This day and age, many computer users like me enjoy the benefits of a wireless router at home. I love the freedom to carry my laptop from my office to any room in my home for whatever reason and still be connected. Oftentimes wireless networking is used out of necessity – like to avoid complicated, difficult, or plain messy wiring at home. Regardless of the reasons why we choose to use wireless at home there are a few things EVERYONE with a wireless router should know; and it all boils down to protecting yourself from a less than ethical person that might try to eavesdrop on internet usage.
Thankfully, modern wireless router manufacturers are well aware of these dangers and have built in some safeguards that encrypt the data between the router and the computer. The router does most of the work; usually the end user just needs to choose an encryption type enter a password on the router and then the same password on the computer. A password is easy compared to the significant troubles that could come from an unwelcome guest using YOUR internet. There are several types of encryption options available with modern routers - some better than others. Each wireless device brand has different capabilities, making it well worth the effort to spend some time and read the (usually small) booklet that came with the router so you know what options you may have with your setting.
I am regularly asked “Why do I want to encrypt my router”. Well, it’s an easy explanation that can be summed up in a two words - liability and privacy. Did you know if your neighbor was using your internet to download unlicensed music it is traceable back to your router? The same goes for other illegal download activity such as inappropriate video, software, and hacking. Your privacy is also at risk as an unethical savvy individual could watch the data being sent between your computer and router thus potentially intercepting banking information, credit card numbers, or other personal information. It does help reduce the likelihood that anyone would be able to access your wireless network while living in the country, but it doesn’t eliminate the risk. Wireless router signals can travel for well over a mile – all it takes is a little know how and some simple equipment available from many online retailers.
Securing your router is easy, takes moments to do, and can save a bunch of pain. But once it is configured the encryption is seamless and painless. It is certainly worth the effort.