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WEP-->WPA for protection on wireless network


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#1 black069

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 07:34 PM

Hello, everyone. I need help switching from WEP to WPA; I have seen at least a dozen times where insiders warn that WEP is not adequate for a wireless connection b/c of security concerns..."fairly easy to hack."

I have a fairly simple setup. I have a standard co-axial cable coming in from my cable provider (who provides high speed internet, cable TV, and home phone [by VoIP]). The cable connects to the back of my external cable/voice modem. From there, an Ethernet cable connects the modem to my wireless router (for my laptop). Another Ethernet cable connects my router to my desktop computer (the "LAN"…perhaps?). A USB cable connects my desktop computer to my printer/scanner/fax machine. Lastly, for my phone service and fax machine, I have a standard phone cable from the phone jack to the modem (for VoIP) with a splitter also connecting the phone line to the printer (for fax capabilities).

The specs of my devices are the following:

(1) Router = NetGear RangeMax Wireless Router WPN824 v2

(2) Desktop = Dell Dimension 4550. Intel Pentium 4. 2 GB of RAM. Windows XP Home SP3. Intel PRO/100 VE Network Connection.

(3) Laptop = Dell Precision M6300. Intel 2 Duo CPU. 2 GB of RAM. Windows XP Pro SP3. Intel PROSet/Wireless 3945 ABG Network Connection.

(4) Printer = HP Photosmart All-in-One C6180, which I somehow configured such that I can print (wirelessly) from my laptop.

I use Windows to manage/configure the connections on both the laptop & the desktop (as opposed to Intel software).

I am not able to (or don't know how to) transfer files, etc. from my laptop to my desktop and vice-versa across this network.

I really don't even know where to begin as far as changing from WEP to WPA. Do I change the settings on the router once I have logged in to Netgear's site on the net? Or do I use one of the network wizards in Control Panel? Or do I configure it using Windows software (right-clicking on the connection's icon—via Network Connections in Start Menu—then following advanced settings)?

A couple more questions, while I have you experts available for help....

Is it possible to set up a wireless network between my two computers to transfer files back & forth between the two?

Lastly, in the current setup, is my desktop computer being protected by the built-in firewall protection of my NAT router as my laptop is, and if not, can it be?

Thanks so much for anyone who is willing to help this poor soul who is a straight-up newbie when it comes to networking…even after trying to learn as much as possible on the net. :thumbsup:

Edited by black069, 29 September 2009 - 07:37 PM.



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#2 CaveDweller2

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 10:48 PM

First let me tell you, your post is AWESOME. You gave all the info needed to answer your questions =)

WEP and WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK are for wireless security only. The PSK stands for Pre-Shared Key. A little FYI there =)

Now switching from WEP to WPA is fairly easy. If your wireless card supports it. You'll need to check your wireless card, WPA settings should be listed where the WEP settings are. How you get to them is different depending on your setup. Once you know your wireless card supports WPA, I'd set up the router first. If it doesn't support WPA then you'll need to get the newest drivers for it. If the new drivers don't add WPA support then you'll need a new wireless card.

Changes to the router shouldn't be made by a wireless connection. So you should do this from your desktop.

Router WPA Settings
  • open a browser
  • type 192.168.1.1 and hit Enter
  • a box will pop up, the username is admin and the password is password, IF you haven't changed it, which is highly recommended.
  • on the left side click Wireless Settings
  • just click beside WPA and a little extra bit of the window will appear.
  • Go read the (*)
  • Enter in the phrase and click Apply
(*) A word about the phrase. It can be between 8 and 63 characters long. The longer the better. Using actual words is a bad idea. Just to give you an idea what you should use, this page has a WPA Key generator. I am not saying use a generated key, altho you can, but it will give you an idea what to use.

Is it possible to set up a wireless network between my two computers to transfer files back & forth between the two? Yes. With a wireless router. This page will explain pretty much everything. With all sharing I recommend having no firewalls up, they just add to any issue you might have. Once its set up and working you can add them back if you want.

Lastly, in the current setup, is my desktop computer being protected by the built-in firewall protection of my NAT router as my laptop is, and if not, can it be? This is up to a debate. If you do things correctly, computers on the LAN side of a router are protected from outside attack. That's not to say a hacker can't get past the router but if they can then what is any firewall going to stop them? A firewall running inside a LAN will stop other people inside the LAN from accessing your PC. This is my opinion =) If you want a good firewall have a look around this site, there should be more than a few recommended.

Hope this helps thumbup.gif

Associate in Applied Science - Network Systems Management - Trident Technical College


#3 Andrew

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 11:01 PM

*EDIT: well cavedweller beat me to the "submit" button, but here's my post anyway. Besides, Cavedweller was just a smidge off the mark when it came to accessing the router's config page: you'll need to go to http://192.168.0.1 to access it (192.168.1.1 is much more common, but not in this case.)

Also, like cavedweller said, your question rocks.



WEP isn't just "easy to hack" it's plain old broken, has been from the git-go.

Here's a guide on setting up security on your specific router: http://kb.netgear.com/app/answers/detail/a...2lkL2xoQTltY0pq

The part you want is about halfway down under the Configuring WPA-PSK Encryption section. You will also need to choose the passphrase. Your passphrase can be between 8 to 63 characters long (you only need to enter it into Windows' configuration once, so don't worry about making it the whole 63 characters. In fact, I recommend it! You can get a randomly generated passphrase here.)

To configure Windows (I'm assuming Windows XP here) to connect to the newly secured wireless network, please follow this guide (start with the section titled Configuring Wireless Clients)

To enable file sharing over your local network, please refer to this guide: http://www.practicallynetworked.com/sharin...filesharing.htm

As to your last question, the answer is yes. Any computer accessing the internet via the router it is protected by the router's firewall.

Edited by Amazing Andrew, 29 September 2009 - 11:07 PM.


#4 black069

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 04:38 PM

Thanks for the advice, Amazing Andrew and CaveDweller2.

I had to send my laptop in to Dell b/c of a hardware issue, so I haven't been able to implement your recommendations for several days.


I was wondering if either of you could make a recommendation as far as whether to use AES or TKIP (for the PSK with WPA/WPA2).

Secondly, I was planning on going with WPA2 as opposed to WPA b/c I read in at least one source that WPA-2 fully complies with the latest 802.11i (??) standards, whereas WPA still has some theoretical, if not actual, security flaws.

So two questions:
(1) AES vs. TKIP
(2) WPA vs. WPA2

My wireless card (Intel PROSet/Wireless 3945ABG Network Connection) supports all of the above protocols, or at least it lists them as choices from which to make the selection.

Thanks a megaton. Hope you had a Happy Columbus Day. :thumbsup:



------------


Off the subject a bit: that last remark was somewhat tongue-in-cheek...not the "happy....day" part, but about the “Columbus” part. If we are going to have such a day to celebrate discovery, which I'm not convinced we should in the first place since, of course, the "New World" was already inhabited, shouldn't it at least be Leif Ericson Day or something? Hmmm....Actually, I just Googled "Leif Ericson" b/c I wasn't sure how to spell his last name, and the first "Google Suggestion" was for "Leif Ericson Day." Apparently the U.S. observes, on Oct. 9th, Leif Ericson (aka Leifr Eirksson) Day to honor him as the one who brought the first Europeans known to have set foot in North America. Interestingly, we have being doing this since 1964. I never knew this. I am assuming the difference (between it and Columbus Day) is that the former is a federal observance, as opposed to a Holiday. Learn something new (almost) every day, eh? Actually, you two could be from Sri Lanka and Liechtenstein for all I know and hence couldn’t care less.



#5 CaveDweller2

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 05:19 PM

AES vs TKIP = Just match the router and the card. AES is a little stronger. TKIP seems to be a little more popular.

WPA vs WPA2 = Again match the router and card. WPA2 is new and stronger.

....................

I live in the US. Altho I knew about Leif, I didn't know there was a "day" for him. Thanks for that little tid bit of information. =)

Hope this helps thumbup.gif

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#6 black069

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Posted 10 November 2009 - 09:38 AM

I have successfully switched over from WEP to WPA-2 without much problem. However, I have been trying for weeks to figure out the "Simple" File Sharing using the guides both of you gave me, but it just flat out is not working. I don't know if the problem is that my laptop is XP Pro and my desktop is XP Home; or if it is because of a "Service" that I have disabled or enabled, etc. Or maybe the "Internet Connection Firewall" of which they speak is the same as Windows XP Firewall and that is confusing me....forming a public vs. private network and all that. I am just one person with 2 computers who wants to share all files/folders (that can be shared) between my wireless laptop and my desktop.

Is there something I'm missing? I can describe my "network" to you in a subsequent post if that would help. I do have a "network" because I am able to wirelessly connect to the internet with my laptop (b/c of my router). And I can also print wirelessly to my printer which is connected to my router and desktop. But I cannot share files/folders between my laptop and my desktop computers at all.

Please help if you can. This is something I have been trying to figure out for years, and I feel like I am somewhat close.

Please....

Thanks.






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