Home network security.

When you install a router, you are establishing a home network. With this network, each of your computers communicates with the router which acts like a gateway. The router makes a single connection to the internet through its connection to the Alvrian modem (through an Ethernet cable) and it enables each computer to share that connection.

The Linksys division of Cisco has a good discussion of network security and the role of routers, and hardware and software firewalls. Click here to open a new browser window with that article.

Most home networks employ wireless technology so that the computers can be located a distance from the router. However, this leaves the network open to any nearby computer that has a wireless adapter.

In some cases, you may want to restrict access to the home network. Two simple approaches to home network security are described below:

  • Password protection. This method involves establishing a password that must be entered by any computer that seeks to access the network.
  • MAC address filtering. (The MAC address number has nothing to do with Apple Macintosh. It is a unique number for every piece of wireless hardware. This number is available from the router if the device in question is on the network.) With this method the router allows access only to those computers that are on a pre-defined list. The list contains the MAC address of each approved computer.

The procedure for either of these methods is unique to the router manufacturer (Linksys, Netgear, etc.). Check your instruction manual or contact the manufacturer of your router. They usually provide online instructions and also offer telephone support.