Many homeowners are finding themselves with nultiple computers and devices that take advantage of wireless technology. As broadband internet service has found it's way into many households (53% accodring to the latest study), the versatility of not being ties to one location in the house has become more attractive. More and more devices are taking advantage of wireless capabilities such laptops, handhelds, entertainment systems, etc. But there are a lot more benefits to having a wireless router in the house than most think, and there are security measures that need to be taken into account.
First the benefits:
- Networking amongst multiple computers. Wireless Routers allow you to connect multiple computers within a house through a small network without running wires. This has many benefits:
- Share files between computers easily such as photos, spreadhseets, word documents, etc.
- Device sharing such as a printer. Rather than having multiple printers within a house, a network capable printer (which most are these days) can be connected into the router and all computers on the network then print from that one printer. This is also convenient when using a laptop in different areas of the house becuase there is no need to be connected to a printer for printing purposes.
- Media Streaming to your entertainment system. With a a media player hooked into your etertainment system you are now able to play music/video stored on your computer, or display photos stored on your computer right on your TV.
- Flexibility This is probably on of the most popular features, the abilit to use your computer anywhere in the house and be connected to the internet. Many are finding themselves with inexpensive laptops as a part of the kitchen to easily access online recipes.
Second, security should be taken into consideration and routers have the ability to lock others out. Wireless signals from your router will go outside of the walls of your house and can many times be picked up by sitting in a car outside. This not only gives the user access to your internet connection, it also can allow them to gain access to information stored on other computers within your house. The following measures should be taken:
- Set up a WEP Key under the security settings of the router. I personally like 128-bit encryption. By doing this it creates a 'password' that is a long combination of numbers and letters. Any computer accessing your router must enter that key and have it stored on their computer. Don't fret, it only has to be entered one time. After which it is stored on computer.
- Have up-to-date anti-virus software with network security on all machines. This will prevent others from trying to gain access to your information. It will also reduce the risk of a virus on one machine which can cripple your network in your house.
- You may also assign passwords to files or folders you share across your network for added security.
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