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WiFi

WiFi (also known as wireless networking) allows Laptop/MAC/PCs to go on the internet through wireless enabled devices (such as a WiFi card).  How WiFi works is that it operates on the same radio waves as cell phones do.  The WiFi card sends out data that it changes into a radio signals and forwards the signal to an antenna.  When the radio signal returns, a  router receives the signal from the antenna, changes it to data and forwards data to the WiFi card.  In order to use a WiFi device within a home, the user needs to set up a wireless router.  Once the router is set up, multiple systems with WiFi cards can access the internet on the same router.

When setting up the router, New York Laptop Repair recommends that you carefully go through the network security steps and download the correct drivers for the router to function properly and securely.  For example, the user should not create an open hotspot.  An open hotspot allows complete strangers to log onto your internet connection (which the user is paying for).  Also an open hotspot is not encrypted.  This means that any information that the user sends via this connections is easily read by anyone who has the right software.  By enabling either WPA or WEP encryption, data will be scrambled when sending out information making it difficult for third parties to read  it.

There are other precautions to take in setting up your network security for your router.  The SSID is the name of the network the user is setting up.  Each manufacturer has a default SSID for their routers.  Changing the SSID to a personalized name will benefit the user in preventing confusion (like accessing someone else’s network who has the default SSID) and will be more likely ignored by hackers who will look for easier targets (the default SSID). The user should disable the SSID broadcast (this feature broadcast the SSID name on the network at regular time intervals).  SSID broadcast is meant for business to allow network access for people moving in and out of range).  This feature isn’t needed for home use.  By disabling the SSID broadcast,  you’ll reduce the likelyhood of someone trying to access the network since it won’t be easily seen.

Another tip is to enabling the MAC address.  The MAC address acts as a physical address.  The MAC address tracks all computer systems that share the same network.  In order for a another computer to enter into the network, that computer has to be manually added.

Some routers have a feature that allows user to auto connect to a network.  Auto connecting to any available network is a security risk as data will not be encrypted and hackers use the auto connect feature to their advantage.  Disable the auto connect feature to reduce vulnerabilities on this end.

The location of the router should be place in a open space of your home and it should stay away from windows or doors.  If the router is place by windows, the signal will leak out onto neighboring homes.  Again, you don’t want prying eyes observing or stealing your network.

Another feature that is used to prevent a security breach is to assign a static IP instead of a dynamic IP.  A static IP prevents Laptop/MAC/PCs from being remotely accessed from the internet.  Possible the most important of these security measures is enabling firewalls.  New York Laptop Repair strongly recommends setting up firewalls on every Laptop/MAC/PC in use.  New York Laptop Repair also recommend that when traveling for an extended period of time turn off your network.

Most laptops manufactured in the last three years have WiFi devices already installed with the laptops.  However, if the laptop doesn’t have a WiFi card, then users can purchase an inexpensive WiFi card.  Having WiFi offers the convenience of moving to various locations outside or inside the home and still have full access to the internet and email.  The user also doesn’t have to disconnect and reconnect wires for MAC/PCs when those devices are moved to different locations of the home.  Many places offer inexpensive or free access to WiFi.   Common locations where WiFi is found includes Starbucks, libraries, colleges and universities, airports and other public spaces.  The user can also use a wireless enabled device for MAC/PCs.  For MAC/PCs, there are devices like the USB WiFi card which goes into any availabe USB slot and PCI WiFi cards that need to be inserted into a PCI slot of the computer system.

If the WiFi card isn’t working, there are a few ways to troubleshoot the device.  First, check to see if the network connection is working.  Double check that all the wires are plugged into the router and outlet. Look to see if the lights of the router and modem are on.  If the WiFi card somehow moved out of place reinsert it.  Also make sure that the the WiFi card is on.

If the network connection is working, then check to see if there is something wrong with the device managers.  If there are new drivers for the router, install those.  If the problem is not resolved after troublshooting, it could be the WiFI card.  At this point you’d have to check and see if the WiFi card is somehow damaged.

You can head over to a computer repair service, like New York Laptop Repair, to diagnose the issue.  The best case scenario is that the device can be replaced with the purchase of a USB WiFi card.  However, since most WiFi cards are built into the motherboard for laptops, there is the chance that failure of the WiFi card is the symptoms of a much larger problem with the other computer component.

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