How to Secure Your Wireless Router

By Michael O. Smathers

If you've just gotten a wireless router and want to connect to the Internet, there's an important safety precaution you need to take beforehand: securing your wireless router. The router transmits and receives data from the modem and computers connected to the network. Because the network is wireless, any computer within range of the router's signal can piggyback onto your wireless connection, using bandwidth and potentially accessing your personal data.

Step 1

Connect your wireless router per the instructions in your user manual.

Step 2

Open your Internet browser and enter the IP address assigned to your router. Major manufacturers assign different default IP addresses to their routers. For example, Netgear routers use 192.168.0.1 while Linksys uses 192.168.1.1. Consult your manual for details.

Step 3

Log in to your router configuration by typing the username and password specified in your manual.

Step 4

Set your Service Set Identificatier (SSID) by typing it into the box. This is the name of your wireless network. Make it a unique phrase; the default SSID is usually the name of the router manufacturer, such as Netgear or Belkin.

Step 5

Set your wireless network's security protocol to WPA 2.0 -- Wi-Fi Protected Access. This encrypts any data sent over the network and allows access only to users who have the security key. Set your security key as something not easily guessed. A string of random numbers and letters is recommended. Be sure to record this security key in a safe place so you can recall it when adding a new device to your network or changing network security settings.