Securing my routers
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    coaltrain's Avatar
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    Securing my routers

    The thread in the forum help section with the recent problems here at GTT and some people's routers has prompted me to secure my wireless system. I live in the boonies with no neighbors so have never done this. Now please be patient with me - I know just enough to be dangerous, plus don't know the proper terminology for everything. I will start out with what I have - I am hoping for some step-by-step guidance to secure my wireless network without locking myself out. I am currently on a wired PC so even if I mess something up I should be OK but I need to use my iPad a lot during the day.

    I have cable internet with my own Motorola SB6141 modem.

    From the modem I am wired to my Linksys WRT54GL router. From the 4 ports on that router are:

    My desktop PC
    Mrs. C's desktop PC
    VoIP modem
    Ethernet cable to the second modem downstairs.

    Downstairs is a Trendnet N150 (TEW-711BR). I found instructions on the web at the time and set it up - don't know if it would now be called an access point, a bridge, or whatever. I know I did have to change the IP address of this router. The ethernet cable coming from my upstairs Linksys routers is plugged into one of the 4 ports - not the input (WAN) port. From there I have my Tivo unit hardwired - this is the router that I get access for my iPad and Roku unit.

    On both my iPad and Roku I can "see" both routers - I have them both access the downstairs Trendet router being a better signal because it is closer. Previously I had a weak signal accessing the upstairs Linksys router from that room.

    And it all works just fine.

    I can access the configuration screen for both routers with the appropriate address in my browser. When I took a look just now I quickly became befuddled even after looking at the manuals. So if you guys could, where should I start? My goal is to have wireless access from either router but to have it password protected.
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    The instructions for setting up your Trendnet router can be found here:

    TRENDnet | Support | TEW-711BR | N150 Wireless Home Router

    The instructions you want are on page start on page 12 of the User's Guide.



    Then you'll need the instructions for your Linksys router from here

    http://downloads.linksys.com/downloa...1_UG_C-Web.pdf

    The steps you want for that one start on page 11.


    In both cases you'll be given several options for the "Type" of security/encryption you want to use. Right now, WPA2 is your best (most secure) option as long as all of your wireless devices support it. This is a key thing here. You are setting up WIRELESS security so any changes will only effect devices that connect wirelessly. Anything that uses a LAN cable to connect to either router won't be affected. And all of those wireless devices MUST support the encryption protocol you select.


    During the setup process for wireless security, you will need to set a password in both routers. You can use the same password if you want or you can set them to different passwords. That's totally your choice. Once you setup each router to use the secure connection, you're iPad and Roku will not be able to connect to them any more. You will need to find the manuals for those and reset their wireless setups to work with the security protocol you select and enter the passwords. (You don't list the model numbers for them so I don't know which manuals apply or what protocols they can use.).

    Once you've done all of that, you are done. You're network is secured and any time someone wants to connect to your network, they will be prompted for a password that only you will know.
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    felixm22's Avatar
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    Coaltrain,

    I love helping people like you, anyone that is willing to learn is alway worth helping. You wonder why it matters if your wireless connection is secured or not? First and foremost the theft of your internet connection is not what people are looking for. The biggest threat is the interception of your personal information. It does not take much equipment to listen in on your network traffic. Over time people can learn quite a bit about you. Putting a password on your wireless network scrambles the information so that someone can't easily listen in.

    Another good practice it to change the default username and password of all of the devices on your network. It would take seconds on an open network for a hacker to change the settings of your router creating an easy back door to your wired internet connection. With a back door opened they could then take their time from anywhere to try accessing your computers on the network.

    First lets get some terms down.

    Modem - Is a device that basically converts one from type of signal to another. In the case of DSL, it converts an analog signal that can pass across phone lines to a digital signal of 0's and 1's that computer networks work off of.

    Router - Is a device moves information packets between different network segments. The router that most people have in their homes are know as Gateway Router. These routers take a public IP address and convert it to private IP address. You can think of a public IP address as a kind of phone number and private IP address as a phone extension.

    Switch - Allows the sharing of information packets on a network segment.

    Access Point(AP) - An access point is a device that converts the wired network to a wireless network.

    Here is a diagram:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    What confuses most people is all of these devices can be built together in one device, build as individual devices, or someone can one of the individual parts of an all in one device. Coaltrain, in your case the Linksys WRT54GL and the Trendnet TEW-711BR are a router, AP, and a switch, though you are only using the TEW-711BR as an AP.

    I've attached an excerpt form the manual for wireless security. All you need to do is select Personal WPA2 then type in the passphrase for the password. Use a password that is different from all other other passwords you use. I once used the following password for my network, $g89B^gd*Cgefy^BKGQzPLvkQJaq?]w*[StRmt&NEQ]yAb5<KQA<3x868*F6. Yes it was a pain when family would come over but I was never hacked.
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    coaltrain's Avatar
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    OK - thanks for the info guys.

    Starting with my Linksys router - I successfully changed the router's password (using a password generator for a decently strong one). But should I worry about the user name which is still "admin"? I don't see where to change that.

    Next I went to the wireless security screen. This is where I first came to a roadblock as there were 5 choces there. I see that I should use Personal WAP2 which I selected. When I go to save that screen I get a message that says this:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I'm no expert but I think you need to make a new password.
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    Yep. In that box that is labeled "WPA Shared Key" you need to enter the password that you want to use for a device to be able to access the network. Come up with a phrase that you can remember. It has to be longer than 8 characters.
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    coaltrain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimR View Post
    Yep. In that box that is labeled "WPA Shared Key" you need to enter the password that you want to use for a device to be able to access the network. Come up with a phrase that you can remember. It has to be longer than 8 characters.
    OK - I didn't know that this should be the password. I didn't want to enter anything as I didn't want to mess something up just guessing. I'll do that and see how I proceed.

    Thanks guys!
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    coaltrain's Avatar
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    Success!

    Everything went smoothly after entering the WAP key. The trendnet router was more user friendly (to me anyhow) as it called it a passcode.

    So changed the passwords to access the routers, setup WAP2 on both, and set a wireless password for both. I simply had to access the WiFi settings on my iPad which showed both routers (with the lock symbols!), chose my downstairs router, then it propted me to enter the password. Same thing on my Roku unit which I also verified works.

    Turns out to be a simple thing I guess but I needed some help and hand-holding. I feel good now that my wireless network is secured.

    Reminds me of a guy I met in Massachusetts when I was doing my mail run. This guy lived in the same apartment building for 6 years and had never paid for internet access - he was just hooking up to neighbors WiFi signals the whole time.

    Thanks for your help guys - and I learned something today - always makes for a good day!
    ~Stan~
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    Keeper of the GTT Cookies dieselshadow's Avatar
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    A good friend of mine got in to some serious hot water due to their unsecured network. Turns out someone was parking out on the street downloading kiddie porn from their wireless network. Cops came and knocked on their door. It was a big deal to say the least.
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