Protect Your Computer At WiFi (Wireless) Hotspots

August 22, 2008

When you use a Wireless Hotspot, you have more to worry about than viruses. Hackers are notoriously known for “sniffing” wireless “traffic” going through the air, searching for logins and passwords and such.

As Leo Laporte has pointed out, you need to follow safe computing practices. These include not running as an Administrator unless you absolutely need to. Also, download and install updates as soon as they are released via Windows Update.

Some hotspots use WPA encryption to help secure and protect users, though places like Starbucks don’t. Either way, you should run an antivirus, firewall, and antispyware products, if for no other reason than to protect your computer.

As Leo points out, “have the attitude that someone is watching you and only do stuff you don’t mind being watched doing. Use encrypted email. Use SSL email ( Or, just don’t check it. But the best way is to work through a VPN. Hotspot VPN is a good one. $10 a month.”


How to Boost a Router Signal

May 12, 2008
  1. Check for interference
    • Replace devices in your home that can interfere with network traffic on the 2.4GHz frequency range. These devices include many cordless phones, microwave ovens, and the like.
    • Check your signal strength with these devices on and off to determine if they are the cause of your signal problems.
    • Buy a wireless network analyzer to track down the source of interference.
  2. Change your signal channel
    • Routers can broadcast on a series of channels, between one and eleven. Change to a channel that will allow your router a clear signal between other wireless networks.
    • Use a software utility to analyze which networks are using which channel.
    • Configure your system for an unused channel.
  3. Reposition your Router.
    • Raise the router up as far as possible to increase the effective broadcast range.
    • Move the router away from any metal including metal shelving, filing cabinets and similar common objects.
    • Move the router closer to the receivers, if possible.
  4. Raise your transmit power.
    • Check your router’s documentation and configuration utility for the ability to change the Xmit power of your router: the amount of power it uses to transmit the signal. generally you can boost this number by up to 50mW, however you do risk overheating or damaging your router.
  5. Replace the Antenna.
    • Unscrew and replace the broadcast antenna on your router with a model that delivers more power. Not all routers allow for new antenna to be attached, but many do.
  6. Install a Repeater.
    • Purchase a repeater. A repeater is a piece of hardware that acts like a wireless network expander. The repeater takes the signal from your router and boosts it to increase the range.
    • Wireless repeaters are increasingly common and affordable and will probably be available in your local computer store, or on the Internet.
  7. Install a Wireless Amplifier
    • Purchase and attach a wireless amplifier, also known as a booster, directly to your router. A booster can be more affordable than a repeater as they only increase the strength of your existing signal, rather than the strength and range.


Securing Your Wireless (Wifi) Network

August 23, 2007

-Interference is a big issue as well (metal in the walls – signal will bounce right off it) 
-You can get a wireless repeater(s) to increase signal strength 
-buy hardware that uses WDS [WDS may also be referred to as repeater mode because it appears to bridge and accept wireless clients at the same time]
-Need to find a repeater compatible with your router [same brand name, uses same wifi standards]
-For maximum network compatibility, use all of the same brand-name products
-If it’s a wireless router, turn on WPA encryption [improved data encryption and user authentication]
-Hide your broadcast ID or MAC address filtering [identifies your specific computer, network card, or network’s internet address]
-Turn off Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) [allows software to change router settings without user interaction]
-Change the default name of the router [in router settings]
-change default router password [something not easily guessed or in the dictionary]

-Turn off WAN administration [refer to user manual]

-access your wired or wirless router by typing or in your internet browser

more info:

partial source: