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Tip of the Week: Improving Your Wireless Network

Tip of the Week: Improving Your Wireless Network

A company’s wireless network is a big part of what they do. Not only does it provide the freedom for people to move around, it also spurs on collaboration, enhances coordination, and provides more availability for people to be productive. Problems abound with many organizations’ Wi-Fi strategy, however. If your business doesn't take proactive measures to properly manage your wireless connections, they may not be as effective or secure as you need them to be. Today, we’ll give you a few tips to make your wireless platform strong and resilient.

The Router
The router you use has a lot to do with the available breadth of your wireless network, as well as its security. Choosing a router can be a little difficult, mainly because there are so many options. If you are having problems choosing a router, consider how much ground you have to cover and what options you need. Use these variables to choose the right router for you:

  • It is within your budgetary constraints
  • It supports Internet speeds you pay for
  • The space your router needs to cover
  • The devices the router has to support
  • Ensure that any router you choose supports WPA2 encryption

Once you’ve made your choice, getting it set up in a place that can be most effective is important. If you are trying to get your router to broadcast a signal throughout your business, you’ll want to test it out first. If you find a nice central space, but the router’s signal doesn’t provide much for coverage at the ends of your projected area, you may be better off mounting the router on one side or the other and employing a Wi-Fi repeater.

The Repeater
A Wi-Fi repeater (or extender) is used to extend the wireless signal coming from your wireless router to reach a larger surface area. In this way, the area you need signal to, gets it. The Wi-Fi repeater contains in it two wireless routers. One of the routers picks up the Wi-Fi signal coming off your network’s central router, while the other picks up that signal and transmits it in the same way your central router does. The fortunate part of using a Wi-Fi repeater is that you only need to place it in a location within the broadcast radius of your central router, and simply plug it into your average outlet.

Security
Properly securing your organization’s wireless network takes a little more diligence than setting one up does. Fortunately, the router will do a lot of the heavy lifting, as long as you take steps to properly set up your wireless network.

Firstly, ensure that your WPA2 encryption is turned on. Some models are still using the antiquated Wireless Equivalent Privacy (WEP) encryption that has been shown to be easily penetrated. WPA2, or Wi-Fi Protected Access 2, is the standard and is much more secure.

Next, you’ll want to name your wireless network (SSID) something that will help identify it and follow that up with a long and complex password. This will assure people looking for wireless access know they are getting onto a secure network, while working to make it far more secure against people looking to infiltrate the network.

Finally, when you are in the router’s settings changing the SSID and password, you’ll want to turn on your router’s firewall. This will provide you an extra layer of security against outside threats.

Also, make sure you change the admin password on the actual router itself, since most router passwords can be looked up online.

For a complete rundown of best practices and other tips to create a comprehensive wireless network, call the IT pros at Endpoint I.T. today at (409) 835-1600.

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