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Old July 12th, 2004, 09:39 PM   #1
Regular Crew
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Squamish, British Columbia, Canada
Posts: 149
How To setup a WI-FI network?

Hello all,
I am looking at getting a new laptop for general use and am interested in WI-FI networking. I am currently living at my parentís house and they have cable internet for my fathers business computer that is situated in our basement. I could easily buy a router and run a CAT5 line to my room as the distance is not to far although I think it would be sweet to be able to work from any were in there house. All the Dell and Apple laptops I have bean considering have the WI-FI card although I am curries as to how I go from there. For the Apple it is easy, I just buy an Air Port Extreme and I am set although I remain stumped on the PC side.

Any Help would be great,
Alex Ratson
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Old July 13th, 2004, 02:04 AM   #2
RED Code Chef
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Holland
Posts: 12,514
Setting up WI-FI is hard and easy. Easy if you want to leave your
internet connection and possibly internal network wide open to
anyone. Then it's just plug-and-play.

However it can be quite hard to do properly and securely. This
is what has to be done to make it secure:

1) only allow access by network devices you trust. This is done by MAC address and can be spoofed easily, but is the first line of defense. Under windows open up a command shell or dos box and type: ipconfig /all

This will give you information on all network adapters including
your MAC addresses for all of them.

2) do not broadcast your SSID of your WI-FI network. This is the identifier that you setup in your wireless router so you and your neighbour can have two different networks for example. Broadcasting this tells everyone in the area: come look and my wireless network. Disable it

3) encrypt your traffic. Any encryption is better than none. Almost every router / card setup supports WEP encryption. The problem with this is that it is easily broken and used to hack into your network. The newer models (usually 54 mbit ones!) also support WPA. This is much more secure, use that.

This all depends on the kind of routers and cards you are getting.
I don't think I have seen any laptop yet with buildin support for
the newer more advanced WPA encryption. So that implies getting
a different card for the machines you want to hook up with in this

I would at least go with a router that has an internal firewall
that supports stateful packet filtering if you don't already have
such a device. It should also support disabling SSID broadcasting,
MAC filter and at least some form of encryption.

This can be quite daunting to do and you might want to get
someone who knows what they are doing to do it for you.
Otherwise you might want to bring the points I've brought up
with you when you go out shopping. Knowledgable people should
understand what this all is that I'm talking about.

The final hurdle will be configuring your firewall in the router to
let all the traffic you want go through. But that's a whole different
game all-together.

Good luck!

Rob Lohman,
DV Info Wrangler & RED Code Chef

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