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.
Networking Advice and Tips in the PracticallyNetworked Forums
In the Practically Networked Discussion Forum
Spotlight we take a look at some of our members' computer and networking
questions and provide you with an easy-to-digest overview of several ongoing or
resolved networking issues.
Up for discussion this week is the beginnings of a
knowledge-based thread on Windows Home Server (WHS) that includes resources and reviews, followed by some
helpful advice offered to a forum member having problems
with his WRT54GT router. Lastly, we also spotted an older, but excellent,
discussion on file sharing with Windows XP. Windows XP sharing has always been a
hot topic and this discussion is a great FAQ for those who are encountering
issues with getting XP systems to talk.
Practically Networked Forums Spotlight highlights several of the most
active or interesting topics from the more than 27,000 posts in the
Practically Networked forums. From here you can follow the links to each
discussion of interest to offer your own advice, or to ask your own question.
Practically Networked Forum Statistics
For November 12, 2007
Registered Members: 10,845
October 29, 2007
Registered Members: 10,909
This Week's Highlighted Topics
Practically Networked Forums > Practically Networked > Applications/Software
Thread: Windows Home Server RESOURCES/FAQ
If you've been considering using Windows Home Server (WHS),
this PracticallyNetworked forum thread offers a discussion on the product and
how to use it, plus offers links to help pages and reviews.
Windows Home Server (WHS) is a
new product from Microsoft. I have been beta testing it and
using it since the beginning of this year. I am not a WHS expert
but can offer my experience and opinions on it.
I am using WHS on a home network of mixed wired/wireless PCs and
laptops of various OS, with ~1 TB of storage. WHS is new, and
like all new systems has some problems but is basically stable
and great potential for the home.
Overall, I would recommend considering it for a home network
to provide backup of PCs and centralized storage.
Anyone with their
own experience / opinions please join in.
Microsoft Windows Home Server was also
covered this week on the PracticallyNetworked.com Web site,
We used it for about three weeks. It's unbelievable how easy home server
is to set-up and use, even if you know next to nothing about
servers, networking and so on. We're using Vista on the PCs and XP
on the laptops. For the server we used a P4 3.1GB box with 3GB
memory, 2 harddrives (an 80 and a 230 GB).
I think those who are concerned about back-ups and those who don't
yet have a backup regime in place will be especially interested in
WHS (which lets you backup ten PCs).
The Microsoft Windows Home Server forums are
I just converted my old desktop into a WHS box this last Thursday.
It really is a quite impressive, IMHO, piece of software. My WHS is
a Pentium 4 1.8 Ghz box, 512 Meg RAM with a 160 Gig and a 20 Gig
The WHS backs up my wife's XP Pro machine and my Vista Ultimate
laptop automatically on a daily basis, something I never had in the
past. I also setup a remote access account and privileges for my
brother (who lives in Florida) and myself. My brother has access to
shared folders/files while I have access to shared folders/files and
my own specifically owned folder.
He also has a WHS running and I have
similar privileges on his machine i.e., access to shared
folders/files only. My wife has access only to shared folders/files
and her specifically owned folder on the WHS. She does not have
remote access privileges.
Remote Desktop access is easy and fast to my wife's XP Pro machine
if I need it.
All access to my WHS and shared folders/files or Remote Desktop to
access my wife's XP Pro machine is via a Web-based interface that
requires two ports to be opened on any firewall/router the WHS is
behind (ie. TCP Port 443 and TCP Port 4125).
You can either get a free fully qualified domain name (FQDN) from
Microsoft to remotely call your WHS or as in my case use an existing
DynDNS FQDN. I use a DynDNS FQDN simply because my current Belkin
F5D7230-4 broadband router has built-in support for DynDNS. My
brother uses a MS supplied FQDN.
Practically Networked Forums > Practically
Networked > Wireless Networks
Thread: Problem with Linksys WRT54GR ANSWERED /
Forum member SimonS recently purchased a
Linksys WRT54GT router, but seems to be having problems accessing the
configuration page. In the initial posting, he said, "I can ping the router fine
but can't open the UI using 192.168.1.1." Several forum members have been able
to offer useful suggestions, but so far forum member SimonS hasn't posted a
report of success.
I have recently purchased Linksys
I can see the router but despite hours of trying I have been unable
to access the configuration page. I can ping the router fine but
can't open the UI using 192.168.1.1. Have tried various things
suggested by Linksys (reset router, no proxy settings, disable IPv6,
turn off pop up blocker, turn off Windows firewall etc) but still at
I've tried the firmware but the existing version is the latest
release and it won't flash or update. The machine is definitely
working as I went back to the store and they demonstrated it on two
Any thoughts? I'm using an Acer laptop with Vista.
Reset the router again, but hold the
button in the keyhole down for two full cycles to reset to factory
defaults, instead of just pressing it to reset. If you hold it down
for at least 30 seconds, you'll easily get at least two full cycles
in, probably more.
Don't plug anything in except for your laptop. Plug it into any of
the LAN ports. Go into your network and sharing center and
manage your connections so you can set your IPv4 settings on your
laptop to 192.168.1.2.
Reboot your laptop and then confirm you can ping the router by IP
address from the command line (cmd in the "start search" field).
Finally, open your browser and try to connect to the router by IP.
Include the http header in the address, (ie. http://192.168.1.1/).
If it won't work after all that, try to get a replacement as the
issue has a far higher probability of being the embedded web server
in the router than anything else, and you shouldn't be bothered to
figure out if its something else. If a RMA'd router does the same
thing, then you can start worrying about something flaky that Vista
Disable all hard-wired and wireless
Ethernet interfaces not connected to the router in question.
Connect to the router via a cable from an enabled Ethernet
port/interface. Make sure your firewall is turned off.
Connect the PC to the router via a LAN connection "NOT" the WAN
(marked Internet) connection. Connect to Port 1 on the router. Power
on your router. After full power up, hold the reset button in for at
least 10 seconds.
On the PC Go to the Network connections icon in the control panel
and select the Ethernet lan connection attached to the router.
Select properties and make sure the TCP/IP DCHP, etc, properties are
set to Automatic.
Do not enter any IP addresses, masks, etc. Apply the changes and go
back up to the network connections Icon for the LAN interface you
are using. Select it and right click, choose Disable, once
completed choose Enable.
Exit the control panel. Fire up your browser and key the following
into the link http://192.681.1.1.
Keying in the IP address alone will not work. "http://" is required.
Write the admin user name and password if you change it.
Do you have another machine that you can
test with that isn't running Vista? It may just be a driver issue
with Vista. I was going to suggest the firmware update, but it seems
that you've already done that. When I had the same issue, that was
the cause. But then I wasn't running Vista.
Practically Networked Forums > Practically Networked > Sharing
XP Home/Pro network can't file share (one way only) RESOURCES/FAQ
This is an older discussion, one that was started
in 2004 actually, but file sharing with Windows XP is such a common topic still,
that we wanted to point out this very informative discussion thread. For those
having problems sharing files in XP Home or Pro this is definitely a good thread
to read for advice and tips on getting it to work.
I have just set up a network as shown in
this diagram. Both computers are sharing the workgroup MSHOME.
I can connect to the Internet fine
through both (this is managed by the router/modem).
'TOM' can access shared files on 'HOME-PC' without problem, however
'HOME-PC' cannot access files on 'TOM'.
PROBLEM: When I click on 'view workgroup computers' 'TOM'
will appear, however when I attempt to access it the following error
I can ping 'TOM' from 'HOME-PC' without any problems. I have also
played Unreal Tournament 2003 between the computers. the ICF is
disabled on both computers and I have tried communicating with
Norton firewall disabled on both computers (I have also set each
firewall up to accept IP ranges of both computers).
I don't have any special protocols set up, although I have enabled
'NETBIOS over TCP/IP' under advanced TCP/IP settings, WINS tab.
Are you logged on as the admin on both
You have NetBIOS enabled on both computers right?
You have print and file sharing enabled
on both computers?
Well, if you'd like to try something, this might help. Start from
scratch and set up a new connection. Many ways of doing this but the
easiest is through Internet explorer.
Go to tools, Internet options, and click on the connections tab.
Click on the setup button. When then screen comes up click next.
Then click on the button that says set up a home or small office
network. Click next, then finished. (a step may come up that I don't
mention that asks if you'd like the computer to automatically detect
the best network settings or if you'd like to disable a network
device. Generally, you can just click next and you will be just
Ok. now click next twice until you
get to next screen that gives you choices. Click on this computer
connects through a residential gateway. Then give your CPU a name
and description. Then click next.
Then for the workgroup put in
WORKGROUP. there is nothing special about that name. Its just
different then the one you are using. click next until the sharing
image comes up and your computer sets up the connection. then
restart your CPU. Do the same for the other computer and then repost
if you are still having problems.
I'm afraid neither of the suggestions
work. I told the new user account not to keep files private but I
still can't access. Under my gateway config screen I have a section
called "LAN IP Setup" with the following settings:
USE GATEWAY AS A DHCP SERVER (Ticked)
Starting IP address: 192.168.0.2
Ending IP address: 192.168.0.10
LAN TCP/IP SETUP
IP address: 192.168.0.1
IP Subnet Mask: 255.255.255.0
RIP Direction: Both
RIP Version: RIP-1
Any suggestions as to whether these should be changed?
Hope you can help.
The router settings are fine. The
problem is in one or both PCs.
- Realtek cards have been known to be a problem with IRQ conflicts.
Move the Realtek card in Tom to another PCI slot.
- Check your Services are Started on
both PCs: Workstation, Server, TCP/IP Netbios helper, Computer
- NWLink NetBIOS, NWLink IPX/SPX/NetBIOS
Compatible Transport Protocol ->are not needed and can confuse
things. Remove them.
- XP gives access to its shares via
the Net Guest Account. (Note, not the same as the local guest
account which should be off). Check Net Guest Account is enabled:
At command prompt: >Net user guest
Should return a line with 'Account active yes'.
I had a very similar problem to this one
a few days ago.
Between an XP
pro and a XP home. After asking the client everything i found that
they had the computers on a different network only a few days
previous called the business name. This time though there were 2
computers not 6. I found that the systems still had the old network
server security settings, I changed the workgroup and deleted the
domain (even though they weren't using one) also checked and changed
the My computer network ID properties (changebutton) and deleted the
DNS suffix and only kept the NETBUI. I also uninstalled ICS and all
network connections and started again but this didn't work.
After three days of Microsoft
headaches (we all get them) I finally managed a work around I added
identical users to each system, shared 1 folder, added the Internet
pc's IP address to the other system as gateway and Primary and
secondary DNS. At this time everything was working, so I tried to
delete the user accounts on each system (the added identical ones
only). Voila, it all worked.
I hope this helps in some way.
I am having exactly the same problem as
JamieDi above. Did anyone ever find a step-by-step guide for a
foolproof set-up of file sharing between XP Pro and Home machines? I
see the last post was 6-7-2004. Three years ago! Then along comes
little 'ole me just to prove the problem is still around! The
machines (Compaq & Dell) both have 'on-board' NICs.
Has anyone learnt anything new since 2004 about this issue?
(later edit) It appears I have loads
of reading to do on this site before asking for any assistance!
I don't know if anybody mentioned this
as I only read the first and last full page of the thread, but you
should check security applications to see if they are blocking
visibility of the computers.
Yes, you have to change the group policy setting to allow
interactive logins, but you may have something else blocking the
Something like Norton Internet Security or a McAfee suite. Those
companies could care less about your ability to file share, and have
no qualms at all about feeding you updates that make registry
changes to your system in the name of security. They don't give you
any big flashing neon sign that says "The way we're making you more
secure is by disabling your ability to be seen on your local network
by other computers you own and operate and want to use on a home
So yeah, check third-party security applications, disable them while
testing, may even need to uninstall them to remove the registry
entries they made if that is what is causing the problem.
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