I recently decided to update my wireless keys and I wanted to share some notes to help others understand what needs to be done to not only have a secure network but also one that performs well.
Tip 1: Choose WPA2.
WEP and WPA are both done for. In addition the 802.11n spec states that you must use WPA2 or else your WiFi won’t set a rate of any higher than 54Mbps. You also need WMM APSD enabled so don’t forget that either. Is there any counter argument left here?
If you are in an enterprise environment you should deploy WPA2-Enterprise which relies on an accounting method such as RADIUIS instead of shared paraphrases to authenticate. This makes it much easier to manage who or what gains access to the network.
Tip 2: choose a sensible length key with a mix of letters, cases, numbers and symbols.
Whilst you’re unlikely to have an issue with someone sat outside in a white van cracking your WiFi keys it’s no harm to choose a password that is something other than a word you might find in a dictionary.
Balance your passphrase complexity and length with user friendliness. A 32 digit key that looks like your cat had a rampage on your keyboard only infuriates your family and tires poor little fingers.
A passphrase 12 digits long with uppercase, lowercase, some numbers and a few symbols thrown in should suffice. Don’t write it down on a scrap of paper either!
Tip 3: Don’t rely on MAC filtering or hiding your SSID. They aren’t security settings. They’re actually management functions.
MAC filtering can be very cumbersome to maintain not to mention someone in that infamous white van mentioned above can sniff out what MAC adresses are transmitting on WiFi which can then be spoofed very easily.
Hiding your SSID in effect sets a flag to the device OS “do not display me”. Imagine of someone wrote software that just ignored such a flag? I’m sure someone hasn’t done that. Surely…
Tip 4: Segregate guest traffic and don’t hand out connection details to your core network.
If you want to offer guess access do it right. Even in a SOHO environment you should avoid the risk of someone introducing a malware bitten device into your network.
For best results your guest access needs to separate the guest traffic by using a VLAN. Consult your router’s documentation for specific details here.