How to Setup a Secure Home Office Network
The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly increased the number of people working from home, making home office networks routine rather than an exception. Home offices typically use a Wi-Fi network to connect wireless devices such as computers, phones, IP cameras, TVs and voice assistants to the internet. This type of network requires some basic steps to prevent a hacker from gaining access and compromising your system.
A home office Wi-Fi network typically includes a wireless router that connects to the internet via a radio signal in the range of 2.4 to 5 GHz. The ability to access the internet without a physical connection is a great advantage in the home, especially as the number of devices on the network increases. However, anyone within range of the router can use its connection unless it’s adequately protected.
Routers use software that the manufacturer updates periodically. Ensure that your router has the most current version of its software before you start setting it up, especially if the router isn’t new. This process generally involves downloading the current version of software from the manufacturer’s website. You should also register your router with the manufacturer and sign up for update notifications if possible. If you got your router from an ISP, you’ll need to check with them for options on updating your router’s software.
Many routers have preset passwords, which you should change when setting up your home office network. Hackers can easily learn the default passwords for any commercially manufactured router, making it a trivial process to access your wireless network. The new passwords should generally be difficult to guess, but easy to remember.
Wireless routers have two types of passwords — the Wi-Fi network password and the administrator password. The Wi-Fi network password allows devices to connect to the network, while the administrator password allows you change the router’s configuration. Among other security settings, an administrator can change the router’s password.
The specific procedure for changing a router’s passwords depends primarily on the manufacturer, although it can be specific to that particular model. Perform an online search on phrases like “how to change [manufacturer] Wi-Fi network password” and “how to change [manufacturer] admin password.” If these searches are unsuccessful, you may need to contact the manufacturer directly.
Disable features like remote management, Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) and Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS). These features can be highly convenient, but they also weaken security by making it easier for a hacker to access your network. For example, remote management allows you to change the router settings from a web browser, while UPnP lets your devices find each other on the network. WPS allows you to connect a device to the network by pressing a button on the router instead of entering the Wi-Fi network password.
Encrypting your network is an essential step for ensuring that unauthorized users can’t access it, which generally involves updating the appropriate setting. Modern routers usually offer secure encryption standards like Wi-Fi Protected Access II (WPA2) and Wi-Fi Protected Access III (WPA3). While WPA3 is a stronger standard, WPA2 is still considered acceptably secure for most home networks.
Older routers may only offer outdated encryption standards like WPA and Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP), which are now considered insecure. If your router doesn’t currently have WPA2 or WPA3, update your router’s software to see if that action adds them to your encryption options. If not, you should consider getting a new router.
Administrator Log Out
Changing your router’s passwords and other security settings requires you to log on to its administrator account. Once you’ve finished maximizing your router’s security, you need to log out of your administrator account. Otherwise, a hacker can use that account to access your network devices without needing to guess your administrator password.
We hope you found this article helpful. If you’re still unsure about how to setup a secure home office network, get in contact with our team of experts by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (800) 421-7151. Researching what you need for a secure network eats up a lot of your precious time and takes away your focus on what’s really important. With WAMS, our IT experts will provide you efficient IT solutions and software that best fit your needs.