6 Worst Wireless Network Setup Mistakes
In our hyper-connected world, having wireless internet access at home has become as much of a basic necessity as electricity or running water. However, in order for it to perform as expected, your network must be set up properly. Not only can improper network setup lead to performance issues like reduced signal range and spotty connectivity, but also compromise the security of the network.
Here are six of the worst yet most common mistakes you can make while setting up your wireless network.
Throw Away the Instruction Manual
Now that so many devices are “plug-and-play” these days, the included instruction manual has become just another piece of packing material to be thrown in the trash upon unboxing. This isn’t a good practice to begin with as it could contain important troubleshooting and/or warranty information, but it is particularly bad when it comes to your network router.
Your router will usually require some configuration that is necessary to protect the integrity of network itself, which in turn helps to protect all the information you store and share across it on a daily basis. The router’s instruction manual will provide these details such as how to access the administration panel, change security options, setup the firewall, and more.
Place Your Router Next to Dense Objects
Like all radio waves, Wi-Fi cannot travel through dense objects like brick walls, walls with piping, kitchen countertops and backsplashes, and metal furniture. So, it’s best not to place your router next to any of these things lest you experience reduced signal range and performance.
Instead, place your router on a plastic or wooden stand in a reasonably clear area with no large obstacles nearby. A wide-open space, such as a living room, is ideal, but closets will also function if they're free of the aforementioned obstructions. You can also call on us at MIProTechs to install your network equipment in a dedicated IT cabinet or structured wiring panel.
Place Your Router in the Basement
Think of a wireless signal like water in a fountain: it is distributed upward [from the router], then cascades down. If you place your router in the lowest part of your house, usually the basement, it’s likely that you’ll experience spotty performance or dead zones because the signal is not being properly distributed to the rest of the house. Instead, try placing your router on the uppermost floor of your house and as close to the center of the structure as possible.
Neglect to Give Your Network a Unique Name
Your wireless router will come with a default network name, such as HOME 2284, but you shouldn’t keep it that way for two important reasons:
1. Many of your neighbors may also keep their default network name, which can lead to confusion as to which is theirs resulting in them accidentally connecting their devices to your network. This can reduce your bandwidth and performance significantly as the network is handling more than intended, with you and your neighbors unaware of what’s actually happening.
2. Simple network names like the example above are easier for cybercriminals to crack. Once they have access to your network, there is a greater risk that they might also have access to the information stored on it, especially if you store a lot of things in the cloud.
When setting up your wireless router, choose a unique name that’s unique and memorable to you. DO NOT use personal information such as names, addresses, birthdays, or any part of the router password.
Use the Default Password
Your wireless router will also come with a default password, which is usually a simple combination of letters and numbers. This, like the default network name, tends to be much easier for cybercriminals to decipher and access your network. In general, a strong network password should contain the following:
- At least 8 characters (the more the better)
- A combination of uppercase and lowercase letters
- Special characters such as @#$%!
Here are a couple tips to put these basic requirements to work:
- Think of a thing, date, phrase, event, place, or anything that is only unique to you. DO NOT use your birthday or any word already used in your network name.
- Use special characters and numbers to replace regular characters. We recommend the following rules:
- “a” to “@”
- “s” to “$”
- Spaces to “%”
- “o” to “0” (zero)
- “i” to “!”
- “e” to “3”
Here’s an example: T3chN0L0gY%!$%@w3S0m3
Put Off Firmware Updates
Sitting through updates on any of your devices may seem inconvenient and time-consuming, but manufacturers release them for many important reasons including improvements to security, performance, and features. The same especially applies to your wireless network router.
While you might have to set some time aside at some point in the day to do it, keeping up with firmware updates is essential to the ongoing health and function of your wireless network.
Connect With MIProTechs
For All Your Home & Office Network Needs
The strength and security of your home wireless network starts with a solid setup and ongoing maintenance. If you have any questions about setting up or evaluating the performance of your existing wireless network, or design a new one, all you have to do is contact us. MIProTechs is your leading provider of home and office technology in Southeast Michigan with network solutions tailored to fit your life. Call us at (248) 987-6171 to get started!