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Posted By: JValdes

Router - 12/23/09 07:49 PM

I just received a wireless router for a new laptop I got my wife for Christmas. It is a Lyksys 'N' Ultra Range plus. 300 mbps. Model WRT160N.

My house is about 2500 square ft and she will have at minimum, 1 block wall and one studded wall between the router and the laptop point of use. There are doors leading to all areas, and attic space above. I am counting on this routers range to be effective anywhere in the house? Comments, suggestions appreciated.....Thanks John
Posted By: EV607797

Re: Router - 12/23/09 09:42 PM

You should be OK. My house is 3,000 SF and I get good signal from the second floor to the basement, even with a wireless IP phone. The signal does degrade when I get more than about 50 feet outside the house, but then I'd want it to be that way.
Posted By: gfretwell

Re: Router - 12/23/09 10:05 PM

I can see my neighbor's router and he is 3 houses away but I do have LOS.
Posted By: Trumpy

Re: Router - 12/23/09 10:20 PM

Sounds OK to me.
I have my router out in my workshop in behind the house and it covers pretty much all of my property.
When I first installed it, I had the opposite problem to you, in that I ended up turning it's transmit power down to about 70%, the less people that know you've got a wireless network, the better.

One thing I have learned with routers over the last few years, is to protect both the phone line and the mains input with surge diverter units, I'm on my fourth router in about 3 years due to voltage spikes and other such things.

One thing I cannot stress enough, is to use some sort of security on your network, WPA2 is the hardest to hack, so I'm told, but even just hiding your SSID can help make your network a bit more invisible to those outside your network.
Posted By: gfretwell

Re: Router - 12/24/09 12:59 AM

Mike, be sure you have the phone, TV cable and Telco surge protected at the service entrance and be sure you are all on the same ground electrode system with as short an GEC as you can get between surge protectors.

I still put ferrite beads on the cables past there and use aux surge protection at the machines that bonds all inputs together.

As for WiFi, I won't turn it on. I like wire.
Posted By: JValdes

Re: Router - 12/24/09 07:03 PM

Originally Posted by gfretwell

As for WiFi, I won't turn it on. I like wire.

Greg, Do you mean data wires physically run to the devices? I was going to run cat5e over to her work station and then changed my mind and went wireless. So she could use it anywhere in the house. I already had a 4 port router.
I live out in the country and the closest neighbor is about 75 yards from me and they have no network, I think.
If someone were to park in front of my house on the road, they would be at minimum 100' away.

Should I be concerned? And what steps should I take to prevent intrusion? I know nothing about this stuff. I use my PC for financial transactions.
The router itself has a firewall and "Wi-Fi Protected Setup". I have no idea what that means. It also says it has "Trend Micro" security software. I am familiar with Trend Micro. I also have protection on the main PC and the laptop.
I really do appreciate your responses.....John
Posted By: EV607797

Re: Router - 12/24/09 07:38 PM

As for WiFi, I won't turn it on. I like wire.

Amen, Greg. Wired is the safest way to go.


I have most of my devices wired to the router (and switch), but I do have one wireless IP phone so I kept the wireless transmitter turned on in my router. I also like for guests to be able to use their laptops when visiting, although I have wired outlets in most rooms for this purpose.

There's no doubt that the network should be set up with a unique SSID and password at a minimum. That alone will weed out the amateur hackers. John, remember that most of them are just neighbors who are too cheap to pay for their own Internet service. In those cases, your biggest risk is likely to be their surfing porn sites on your account. Still, you can never be too careful with secure account information.

If you are comfortable with a fixed set of devices on your network, try to go wired. If that isn't practical, then next level of security is to disable the DHCP function of your router and give each of your devices (computers, printers, etc.) their own unique IP address. Without an IP address that YOU assign in the router, it won't talk to a stranger's computer.

If this is all more than you feel you can handle, it wouldn't cost much to have a local "techie" come out and set up the security for you. That would probably be money well-spent.
Posted By: gfretwell

Re: Router - 12/24/09 09:35 PM

I just like wired devices. I suppose I could make a secure wireless network but since we don't have any portable PCs there is no real need for it. I do have a mile or two of wire strung around here that my wife hates but the cat 5 is just a small part of the problem.
We are about to switch from cable to satellite so I will probably end up with more wire.
I am going to clean it up SOME day ... but not today. wink
Posted By: gfretwell

Re: Router - 12/24/09 10:06 PM

As for range, My neighbor has a Linksys router at "X" and I can see it at "Y" but I don't know how well it would actually transmit and significant amount of data.
Posted By: JValdes

Re: Router - 12/25/09 07:57 PM

Thanks everyone. Yes, I know about the el-cheapos that use others wireless networks for their Internet use. My sisters kids use their neighbors. They say the neighbor has allowed this.
My nephew also told me all I needed was a password? That he can pull up a list of all the wireless networks available to him in the neighborhood. He can also see if it is password protected? He then picks the one thats not password protected and uses it, as his own. His house is his free Wi-Fi spot.
He also told me he was able to get into one account that was password protect, by guessing the password. He also told me not to worry as someone could only use my connection, not see what I am doing or access any of my accounts? Is this true?

Greg. That shot of you're neighborhood makes me feel somewhat better. My house would be the only one visible in that shot.

Posted By: gfretwell

Re: Router - 12/25/09 08:30 PM

As long as nobody is serious about sniffing your connection you should be OK but there are tricks using coffee cans or DSS dishes that let them reach out to pretty much anything they can see.
The thing you have to worry about is someone getting into your system if you have file sharing turned on.
Posted By: JValdes

Re: Router - 12/26/09 10:07 PM

This network will consist of one laptop. Nothing else. My desk top will serve the DSL Modem and Router physically connected. Then the only thing left for wireless will be her laptop, and occasional use by my Daughters when they visit. I plan to password protect, consider any security suggestions from you guys, security suggestions from the router manufacturer and what I can find online.
Once again I appreciate you working with me. Your help is so valuable, and FREE!!!!.........John

PS.....I do not plan to share files? I mean, what is on my wifes PC and whats on my PC will remain private/separate.
Posted By: EV607797

Re: Router - 12/27/09 01:17 AM

You'll be fine. It isn't often that files really get shared in home networks. Most of the time, people just copy documents onto floppies, CDs or USB "thumb" drives to transfer files between computers. Even if you add a network printer, that's not really considered file sharing.

I'm using a D-Link #DIR625 router that offers the best of both the wired and wireless worlds. I've had it for about two years and couldn't be happier with it. I'm sure that there is a new and improved version by now, but who knows....You might find one on E-Bay.

Free? You didn't receive my invoice yet?...... [Linked Image]
Posted By: gfretwell

Re: Router - 12/27/09 01:58 AM has several wireless routers in the $20-30 range.
I think I paid $28 the other day shipped for one I sent my daughter.

I use file sharing a lot on my network. I have one machine that is basically a server and has a RAIDed backup set that also has music and TV files on it. I used to "sneaker net" files around on diskettes but the size of files made that impossible. I went to a SCSI drive in an AS/400 "shoe box" but that requires SCSI cards in all of your machines. Once I got my replay TV a router was necessary and the network grew from that. I usually have 8 to 10 machines connected at any given time. There are 4 in the living room.

BTW a network printer is probably the first thing you will want. You can get one of those little print servers that will hook to just about any printer.
Posted By: noderaser

Re: Router - 12/27/09 06:24 AM

You can also share printers, although you'd need to leave the "host" computer on in order for the shared printer to be accessible by your other computers. Otherwise, there are portable print servers that will turn a USB or Parallel printer into a networked one.

Be careful with GearXS; a lot of the stuff they sell is OEM or surplus and doesn't include the full packaging, even though their pictures show otherwise. While that doesn't mean the product will be defective, manuals and software discs generally aren't included. I've also been burned by them on a returned defective keyboard; sent it back and they claim they never received it, and USPS delivery confirmation does not provide enough information for them to say whether they actually received it or not.
Posted By: gfretwell

Re: Router - 12/27/09 08:04 AM

I have been OK with them so far but there are plenty of places out there.
I was suggesting the stand alone print server, not a PC attached printer. In fact some printers even have the server built in or as an option but the plug in server works for me.
We gave my granddaughter one of those Disney/Acer notebooks for Christmas. She thought it was cool hitting print on her machine and having a page pop out back in my computer room. I didn't want to tease her with my MP3 and video library that is in the file server since it wouldn't be at her house.
One thing I like is anything on my Replay TV DVR is also accessible on the network and you can play them with the VLC player.
That makes any PC a TV monitor. I suppose if I turned on the WiFi my neighbors could watch too.
Posted By: JValdes

Re: Router - 12/27/09 07:50 PM

I have the lynksys (Cisco) "Wireless-N Broadband" router. Model WRT160N. 300Mbps.
I got it at Tigerdirect for around $70.00. I was told that it was a good price?

Got good news today. The laptop has shipped. I am probably more excited than my wife is. lol!
It was her Christmas gift. But I was also tired of waiting my turn for PC use. Now she has hers and I have mine.
Posted By: Trumpy

Re: Router - 12/30/09 03:05 AM

Is that Linksys router brand new?
I used to own a Linksys WRT54GL gateway some time back.
I had heard at the time that Cisco Systems was canning the Linksys brand.

It was a really good unit, until it was killed by a voltage spike.

Just be aware that this could be a counterfeit copy.
I'm not saying it is, but these days, it's really hard to tell.
Posted By: noderaser

Re: Router - 12/30/09 04:08 AM

Most of it is cobranded as "Linksys by Cisco" with both logos. I think they (Cisco) is using Linksys more as a consumer line of products, rather than a subsidiary brand.
Posted By: EV607797

Re: Router - 12/30/09 06:01 PM

Cisco bought Linksys a few years ago. They still market under both brand names with Cisco being targeted at the higher-end commercial users and Linsys being more for the consumer/soho market.

Oh and John, the price you paid is fine. Even after shipping and handling costs, you still probably paid a bit less than you'd have paid at a retail outlet.
Posted By: JValdes

Re: Router - 12/31/09 07:36 PM

Thanks everyone. I got everything up and running. I had to call Cisco to get the router set up. When I set up the Internet connection for the new laptop it asked for the router pin #. I went through all the steps to make sure the setup is protected. The only time I needed to create a password was when I set up the router. I did not need the password for the laptop, just the router pin #. But, I have no way to prove that it is password protected.?
I guess I will have to get someone with a laptop to see if they can get onto my network?
Once again, Thanks!!!!
Posted By: Tiger1vic

Re: Router - 05/29/10 12:05 AM

What an informative site this is! I had to join just to contribute, so here's my first contribution.

Seeing if someone can get into your router is not the recommended test of security! I deal with wired and wireless networks in hospitals with hundreds of nodes in multiple sites and here is what I'd recommend.

First let me clear up some confusion. You've mentioned passwords and PIN's and seem to be confused about the functions and differences. There is a password required to get into the router's administration console and a "key" (which is what I think you're calling a "PIN") which is used for encryption. You are the only one that needs to get into the admin console so the password is only for your own use.

Most home routers can be configured using a wired connection and a supplied CD, or you can forget the CD and just manually set the IP address of your connected computer to one that's in the same subnet as your router. So if your router has a default address of (and a netmask of you could set your computer to and the same netmask. Then open your Internet browser and type in the IP address of the router. That should bring you to the default administration page.

There is a password required to login to your router for administering it --> make SURE you change it... immediately! Everyone knows (or can easily find) the default password for your router as set by the manufacturer. Usually it's username "admin" and password "admin". Leave the username alone but set your new password to something reasonably complex (not your dog's name or your street number, etc.) and make a note of it. If lost, you can still get back into the admin screen of your router but only by resetting all the configuration back to factory defaults and starting over. If you skip this step and someone gets into your router they "own" your network and everything on it!

There are several aspects to securing your router. What you've been referring to as "password" or "PIN" is not actually the password - it's an encryption "key" that is used to encrypt the wireless data so it cannot be read by outsiders "sniffing" the network. That's assuming you have logged into your router and set it to use WPA or WPA2 encryption (please don't use WEP if available; it is easily cracked). Stronger keys make for stronger encryption, so again, use something that is reasonably complex. This will be required when setting up your laptop to connect so make a note of it. If your laptop sees an "unsecured wireless network", that's someone that has not done this step and their router can be freely used by anyone in the area. You don't want that.

There is also something called a SSID, which is what your laptop will display when you ask it to show all available wireless networks in the area. This is not terribly important; it's more a means of differentiating your network from others in the immediate area, so that clients (eg: your laptop) know which one to connect to. However, there's another security measure you can take and that is to make the SSID non-broadcast (security through obscurity). That just means it still exists but is not advertised, so anyone wanting to connect to it has to know (or guess) what it is. This is okay if you're the only one that's going to connect, but impractical if multiple guest users are going to be using it. And it's not much of a security measure by itself. When you set up your wireless connection on your laptop, you will specify the SSID and the WPA key chosen here, allowing it to make contact and establish a secure, encrypted connection. If it's non-broadcast, your laptop will not report it but don't worry - just go ahead and set it up anyway. Once the laptop has the required info it can find it.

Your router will have firewall rules too - these are rules about what traffic is allowed to pass through the router and/or in what direction. They are beyond the realm of this post but do read up on them. Basically you want to deny everything coming in from the outside, which is how most routers are configured by default, but you should look to be sure. You may also have the option of passing traffic through to a particular computer on the inside (a DMZ or server) - this is dangerous if you don't know what you're doing and it is unnecessary unless you need to run some kind of server behind your router.

I've given you more of a "what-to-do" rather than a "how-to", so you may have to consult your router's documentation. There's lots of detail on the Linksys site and elsewhere on the Internet, but if you do these basic steps you will be well on your way to having a secure wireless network.
Posted By: Trumpy

Re: Router - 05/30/10 06:11 AM

Welcome to ECN, mate.
That post is brilliant!
One point about the Network key, that I don't think some people realise is that it uses Hexi-decimals (0-9,A-F).
You can make quite a complex string of numbers/letters in your key.

Another thing about passwords, is don't fall into the trap of using easily typed strings like 123456 or QWERTYU.

Posted By: noderaser

Re: Router - 05/30/10 06:21 AM

I use a random password generator to make an 8 character alphanumeric key... Could use more, but then it gets tricky to remember and/or read it off to guests.
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