Lock Down Your Wi-Fi Router

Monday Oct 26th 2009 by Aaron Weiss
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Aaron Weiss discusses securing a Wi-Fi router on a wired network, plus more networking fun with DHCP, DD-WRT and Tomato.

What happens when you add a Wi-Fi router to your wired LAN? In one reader’s case, security confusion sets in. Should he connect it through the LAN or the WAN port?

Aaron Weiss, the Wi-Fi Guru over at our sister site Wi-FiPlanet.com, weighs in on this and other pressing network questions. Plus, he adds his own quirky take on running your own hotspot out of a hotel room.


If you’ve traveled at all in recent years, you know that you can find some strange things in hotel rooms. Things like the mysterious location of the bathroom light switch, the irritating lack of any accessible power outlets anywhere near the bed, and of course that suspicious carpet stain that conjures up disturbing images.

Not to mention hotels that still charge for wireless Internet access, but provide wired access for free. Of course, to use the wired Internet you’ll probably be tethered to the desk, and it only serves one guest at a time. Solution? I like to travel with a wireless router, such as the CradlePoint CTR500 Cellular-ready travel router [reviewed here] or the Belkin Wireless G Travel Router.

Some of the smallest models easily slip between clothing layers in luggage, and then I set up my own personal hotspot in the hotel room. I suppose it’s possible some hotels might look askance, but it seems to me that setting up your own hotspot is preferable to stealing the towels. And the soap. And the shampoo. And the hangers.

Q: I've got a wired LAN, and one node is a Wi-Fi router. It's set up as FiOS->modem->router/firewall->various nodes (like computers, printers, and one Wi-Fi unit). The Wi-Fi router can be connected to the LAN thru either its WAN port, or one of its four LAN ports.

If a bad guy breaks into my Wi-Fi router then the results are different depending on if the Wi-Fi router is connected via its LAN ports or its WAN port, no? How do I configure it to use the WAN port instead? My main router/firewall is 192.168.1.1. —Tracy

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