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.
Most Popular Reviews
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.
Belkin 5-Port Network Switch
Author: Eric Griffith Review Date: 11/1/2001
SOHO or home network in need of quick and dirty connectivity between Windows
PCs will find Belkin's stylish 5- and 8-port Network Switches a breeze to setup
-- especially with the utility software included to make the changes you need
to your network settings. Sadly, the setup utility doesn't work with Windows
2000 (though the hardware works fine with Win 2000). But you can't quibble with
price: it's only $77.99 direct from the company, and well under $50 at retail.
- Easy setup -- just plug items in
- Clear instructions
- Free tech support
- Setup utility doesn't work with Windows 2000
Cons list to remove note about no uplink port -- the 5-port version has
auto-uplink. 8-Port version has uplink on port 1 when you depress button
on the back of the unit.
It's the proverbial plug-and-play -- connect all of your PCs to this store-and-forward
switch with Ethernet patch cables (Belkin of course says to use their Cat5e
or Cat6 cables, but I didn't) and plug in the power. After that, you can install
the Belkin NetSetup and Belkin NetShare Utilities on each PC via the included
CD-ROM. The CD also has an Acrobat copy of the manual. Run the NetSetup wizard
and you'll be asked if you're connecting a system on a current network or starting
anew. Follow the instructions to make sure you've got a different node name
but the same workgroup name, and then run it on all the computers, and you're
When we ran NetSetup, it was fine on Windows 98 SE and ME systems (the lowest
rated operating systems suggested for this switch by Belkin), but NetSetup won't
even launch under Windows 2000. Instead it sends you directly to the Network
Connection Control Panel. Anyone with some Windows networking savvy will not
have a problem with this, but it's not good news for the newbie networker.
Instead, if you jump into the NetShare utility, you're given an easy interface
for making the changes you need, as well as for setting up shares on your drives
The Belkin 5-Port unit we tested has a molded plastic, new-age look that's
obviously geared toward consumers. It can be wall-mounted if you pay extra for
the wall mount kit, which is supposed to be available at
Belkin's Web site, but I couldn't find it there. The same rounded docking
ring slot used for the wall-mount can dock the switch with other Belkin switches,
or the Belkin Cable/DSL Gateway Router.
This unit features five lights on the front that either show green if the connected
PC on the matching port is running 10Mbps, or amber for 100Mbps. When they're
blinking, the data's flowing, naturally.
Since this is only a switch, don't expect much more than simple data and printer
sharing when you set up Windows properly. If you want to share an Internet connection
using this switch, you have to use Windows built in NAT-based Internet
As you would expect, data running from computer to computer (all with 10/100Mbps
NICs) through this device, as checked with Qcheck,
[1MB data size]
[10 iterations 100byte data size]
Is the Belkin 5-Port Network Switch perfect? Of course not, especially for
newbies with Windows 2000 (and likely XP) systems they need to get talking to
each other. Simple home networks that are usually running 98 SE or XP, however,
will see the benefits instantly.
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