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A Little More About Router Safety

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008 by | Filed Under: Security Help
 
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A Little More About Router Safety

It seems like everyday, I get at least one e-mail with a question about routers. The questions range from “Which router is the most secure?” to “What does wireless B, G, N mean?” and so on.

Well, it’s pretty obvious to me that a lot of you out there would like some clarification on routers. I will do my best to answer as many questions as I can here today. Here we go!

What do the letters mean? About half of the e-mails I receive ask about the letters on the end of the wireless router. Most routers you find today are listed as Wireless B, Wireless G or Wireless N. Those letters indicate the protocol the wireless router uses to communicate with the wireless computer’s network card. The letters also represent the speed and range of the wireless router.

Wireless G routers are the most common as of now. They are what most people get and they are the most reasonably priced. They usually have a good enough range to work inside your home or out on your patio. They support speed much faster than what your ISP can supply as well. Even more, you will never experience any slow downs when using a wireless G router.

Wireless N routers are the new, long distance routers. They will connect more reliably over a larger range and work better in homes with thicker walls and through basement floors. They have three antennas and also cost quite a bit more. If you feel like you will have signal issues in your home, wireless N is the way to go. But, there’s also a catch.

When it comes to wireless G and N, they work the best when connecting to a computer that has a network card of the same type. Most computers that come with wireless cards have a built in wireless G card. That means if you buy a wireless N router, you will not see the same dramatic increase in range. When looking for a router, it’s important to know what kind of wireless card you have. If you’re setting up a new network, you should buy matching network cards and routers. If you’re buying a new computer with a wireless network card, you should ask the sales person about the protocol for what the computer’s card will support.

Which is more secure? Well, there are many varieties of wireless routers on the market today. I have written before about how to make your wireless connection secure, but does it matter which type of router you buy? Yes and no. In most cases, the brand of wireless router will not change the security abilities of the router. Most companies make routers with varying security standards. Some are easier to configure and some are more advanced.

No matter which brand you choose, you should look for a few things in a router when it comes to security. First, check the box to see that it is a router and firewall combination. That means it will provide security by blocking ports that are not being used. That provides a great deal of security. Secondly, make sure the router has the proper wireless security features. The router should support wireless encryption, including WPA and WEP. It should also support MAC filtering and it should have the ability to turn off the SSID broadcast. Those features may not be listed on the box, so you might need to do a little research before you buy. There you go!

Until next time, stay safe out there, my friends!

~ Gary

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