10 ways to boost strength and security of your wifi internet

Wireless internet, also called WiFi internet by many, is the most common form of computer networking in our homes/small offices. The reason behind it is quite simple. Everybody loves benefits of traditional computer networking like file sharing and internet connection sharing, but hates wires due to their messy nature.

Wireless internet, on the other hand, gives you some additional advantages over the traditional wired networks, such as:

  1. No wires: As I mentioned earlier, wires are messy. To have a complete wired network connection with all devices in your home/office, you’ll need a ton of wires. These cables look ugly and are hard to hide. You can put them through walls or under the ground but that would cost you a lot. On top of that, what you would do if you want to connect some extra devices in future?
  2. Mobility: Mobility is another key factor. Nowadays, most of the gadgets around us are wireless and portable. Having a wireless connection in your home or office gives you freedom to move around your place while having an established network connection.
  3. It’s the future: Here’s the last one, you should have wireless internet in your home because you would have to do it future anyway. I am pretty sure you know the concept of IoT and Smart-Home. WiFi Internet is the key to these concepts.

So now, as you have read some of the main advantages of WiFi internet, let’s talk about disadvantages. The main disadvantages of WiFi networks are limited range and less security than wired networks. Here is an infographic which discusses these issues and suggests different solutions to these problems.

Here are some of the main points from this infographic:

1. Create A Strong Password

Although as basic as it seems, most people don’t choose a strong password. According to this research, “123456” is still one of the most common passwords around. Some people don’t even bother to change their password at all and keep it as it is by-default. This can lead to some serious network intrusion.

Creating a strong password (and remembering it) isn’t as hard as it seems. There are many online passwords generators available such as this one. Go to these generators and you’ll have a strong password that consists of characters, letters and numbers. Next thing you need to do is do save that password (in case you forget it later) in your computer or online such as Google drive.

2. Turn on WiFi Encryption

Just like password, WiFi encryption is very important. There are many types of encryption options available in routers. Read the above linked article to know more about these encryption methods. For the sack of this post, just remember to use WPA2-PSK (AES) whenever possible and use WPA2-PSK (TKIP) when the former encryption option is not available in your router.

3. Find Right WiFi Channel Of Your Router

Most the people around us don’t use an advanced router. In fact, many of us (including me) still use a single-band WiFi router of 2.4GHz frequency. This band has only 14 different WiFi channels. Channel 1, 6 and 11 are the default channels in most routers. These channels are the most commonly used WiFi channels. What you need to do is to stay away from these channels and choose any other. There are many tutorials about how to change the WiFi channel.

4. Disable Remote Access For Your Router

Remote Access means that you can access your router on-the-go using internet, even if you’re not connected to your WiFi internet. While initially thought to be a utility, it can give hackers a little chance to sneak into your system. One good news is that this feature is disabled by default. You only need to keep it as it is.

5. Find Perfect Spot For Your Router

Here are most common points for you to keep in mind while placing a router in your house:

  1. Put your router in middle of your house so that it can reach all ends of your house and reduce the possibility of dead-spots.
  2. If your router has a single band (of 2.4 GHz frequency), it’s better to keep it away from other appliances like microwaves, baby-monitors etc. because they also use this 2.4GHz frequency which leads to interference.
  3. Apart from these appliances, you also need to keep different metal objects away from your router.
  4. At last, if your router has more than one frequency band, it’s good to use the second band of 5GHz frequency. It’s because 5GHz Band doesn’t have any interference issues like 2.4GHz Band.

6. Have An Up-To-Date Firmware

Firmwares are just like OS of our routers. Just like any software, there can be a bug or two present in a router’s firmware that’ll probably be patched in next update of that firmware. By not updating your firmware, you have the possibility of a network security breach.

7. Enable Your Router’s Built-in firewall

A firewall is sort of a defense mechanism that protects your system against malware and malicious files. A firewall can be in a software form, a hardware form or a combination of both. What most people don’t realize is that, many times, their routers have a built-in firewall and, unintentionally, they don’t turn it on.

In order to enable this feature, you need to log into your router’s web admin panel. In main panel, search for something like “Firewall” and turn it on. This feature can be placed somewhere else in different routers. That’s why it’s better to search online about it. Here are some of the best practices related to network firewalls.

8. Use Open-Source Firmwares

An open-source firmware can vastly enhance the capabilities of a router. An open-source firmware gives you much more control over your network, enhances your WiFi signal coverage, provides greater security and many other things like that. There are many different open-source firmwares available in the market such as Tomato Firmware, DD-WRT and OpenWRT etc. DD-WRT firmware is the most popular one. Here is a good article about installing DD-WRT firmware on a router.

One thing you should note is that open-source firmwares aren’t supported by all routers and there is a chance of router-damage while you’re installing it.

9. Turn Your Old Router Into A WiFi Repeater

Many people think that their old router is worthless. Thinking so, they buy a new router and throw the old one into trash. Believe it or not, you can do many things with an old router like turning it into an access point, NAS, or a WiFi repeater etc.

A WiFi repeater is a device that receives a WiFi signal and rebroadcasts it. Turning an old router into a repeater will help you to extend your network and remove any dead-spots in your house. Although there are many routers that support repeater capability by-default, an open-source firmware is the best option while making your router work as a repeater. This post will help you turning a router into a repeater.

Now, as you have converted your router into a repeater, you will need a new one to acts as your primary router. You can search online for this purpose. There are many routers powerful enough to be used in 2018 and even beyond.

10. Try Some DIY Hacks

DIY hacks are the cheapest solution to boost WiFi signal. There are many hacks like using an Aluminium Foil, using a Tin Foil + CokeBottle and using a metal sieve etc. Here you can find more about how to perform these DIY hacks.