Do you use Wi-Fi at the office or in your home?
In today’s world, the answer is most likely yes. Now that by itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as long as you’re taking necessary precautions to protect your sensitive data.
I want to cover three primary concerns about Wi-Fi in this article:
- The best security protocol for protecting your Wi-Fi usage
- How to reduce your risk
- What causes slow Wi-Fi speeds and what you can do about it
I want to be clear, that the most important reason to secure your Wi-Fi signal isn’t to keep others from using it and slowing down your Internet speeds, but mainly to make it more difficult for hackers or malicious users to “sniff” sensitive data that is being transmitted over the wi-fi signal (use that link for a more technical explanation). Sensitive data like credit card information and account logins.
A hidden Wi-Fi signal can still be found and MAC Address filtering is more of a management tool than security because MAC Addresses can be easily changed to resemble one of the “allowed” devices.
What to do…
The best security measure is to have a strong passphrase with WPA2 encryption. This encryption, to date, is the hardest thing to crack.
This WPA2 encryption is protecting your data as it is being transmitted through the wireless signal. Even if somebody is able to see and sniff that encrypted data, they won’t be able to access it.
Having a strong passphrase is the most important thing you can do because the only way for somebody to see the data being transmitted over a wireless signal with WPA2 encryption is to first be logged into your wi-fi.
Reduce Your Risk
It’s not a bad idea to hid your wi-fi signal, use MAC address filtering, and have a strong WPA2 passphrase. Combing these makes you less venerable to the average user, who wont be able to see your signal and quite looking.
If your router doesn’t offer the WPA2 level of encryption, it’s time to get a new one! We recommend using a TP-Link Router, for your smaller network needs.
For in-office Internet use, one way to reduce your risk would be to make sure that each computer is connected to the Internet via an ethernet cable, instead of the wi-fi signal. At least those computers that are being used to transmit or access sensitive company data.
If you’re offering free wi-fi for customers at your place of business, make sure you read these articles to ensure you’re taking the best approach.
- Is Free Wi-Fi Good for Business? (PCWorld)
- How to Setup Public Wi-Fi at Your Business (PCWorld)
- 4 Ways Businesses Use Free Wi-Fi to Better Serve Their Customers (CIO.com)
Speed and Other Issues
Generally, if you’re noticing issues with wi-fi connectivity, your device keeps dropping off the network, you might need to reposition your router in a more central location or get a new one with a stronger signal. Other devices such as a cordless phone in the home or office, could be interfering with the wi-fi signal.
As for speed, there are a couple possible culprits.
- Too many devices connected and using the Internet at the same time
- Too much activity, streaming, downloading, uploading, etc
- Make sure the router is in a good location (mentioned above)
- The ISP (Internet Service Provider) might be throttling your service (use link to see how to test ISP)
Before you can improve the speed, you need to determine what is causing the speed issues.
- Use an online speed test (speedtest.net), and run it a couple different times during the day.
- Go around the home or office and disconnect devices that don’t need to be connected to the wi-fi, then run the speed test again.
- Make sure their isn’t a lot of streaming or download activity going on at the same time. If there is, it would be best to connect those devices with an ethernet cable.
- Use the link above to test your ISP and determine if they are throttling your service.
If you’ve tried to troubleshoot the issues on your own without much success, be sure to give us a call, 928-368-2024, and let our techs take a look.
I’d recommend that everyone make sure they have a strong WPA2 passphrase in place to provide secure encryption and protect your sensitive data. Do this at home and at the office. And be cautious when using free wi-fi at your favorite coffee shop or restaurant.