Tips for Securing Your Home Router
Seemingly minor and easily overlooked settings can still have profound security implications. Here are some steps you can take to make sure your wired or wireless home router — and by extension, your network — is as secure as possible.
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Microsoft Windows Home Server
If you have a home network, you'll welcome the easy file sharing, remote access and the image-based backup features of Windows Home Server.
MikroTik's The Dude
This free tool delivers many of the same capabilities that you'd find in pricey network monitoring tools. As long as you don't mind tinkering, The Dude is a decent network utility that should be worth the download.
3Com Home Wireless Gateway
Author: Tim Higgins Review Date: 2/21/2001
The HWG's wireless features are similar to those of other wireless
routers. You can set the Channel number, Wireless LAN Service
Area (ESSID), as you would expect. In the 40bit WEP encryption
setup, you can enter up to 4 Hexadecimal keys and select the one
that the HWG will use.
As is common among inexpensive wireless routers, the HWG completely
lacks wireless network monitoring capabilities. You have
no way of knowing:
You also can't control which wireless clients can
access your AP, but you can use the "Client Privileges"
feature to block Internet access to the fixed set of services.
I used netIQ's free QCheck utilityto check the HWG's wireless speed. Tests were done using
a 3COM AirConnect
PC card as the wireless client, and a Windows PC as the other
LAN client. Both clients are on the LAN side of the router,
so these tests do not include the router. Here are the results:
(Tests run with:
- WEP encryption DISABLED
- Tx Rate: Automatic
- Power Save disabled)
[Ver 1.3d AP firmware]
I also checked Transfer rate with 40bit WEP enabled for
Condition 1 and found between 0.7 to 1.0Mbps decrease in
Comment: The HWG's range was similar to other 802.11b
products I've tested. The antenna is built into a circuit
board attached to the inside top of the HWG and is cabled to the
radio card (which is not a stock 3Com AirConnect card),
but this didn't seem to work any magic for range. The cabled
connection does mean, however, that you could attach a range booster
antenna to the HWG, although 3Com doesn't support this.
I also used Qcheck to test the HWG router's speed:
[Tests run with Ver 1.1 firmware]
Transfer Rate (Mbps)
[1Mbyte data size]
Response Time (msec)
[10 iterations 100byte data size]
NOTE: Since Qcheck uses ports that usually need to be
forwarded through the Router Under Test's firewall, I couldn't
perform my normal suite of WAN-LAN tests, or the LAN-WAN UDP
streaming tests. I obtained the WAN-LAN transfer rate
via the HTTP download test method described on this
These results show that the HWG's router is slower
than most of the current generation of routers, but fast enough
for most Broadband connections.
I think the HWG is a work in progress. Although 3Com says they
concentrated on implementing a feature set that would satisfy a large
portion of their target market of novice networkers, I think they fell
a little short. The biggest omission in the product's initial
release is the lack of user programmable port mapping/forwarding.
With interests in on-line gaming, VoIP, and other similar applications,
many router users quickly find that they need to start messing with
their firewall. 3Com hasn't given users even a "DMZ" option
as a work-around for applications that don't have built-in "handlers".