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How to Tell Who is on Your Wireless Network

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Do you ever wonder if anyone's stealing your bandwidth via your wireless? I do. Because of that, I like to check every so often just to make sure - even with taking necessary precautions. Assuming you know how to log into your wireless router, you want to look for a tab or a box that says, "Setup" or something similar. Within that form, look for DHCP Server. If you have it enabled (which you probably do), look for a tab or box that says, "Status" (or something similar), then, "Local Network." Once there, you should see a tab/box/button that will show you the DHCP Client(s) Table. That's where you can see who all is connected and, thus, find out if you're being futtbucked by some wireless thief around you.

It's rather disconcerting to find out that you're being taken advantage of (and not in the, "honey, tonight, I'm going to wear a diaper and I want you to spank me and tell me I've been a bad baby" type of taken advantage of, either), but if you find that you are, here are some solutions for you to make sure your wireless network is about as ninja as possible:

1 - First thing's first: Encryption. Enable it. And NOT WEP, either. WEP is about as worthless as not encrypting your network at all because it's ridiculously easy to crack. Instead, try WPA or WPA2.

2 - Limit who can connect to you by only allowing recognized MAC addresses to connect to your wireless router. This is a great solution if you always know which devices are going to be utilizing your wireless access, because MAC addresses are like the digital version of a finger print or human eye; no two are alike. For this to work, you need to find the Security section in your wireless router and enable it. Then, you need to enter the MAC address of each device that is allowed to be on your network. For computers, it's simple. For other devices, it can be a real pain in the ass, so keep that in mind, too (iPod Touches, game consoles, etc.). For Windows users (Linux and Mac, go here), click Start, then Run, then type in cmd and hit enter. When the window comes up, type ipconfig /all and voila. You're interested in the sections that say Physical Address and have something following that looks like 00-FF-3C-64-40-9E. You may have a number of results from various adapters, so make sure you choose the right one (typically labeled, "Wireless Network Connection"). Take that physical address and add it to your wireless router's MAC address allow list and you should be golden (may take a reset of the router after you save the changes).

3 - Change your network name (don't keep it the default name as it makes this step pointless) and choose to not have it broadcasted. This will keep people from seeing your network in their available networks list. All you need to do then is specify the name of your network on your device when you go to connect to it.

There are a number of additional steps you can take, but if you go with a combination of any of the steps above, you'll be good to go.


1 comment:

  1. Er, I'd recommend WPA2 with AES, as long as your devices support it.

    Overall, quite a beneficial post.