Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Putting the kabosh on the war drivers...

I've had an unsecured wireless network here in my home office for about 7 years. It's not that I don't think security is a good thing. It was really more the technical challenge of having a wireless bridge downstairs that didn't speak WEP, WPA or any wireless security protocol. Plus, there was the whole Robin Hood thing of bringing free wireless to the neighborhood. Of course, I live across the street from Microsoft's corporate headquarters and many of my neighbors already have wireless - secured too - so I wasn't too sure who was benefiting from my largesse.

Anyway, a few months ago I was reconfiguring my network and in checking the DHCP leases I noticed a host name that I didn't recognize. And I noticed it again the next day. And the day after that. I just reconfigured my network so all the wireless and wired clients could "see" the new 1TB TeraStation NAS device I just installed to store all my digital pictures and my backups - horror of horrors, my new friend could do some real damage now if he wanted to.

So, off I went into Google-land to figure out how to solve the problem. I didn't want to run a cable downstairs since that would be too messy so I was faced with purchasing a new wireless bridge that supported WEP or WPA. While checking out Netgear's product page I came across the solution to my problem: a "Powerline Ethernet Adapter".

I plug one of these puppies in to the outlet by my router, run a cable from the router to it then plug the other one in to the power outlet by the device downstairs and run a cable into it and I have an instant "wired" ethernet connection. It's worked flawless since I installed it last month! The only hiccup came when I plugged the device into a surge protector - it doesn't work as apparently the surge protector filters out the ethernet goo.

About 15 minutes after successfully installing the Netgear stuff I had WPA2 turned on and all my wireless devices reconfigured. Awesome!

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