Monthly Archives: October 2016

Ways to Set Up a Wireless Access Point

Ways to Set Up a Wireless Access Point

For broadcasting or extending the range of a wireless network or allowing a wired network to broadcast wirelessly, one piece of networking equipment is used and that is a wireless access point or WAP. Below is an in-depth explanation on setting up a wireless access point for your home network.

How to Install a Wireless Access Point

Steps on how to set up a wireless access point are:

Network information
Your WAP acts as a go-between device, between your router and computers trying to connect to your home network. Hence, the wireless settings of your router should be inputed onto your WAP, so that the wireless access point picks up and broadcasts the correct signal. Before doing anything with the access point, you will need the following information from your router:

LAN:

  • Router’s IP address
  • DHCP address range
  • Wireless:
  • Wireless network name or SSID
  • Wireless channel being used
  • Security mode being used (WEP, WPA etc.)
  • Password or security key (copy all the settings, such as number of keys, encryption type etc. to be safe)

Please write down the above data correctly. A slight change in the settings and nothing will work. To obtain such information, you will need to log onto your router’s setup page. If you are familiar with the process or know the settings, skip the following steps:

I. Use any computer that is hard wired to your router. Do not connect to your router’s page wirelessly.

II. On that computer, open the Command Prompt and in the black screen, type the command ipconfig.

III. Look for the field Default Gateway. An example of what it may look like: “192.168.1.1”. Write this down, this is your router’s IP address.

IV. Close the command prompt and open any web browser. Delete any URL in the Address bar and type in your router’s IP address. Press Enter.

V. A dialog box will appear asking for your router’s username and password (not related at all to your wireless network). If you have enabled any, please enter it now. The default login information for most routers is a blank username and password: admin. Click on Ok.

VI. At the main setup screen, look for DHCP Range and DHCP start and end addresses. Write this down.

VII. Now look for a tab at the top of the screen, that says Wireless or Wireless Settings. Click on said tab, there may be sub tabs like basic, security and advanced. Look for the wireless information details mentioned above (SSID, security etc.) and write them down.

VIII. Check if you have enabled broadcasting of your network name, i.e. your network name is seen and you connect by selecting it. This option is usually termed as SSID broadcast and is found in the wireless settings page.

Connecting the WAP

1. Now it’s time to deal with the access point. Connect an Ethernet cable to the port on the WAP and the other end of the wire to the Ethernet port on your computer, such that the WAP and a computer are hard-wired together. Turn on the access point.

2. Open the Command Prompt and type ipconfig/renew. Then type ipconfig. Look for the Default Gateway address, this is currently your WAP’s address, which needs to be changed.

3. Open a web browser and type this address in the Address bar. Log in to the page, (username blank, password:admin) and now you are on the WAP’s setup page.

4. The default mode for functioning is Access Point in most routers. If there is any such specification on the WAP’s setup page, make sure this mode is set to Access Point only.

5. First the router’s IP address needs to be assigned. Look for the term IP address and there should be four number filled boxes beside it.

6. To help understand what the access point’s address should be, here’s an example:
Suppose your router’s IP address is 192.168.1.1 and the DHCP starting address is 192.168.1.10 and ending address is 192.168.1.15

7. Since the DHCP range is 10-15, the access point’s address should NOT be any of these numbers but should be something different. An ideal address for your access point is 192.168.1.2. So, it is within the router’s subnet range but not within the DHCP range. Type this in the IP address box. Do not type in the Default Gateway boxes.

8. Look for any option termed DHCP enabled and a possible checkbox or “yes/no”. Turn off the DHCP. With this address change, the web browser might try to refresh or a message might be shown. Close all windows.

Setting Up the Wireless Network

(i). On establishing the WAP’s address, now the physical connections have to be changed. Connect one of your router’s LAN or Ethernet ports to the port on the WAP. Connect another wire between the computer and the router’s port. Power on the access point. Now both your computer and the WAP are connected but not to each other, instead to the router.

(ii). Now on the computer, open a web browser and type in the WAP’s IP address, which was just assigned (in this scenario, 192.168.1.2) and logon to the setup page. Look for a main tab that says Wireless.

(iii). Under this tab, enter SSID and wireless channel. Look for a sub-tab that says Wireless Security and click on it. Under this, select the correct security type and type in the password or key, that is used for your network. This step is inputting the wireless settings of your router onto your access point. Once done, close the browser.

(iv). The LED’s on your access point should be lit up. Check the WAP’s manual to see if they are lit up correctly. The WAP has been set up. If you are connecting it to a wired router, leave the present connections as they are. If you have a wireless router, then you can disconnect the WAP from the router and position it in a location, such that it picks up the router’s signal and broadcasts it properly. This process is slightly “trial and error” in nature, as you need to check the signal strength for placing the wireless access point in the optimum location.

The above mentioned WAP installation procedure may seem very tedious, but you just need to be patient and read the step carefully before doing anything. Bear in mind that your access point is now configured according to your router’s wireless settings, so if you change them on the router, you have to change them on your access point.

Setting Up a Wireless Repeater Tips

Setting Up a Wireless Repeater Tips

The need for seamless, uninterrupted and reliable communication is one of the top priorities of every house. The wide access to some really useful information base, for every kind of user makes it extremely important to set up a device which delivers high-performance. There are a range of products available in the market that perform the same function. The customer is in a tizzy over the right product to be purchased. And once the purchasing is done, the next big question is to set it up.

What are Wireless Repeaters?

They are networking devices that increase the reach of the existing wireless network. Very often, it happens that a device has to be connected to an existing wireless network, but it is away in a remote place in the house or a building, where the signal strength is too low or unreachable. A wireless repeater is used in such cases to boost the signal strength or simply repeat the signal so that the said computer comes under the coverage area.

How to Set Up the Repeater?

Once the repeater is chosen as per one’s needs, the next step is to set it up. A brief idea of the steps to be followed are provided below:

  • The foremost thing is get a standard ‘cat5e’ cable, that has to be connected from the PC to the repeater.
  • Once this has been done, verify the connection made from the routers to the PC and the repeaters, to avoid problems in reception of signals.
  • Then follow the instructions on the configuration interface.
  • Next is to set the Service Set Identifier (SSID’s) that is generally same as the network settings. This relates to the subscriber identity, the network name and also the password for accessing the network.
  • Check the compatibility of the device with the computer.
  • After checking for the compatibility requirements, the MAC (Media Access Control) address used or configured for the repeater should be exactly same as that of the router setup available. This is the most frequently encountered problem while setting up a wireless repeater.
  • Perform a reset operation, a power cycle procedure and then switch on the connections.

Troubleshooting

In case, the system is not able to give satisfactory signal strength, following the mentioned troubleshooting details will help to improve it.

  • Antenna Direction: The antenna of the router is generally omnidirectional and in case it is close to a wall or a partition, much of the signal is wasted. This happens because, the signal is transferred in all directions and part of it going towards the wall is wasted. Hence, place the antenna or the router in a preferably central place or use an antenna which propagates the signal in the required direction.
  • Try Other Channels: It is always a good practice to have the USB network adapter in the machine one is using. Try to use different channels to get hooked on to the network.
  • Interference: Other devices in the vicinity of the repeater, such as mobile phones may affect the signal quality. Therefore, try to reduce the interference of wireless access by different devices.
  • Upgradation: The firmware and the device should be of decent quality and frequently checked or upgraded, for maintaining good signal strength.
  • Brand Quality: If all the network equipment is from a single seller or vendor, it is relatively easy to get service quickly and issues related to working can be addressed as soon as possible. Therefore, choosing one brand and sticking to it will give better signal strength.

Computer and communications setup can be very tricky to deal with. Despite all the efforts, if the signal strength cannot be restored or improved, seek assistance from the service provider or the device company. Adhering to the guidelines is the best way to amplify the signal strength and enjoy boundless coverage on wireless networking devices.

Ways to Detect and Stop an Outside User from Stealing Your Wi-Fi

Ways to Detect and Stop an Outside User from Stealing Your Wi-Fi

An outsider who knows how to get into your Wi-Fi can not only use it for himself, but he can also hack the data on your computer. This is very dangerous as your computer’s security is compromised. The hacker can be doing something illegal and the police would catch your IP instead. Detecting the user can be easy, but it is quite difficult to ascertain the identity, especially if all you have are the history records of his/her usage, and no addresses. Once you know if your Wi-Fi is being leached, there are some steps that you can take to prevent it from happening again. The thing is, they connect to your Wi-Fi the same way as you do, so it pays to have some figurative walls around your Wi-Fi signals.
Basics of a Wi-Fi Connection
If you don’t know much about the components (both hardware and software) in your Wi-Fi system, it would be good to know the basics of what they are, to work on them.

  • The signal for your broadband Internet connection is brought to your house through a cable or satellite modem, or a digital subscriber line (DSL).
  • The wireless router is attached to the modem, which transmits the signal through your house to give you the Wi-Fi connection in your house.
  • Your router will have a dynamic host client protocol (DCHP). Your DCHP tells your router who is allowed to access the Wi-Fi connection and who isn’t.
  • Every machine is given an Internet Protocol address or IP address. The IP address tells the router who has accessed the Wi-Fi. The IP addresses are assigned to each computer with the help of a media access control address, or a MAC address.

Detecting an Internet Thief and Stopping the Thief
Detecting an Intruder
You know someone is stealing your Wi-Fi if:

  • Your network service is slower than usual.
  • Your network service keeps breaking down intermittently.
  • Your network speed is lowered at the same times everyday.
  • Your router is ‘on’ and ‘blinking’ even if your PC is off.

You can make sure whether your Internet service is accessed by an unknown user by doing the following things:

  • You can check your router logs. This changes from router to router; you can access the ‘Help’ section to figure out where the log is stored.
  • You can see any attached devices on the router admin page. You can access the page by typing your IP address in the browser (default gateway IP retrieval explained later).
  • Check out the MAC addresses of all the attached devices (MAC addresses are unique to all devices). If any of the addresses don’t match the ones you already know, then it’s an external unknown device.

Stopping the Intruder
Once you know that there’s an unwelcome user, you can strengthen your defenses against them.

  • Since the router gives all connected devices an IP address, your main computer’s IP address should be a default address like 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.1.1 . This is the default gateway IP address of your computer. To find it out, press Start → Type “Run” → Type “cmd” in the Run tab → Type “ipconfig” in the new window that opens. You’ll get a list of things. Find the default gateway IP in there and note it down.
  • Once you get that address, type it in the browser, where you’ll get to set the router address and password. If it’s default, you don’t need to put in the password every time you access it. Which means that if the setting is default, anyone can access your router to get free Internet (you pay the bill, after all). Again, the default address and passwords are different for different brands of routers. You can get the default values from the respective brand’s site. If you are using the defaults, change the address and passwords to something secure, something totally unique, long and which only you and your family can figure out. So every time someone logs in, they have to put in the password to access the Internet.
  • If you still feel you need more security, click on the “Wireless” tab in the router folder, go to “Security” and enable the WEP encryption. You’ll have to give a WEP key for encryption. Be sure to note down this key before pressing “Accept”. All your data is now encrypted using this key. The thing is, the person stealing your Internet probably knows a thing or two about hacking and will eventually find out the key too. You can also use WPA or WPA2 encryption, it’s a little harder to hack into. It works the same as WEP and you’ll need the key to decrypt the data.
  • You can get additional security through your firewall. Turn it ‘on’ if it isn’t on already. Enable the MAC filter in the firewall setting. Add in all the MAC addresses of the computers that you want to be allowed to use the Internet, the firewall will ban the rest.

Note that all the steps mentioned are more for slowing down rather than stopping, depending on the skill of the unknown user. Also, since the range of your Wi-Fi is so small, you may also be able to see who is using the Internet. If you’re not really confident about messing with your computer settings, you can use a software like ‘Who Is On My Wi-Fi’ to find out who is using it. Once you figure out, you can successfully report the thief to the authorities.

Guide to Make a Wi-Fi Antenna

Guide to Make a Wi-Fi Antenna

Commercial Wi-Fi receptors cost you a bomb. There are alternate ways to make a Wi-Fi antenna at home that will not only increase the range of your network, but will also be very inexpensive. An antenna is nothing but a directional waveguide device that converts electrical power to radio signals, and vice-versa. Hence, pretty much any material that is capable, or can be made capable, of this function can be used as a Wi-Fi antenna.

A ‘cantenna’ is a directional wavelength reception device for long-range Wi-Fi. Ideally, a cantenna’s periphery is not strong enough to receive signals all by itself. Hence, cantennas are mostly used to extend a wireless network’s range or to improve reception over a distorted signal path. A cantenna can also amplify signals from 5 – 22 dB. While a ‘Pringles’ can is widely used for such setups, it is important to note that these cans are narrow in diameter and inappropriate for 2.4Ghz. Hence, for such a project, always use a can about 3.5 to 4 inches in diameter and approximately 6 or more inches in length.

Building a Homemade Wi-Fi Antenna using a Can

Materials and Tools
~ Can (about 3.5 inches in diameter)
~ Solder paste
~ 1.5 to 2 inches length thin copper wire strand
~ N-female chassis mount connector
~ Pigtail cable
~ Duct tape
~ Tripod stand
~ Drill machine
~ Soldering iron

Drill a hole in the can about a couple of inches from its base. Widen the hole according to the connector’s diameter.

The connector should just fit in; the hole should not be too small to get the connector in, nor too big so the connector falls off.

Set the adapter in the hole firmly.

Make sure it is set like how it is displayed in this image.

To the connector’s inside end (inside the can), solder a copper wire strand.

Be very careful when you solder the copper wire strand. This is how it must look like.

Plug in a pigtail cable into the connector outside the can.

Connect the other end of the pigtail cable to the Wi-Fi device/card. This will work only if you have a compatible Wi-Fi adapter. Hence, before proceeding, check the connector and adapter compatibility.

Mount the can on the tripod using duct tape, facing the Wi-Fi adapter. Once mounted and steadfastly in place, rotate the cantenna on its axis slightly, and adjust its tilt to work out the position in which it receives the strongest signal. This antenna has linear polarization, i.e., its rotation affects signal strength, positively or negatively. The tilt, though, is required in only very rare cases, and should be done carefully and only if necessary.

Once you shift the cantenna’s position to gain optimum signal strength, you can use your homemade Wi-Fi antenna!
Building a Homemade Wi-Fi Antenna using a Strainer

Materials
~ Strainer
~ USB Wi-Fi adapter
~ USB extension cable (at least 15 feet in length)
~ Duct tape
~ Wooden stick
~ Tripod stand

Using the USB extension cable, connect the Wi-Fi adapter to your computer. The cable’s female connector goes in your computer and the Wi-Fi adapter is inserted in the cable’s male port. If you haven’t found an extension cable long enough to position the antenna where you need, connect multiple cables together.

Using duct tape, attach the USB adapter to the handle of the strainer. If the strainer does not have a handle, attach a wooden stick to it using duct tape, and tape your adapter to the wooden stick.

Make sure your dongle is at a point where you receive signals at maximum strength. Temporarily place the dongle on the handle of the strainer and shift its place around the handle to find the hot spot.

Aim the strainer towards the Wi-Fi transmitter in a straight line and straddle a little to the left or right depending on where you are getting the best signals. Once you have figured out the exact spot which generates best strength of the Wi-Fi signal, mount the strainer on a tripod stand and get ready to use your strainer Wi-Fi antenna!
As compared to expensive Wi-Fi antennas, homemade antennas can be made and setup in almost half the price. A cantenna in fact, will not take your total expenses above $15 – $20! A strainer antenna too wouldn’t cost you more than $25. So get the materials, ready your tools and save some money!