Wireless Network Technology

Wireless technology has been an integral part of the lives of the people throughout the world. Furthermore, we rely on it directly or indirectly. From the time we open our eyes until we fall asleep, wireless technology has been integrated to us.

According to http://www.wikipedia.com,

A wireless network is any type of computer network that uses wireless data connections for connecting network node.

Wireless networking is a method by which homes, telecommunications networks and enterprise (business) installations avoid the costly process of introducing cables into a building, or as a connection between various equipment locations. Wireless telecommunications networks are generally implemented and administered using radio communication. This implementation takes place at the physical level (layer) of the OSI model network structure.

Examples of wireless networks include cell phone networks, Wireless local area networks (WLANs), wireless sensor networks, satellite communication networks, and terrestrial microwave networks.

Wireless network technology provides a lot of opportunities especially in businesses. It is a powerful tool for increasing productivity and encouraging information sharing. The following are some ways businesses are taking advantages of wireless technology:

Increased mobility and collaboration

  • Roam without losing your connection
  • Work together more effectively

Employees who use your wireless LAN can roam around your office or to different floors without losing their connection. Imagine everyone in a team meeting or in small conferences having access to up-to-the minute communications, and all documents and applications on your network. Similarly, using Voice over Wireless LAN technology, they can have roaming capabilities in their voice communications.

Improved responsiveness

  • Connect to the information you need when you need it
  • Provide better customer service

Customers want quick response to queries and concerns. A wireless network can improve customer service by connecting staff to the information they need. For example, a doctor in a small medical office can access online patient files while moving between exam rooms, or a retail sales person can check on available inventory necessary to write up orders on the showroom floor.

Better access to information

  • Connect hard-to-reach areas
  • Improve your processes

Wireless LANs allow a business to bring network access to areas that would be difficult to connect to a wired network. For example, adding wireless access points to a warehouse can make it easier to check and manage inventory, providing the company with accurate inventory figures in real time.

Easier network expansion

  • Add users quickly
  • Grow your network cost-effectively

Companies that need to add employees or reconfigure offices frequently will immediately benefit from the flexibility wireless LANs provide. Desks can be moved and new employees can be added to the network without the effort and cost required to run cables and wires.

Enhanced guest access

  • Give secure network access to customers and business partners
  • Offer a value-added service

A wireless network allows your business to provide secure wireless access to the Internet for guests such as customers or business partners. Retailers, restaurants, hotels and other public-facing businesses can provide this as a unique value-added service.

http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/small-business/resource-center/work-anywhere/why-go-wireless.html

Since wireless technology allows people to access to the internet, security of it should be ensured to avoid leak of information and your personal data.

Going wireless generally requires connecting an internet “access point” – like a cable or DSL modem – to a wireless router, which sends a signal through the air, sometimes as far as several hundred feet. Any device within range can pull the signal from the air and access the internet.

Unless you take certain precautions, anyone nearby can use your network. That means your neighbors – or any hacker nearby – could “piggyback” on your network or access information on your device. If an unauthorized person uses your network to commit crime or send spam, the activity could be traced back to your account.

  • Use Encryption on Your Wireless Network

Once you go wireless, you should encrypt the information you send over your wireless network, so that nearby attackers can’t eavesdrop on these communications. Encryption scrambles the information you send into a code so that it’s not accessible to others. Using encryption is the most effective way to secure your network from intruders.

Two main types of encryption are available for this purpose: Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) and Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP). Your computer, router, and other equipment must use the same encryption. WPA2 is strongest; use it if you have a choice. It should protect you against most hackers. Some older routers use only WEP encryption, which likely won’t protect you from some common hacking programs. Consider buying a new router with WPA2 capability.

Wireless routers often come with the encryption feature turned off. You must turn it on. The directions that come with your router should explain how. If they don’t, check the company’s website.

  • Limit Access to Your Network

Allow only specific devices to access your wireless network. Every device that is able to communicate with a network is assigned a unique Media Access Control (MAC) address. Wireless routers usually have a mechanism to allow only devices with particular MAC addresses to access to the network. Some hackers have mimicked MAC addresses, so don’t rely on this step alone.

  • Secure Your Router

It’s also important to protect your network from attacks over the internet by keeping your router secure. Your router directs traffic between your local network and the internet. So, it’s your first line of defense for guarding against such attacks. If you don’t take steps to secure your router, strangers could gain access to sensitive personal or financial information on your device. Strangers also could seize control of your router, to direct you to fraudulent websites.

Change the name of your router from the default. The name of your router (often called the service set identifier or SSID) is likely to be a standard, default ID assigned by the manufacturer. Change the name to something unique that only you know.

Change your router’s pre-set password(s). The manufacturer of your wireless router probably assigned it a standard default password that allows you to set up and operate the router, as its “administrator.” Hackers know these default passwords, so change it to something only you know.  The same goes for any default “user” passwords. Use long and complex passwords – think at least 12 characters, with a mix of numbers, symbols, and upper and lower case letters. Visit the company’s website to learn how to change the password.

Turn off any “Remote Management” features. Some routers offer an option to allow remote access to your router’s controls, such as to enable the manufacturer to provide technical support.  Never leave this feature enabled. Hackers can use them to get into your home network.

Log out as Administrator: Once you’ve set up your router, log out as administrator, to lessen the risk that someone can piggyback on your session to gain control of your device.

Keep your router up-to-date: To be secure and effective, the software that comes with your router needs occasional updates. Before you set up a new router and periodically thereafter, visit the manufacturer’s website to see if there’s a new version of the software available for download. To make sure you hear about the latest version, register your router with the manufacturer and sign up to get updates.

And when you secure your router, don’t forget to secure your computer too. Use the same  basic computer security practices that you would for any computer connected to the internet. For example, use protections like antivirus, antispyware, and a firewall — and keep these protections up-to-date.

  • Protect Your Network during Mobile Access

Apps now allow you to access your home network from a mobile device. Before you do, be sure that some security features are in place.

Use a strong password on any app that accesses your network. Log out of the app when you’re not using it.  That way, no one else can access the app if your phone is lost or stolen.

Password protect your phone or other mobile device. Even if your app has a strong password, it’s best to protect your device with one, too.

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0013-securing-your-wireless-network

These are some of the ways to secure safe usage of wireless network.

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