Several months ago I had to troubleshoot a wireless connection issue. I used NetStumbler to figure out all the available wireless networks available and I was very surprised by the number of wireless APs (access points) available. I was used to picking up stray wifi APs as most people usually do in the home or office in large cities, but I was surprised by how many there were.
NetStumbler allowed me to see what wireless channel each AP was using, which helped me determine which ones to avoid. If your wireless AP is on a channel that is very busy, you are bound to get disconnected from time to time. Most people stay on the default channels or let it autonegotiate channels and it may help to change it to something other than the default. Here is a link to some NetStumbler Alternatives if you are looking for one. Kismet for linux is said to be very good and here are two tutorials I found on installing it on Ubuntu 8.10.
Knowing how easy it is to pickup other people's wireless signals, I got to thinking about wifi security. When it comes to wireless, security is much more complicated than wired connections. That is why it is important to make sure you are doing your part in keeping your computing devices secure. Below are some tips I have read about and put to practice.
- Always use a personal firewall
- Always have up to date Antivirus and Antispyware
- Avoid open access, ad hoc WiFi networks
- When using public WiFi, use your corporate VPN for any work related links
- Make sure all your trafic is individually encrypted. Use SSL (POP3S, IMAPS and SMTPS/SMTPTLS) instead of regular POP3, IMAP and SMTP.
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Photo by curiouslee