimate the effectiveness of WEP 64-bit in keeping out "casual moochers" and underestimate the effectiveness of WPA when used properly. I also think you make too big a deal over "performance" hits with good encryption and generally don't understand a lot of what you are talking about, instead resorting to ad hominem attacks that I am "paranoid."

Do you use a deadbolt on the door of your house? After all, if someone wants in, they will just break a window. The deadbolt causes too much of a performance hit (takes to long to unlock the door). I recommend a piece of scotch tape.

Last edited by JM; 04-04-06 at 12:37 AM.
Old 04-04-06, 04:52 AM
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Yeah, sure is weird how he keeps knocking down WPA. I mean, it's the exact same amount of effort to setup WPA as it is WEP.

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