Wireless Network Installation
SRB Data Services offers professional installation and setup of your WiFi wireless router & network for safe and secure operation with the personal attention not always found at large retail electronics and office stores. Please call or e‑mail to schedule an installation.
Although WiFi is convenient, it can be frustrating if it doesn't work smoothly. The main problems encountered are frequent disconnection from the router or dropouts and stuttering when streaming audio or video content. There is little impact on enjoyment if there is a brief hiccup when loading a webpage or transferring files, but any dropouts or pauses in real-time audio or video streams simply can't be tolerated. Some installation guidelines to consider are:
- Locate the router in the most central location in your home relative to where you will be using your wireless computers and devices. This might not necessarily be next to where your cable or DSL modem is located but keep in mind that the Ethernet cable connecting the router to your modem can be up to 100 meters (328 feet) in length.
- Don't locate the router on the floor, up against walls or next to large metal objects like file cabinets and appliances.
- 2.4GHz wireless home phones, baby monitors, alarm systems, other WiFi networks and a variety of other wireless consumer devices can cause interference with the 2.4GHz band of WiFi routers. If you have a 2.4GHz phone, try to locate the router away from the phone's base station. If you are going to be purchasing a new home wireless phone, consider one of the newer DECT 6.0 models that use a 1.9GHz frequency band that won't cause interference and will also give you better range and security than 5.8GHz models.
Two recommended wireless router brands that deliver good performance and reliability are:
|Click photos to enlarge
Most wireless router manufacturers make an ongoing effort to improve the firmware for their units by offering updates. Make sure your router has the latest available firmware even if it is a brand new model just out of the box.
The latest firmware will enable your router to have the best possible performance and reliability and even ocassionally add additional features.
If the distance is too great or there are too many physical obstacles, one of these devices may help with poor reception.
- Wireless Range Extender: A wireless range extender or repeater can help extend coverage to dead spots and is an often needed network accessory in larger homes and those with several floors.
- Powerline Network Adapter: While technically not a wireless device, it can be an effective solution for a media device that has an Ethernet port. It uses your home's AC wiring as the network path and works much like a wired Ethernet connection unaffected by distance or obstacles.
Video streaming is more problematic than audio streaming due to much larger bandwith requirements. In my home I was unable to maintain a consistent wireless HD video stream to my Media Center Extender with the signal having to pass through several plaster walls with wire mesh underlayment.
I was able to run an Ethernet cable for a trouble-free connection but if that is not feasible one of the aforementioned devices can probably solve the problem.
Wireless networks obviously have the greatest potential for unauthorized use or hacking. Abuse can be as innocuous as a neighbor stealing Internet bandwith to more potentially damaging intrusions by hackers. Increased security only takes a few extra minutes of management time and is well worth the small effort.
- Change the default Administrator Account Password to a unique "strong" Password.
- Use WPA2 security with a "strong" Security Passphrase.
- Use MAC Address Filtering if your wireless router or access point supports it. Every computer's network interface card has a unique MAC address and only specific computers that you add to the Access List can access your network. It only takes a few minutes to add a new computer or other wireless device and enables a good additional security layer.
Once added, that device will remain in the list so if you have friends or family who visit and like to access the Internet with their smartphones, tablets, netbooks or laptops, you only have to add their device to the Access List the first time.
- Don't broadcast the wireless SSID Network Name.
- Don't use WPS (WiFi Protected Setup) and it should be disabled in the router administrative setup. WPS was developed in an effort to make adding a wireless device a bit easier by only requiring a single a PIN number to be entered into the client device (either manually entered or automatically issued from a push button on certain WPS-enabled routers) instead of entering both the SSID Network Name and Security Passphrase.
The US-CERT (United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team) issued an alert in January 2012 that WPS presented a security risk because it was vulnerable to brute-force attacks and made a recommendation against its use. It is possible that the vulnerability might be addressed in a manufacturer's firmware update, but since configuring a wireless device with the SSID Network Name and Security Passphrase only takes a bit longer, the recommendation would be to not use WPS and to disable it.