There’s one question that nearly everyone asks when they travel, “what’s the Wi-Fi password?” Just a few short years ago the question was “do you have Wi-Fi?” but nowadays having a free and open Wi-Fi for customers is expected. If you’re in charge of setting up the Wi-Fi for your office or public setting, there are few measures you should take to keep your network secure.
Placement is the first step to any great Wi-Fi setup. In the home you can be a bit more flexible about where it is installed however in a public setting you’ll definitely want to secure the physical router in a cabinet or with locking brackets. If installing inside of furniture or a cabinet, be sure it doesn’t contain a lot of metal as this can weaken your signal. Once set up, change the default password. Nearly every manufacturer presets a simple password such as “admin” or “12345.” These are common and easily hackable. These changes are made by visiting the IP address of the router. Though this varies per manufacturer, it is typically something like 192.168.1.1. If you don’t have this listed in the instructions, do a quick search for your model number. If your router is pre-owned or previously configured, manually reset it to factory settings.
These are the basic steps you can take; now it’s time to get a little more secure by changing the default SSID name. This is the name seen when someone checks what devices are available. Changing this to something more secure than the factory preset is a must. To prevent brute force attacks, or the network being overused, disable SSID broadcast. This makes the router “invisible” and can only be connected to by people who know the name.
There are a few more settings you can tweak for enhanced security. First, enable WPA2 encryption. In most cases the default encryption will be set to WPA, AES, or WEP; you’ll find WPA2 in the dropdown. Next, disable the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DCHP) if you’re in a smaller office. If you only plan on having 10 or so devices using the Wi-Fi, there is no need for this setting to be turned on.
Your manufacturer’s website will also come with other tips for securing your Wi-Fi. Definitely read through what they recommend to have the most secure network possible.