How-To Geek

The Best Wi-Fi Articles for Securing Your Network and Optimizing Your Router


Wi-Fi is a big part of everybody’s daily life. However, it can cause frustration if not set up properly or optimally. Worse than that, it can get you into big trouble if it is not secure.

Understanding more about routers and setting up Wi-Fi on PCs, Macs, and mobile devices, can provide a better and safer experience when getting online wirelessly. The following articles explain about the hardware used for Wi-Fi, and how to set it up securely on different platforms including mobile devices, configure and optimize the hardware, install and use alternative firmware for the hardware, customize Wi-Fi settings, and stay secure when using Wi-Fi on a home or public network.

All About Routers and How to Configure and Optimize Them

Before discussing securing your Wi-Fi network and using Wi-Fi in different situations, you should learn about routers, switches, and network hardware. The following articles help you to understand routers and how to configure and optimize them.

Using DD-WRT on Your Router

Most of us have a wireless router on our home network. If your router seems short on features, the following articles shows you how to use an open source, alternative firmware for routers, called DD-WRT, to boost your router’s range and add features, such as setting up a VPN server. DD-WRT unlocks features that aren’t available on all routers, such as static routing, VPN, repeating functions, and more. Even if you don’t use all these features, DD-WRT can make your router work better.

Using Tomato on Your Router

tomato_routerTomato is another alternative firmware for routers. It adds many useful features not available in the basic firmware available on most routers, such as bandwidth monitoring. It’s easy to use, making it useful for novice, as well as experienced, users. The following articles show you how to install Tomato on your router, how to use it to monitor and log your bandwidth and to connect to your home network from anywhere, and other tips for getting the most out your router.

NOTE: Tomato only works with certain routers. The first article listed below also lists router model numbers on which Tomato has been tested and is known to work.

Working with Verizon FIOS Routers

verizon_fios_routerIf you’ve signed up for Verizon’s fiber optic internet service, FIOS, you may not realize that the router they install for you is not as secure as it could be. By default, they enable the WEP encryption, which can be cracked really easily, allowing anyone to use your internet connection for whatever nefarious purposes they want. The following articles show you how to make the Verizon FIOS router more secure and how to reset or change the password on the router.

Securing Your Home Wi-Fi Network

secure_wifi_network_with_wpaSecuring your home network is vital. If you don’t protect your Wi-Fi network against unauthorized access you could end up in a lot of trouble. Anyone within range of your network could get into it and access your private files and use your internet connection to do illegal things in your name. The following article helps you understand Wi-Fi security and shows you how you can secure your home Wi-Fi network against intrusion.

Working with Wi-Fi in Windows

windows7_wifiNow that you know about routers and securing your home network, let’s learn about how to customize Wi-Fi in Windows. The following articles show you how to change settings for Wi-Fi in Windows to make it more secure and to work more efficiently and also how to share the connection and even turn your Windows 7 laptop into a Wi-Fi hotspot.

Using Wi-Fi When Travelling

With all the portable devices out there that allow you to access the internet, such as laptops, networks, tablets, and smartphones, finding free Wi-Fi is very useful. Even though the number of available free Wi-Fi hotspots increases, finding a connection is not as easy as you might think. The following articles provide tips, tricks, and apps that help you find free Wi-Fi access as well as set up SSH on your own router so you can securely access the web from anywhere.

Using Wi-Fi in Mac OS X

mac_wifiIf you’ve recently switched from Windows to Mac, you might be confused on how to do some tasks that seemed very simple in Windows, but confusing on the Mac. One of the things you might be trying to do is to find out the connection speed of the current Wi-Fi network. The following article shows you how to find this out in Mac OS X.

Using Wi-Fi with Mobile Devices

use_wifi_with_mobile_devicesMost of us today are carrying around some sort of mobile device or multiple devices that provide us with portable connectivity to the web or to your desktop PC or laptop. The following articles show you ways to transfer files between your PC and Android phone without the use of a USB cable, how you can use your Android phone as a modem for your laptop so you don’t have to pay for an extra service, and how to wirelessly access network shares from your iPhone or other iOS device. You can even wirelessly stream video to your iOS device from Windows or Mac OS X.

Now that you’re enlightened about Wi-Fi hardware and firmware and how to stay secure when connecting wirelessly, you can feel better and safer when using Wi-Fi at home and on the go.

Lori Kaufman is a writer who likes to write geeky how-to articles to help make people's lives easier through the use of technology. She loves watching and reading mysteries and is an avid Doctor Who fan.

  • Published 01/28/12

Comments (12)

  1. Vu1kan

    Working with Wi-Fi in Windows, when travelling, in Mac OS X, with mobile devices…gosh it seems that’s everything. Except…when did HTG start ignoring Linux?

  2. Cody (Not the Same Guy Above)

    I don’t think HTG is ignoring Linux as much there are so many different distributions that they could not possibly cover the setup for all of them. And if they did for just Ubuntu, people would complain about only covering the most “popular” distribution.

  3. Out_Cold

    Can’t forget about Linux when both tomato and dd-wrt are Linux kernel based. But most of those who use Linux as an OS can figure out how it interconnects with your network. I think that another part to mention (since it’s all about security) is the recent vulnerability report on WPS and should be noted that it is no longer safe to run that either.

  4. pbug56

    Let’s get real; there are some routers (like my recently retired) WRT610N that are best optimized by putting them on the ground and driving your car over them!

  5. mahmoud

    Really this is the best article ever see on the web thank you (how to geek)

  6. EdMcCorduck

    Thanks for putting links to all these networking articles together in one place. Very useful.

  7. kestrel

    I am from the old school, “if it works, leave it alone”. However all these articles on boosting and protecting your computer from intrusion sounds tempting.
    At this point my LinkSys router works well and I am intimidated by by changing it because if I screw it up, I have no one to correct the problem or return the router to original condition.
    Though I am not a computer novice, I know little about programming a router.
    Am I reasonably safe in converting the router’s programming to DD-WRT and Tomato?
    I’d appreciate any commentary from others who have made these changes.

  8. RonV

    Great consolidation of routers and Wi-Fi. How To Geek really does things no other technology blog can do!

  9. Ed M.

    Thanks for putting the links to all these networking articles together in one place. Very useful.

  10. Photog

    Kestrel: I am not an expert…just a casual computer user. Changing your router’s firmware is very easy and safe IF you follow the directions. I changed mine to Tomato 5 years ago and it was easy to do and is still easy to use. Go ahead, give it try. At worst you’ll have to get a new router and they’re not that expensive. At best, it’ll be like having a new router for free with better features and more security. Give it a try! If I can do it, you surely can.

  11. James Bruce

    … and disable WPS if you can, though it’s built-in most routers. Even with a WPA/2 secure password, routers with WPS enabled can be brute forced in a few hours:

  12. Bob Onysko

    I just signed up for a Verizon MiFi. It gives me (expensive) 3G and 4G Internet capability. However, it doesn’t work for much of a distance and the battery only lasts a couple of hours. I’d like to know if there is a way to improve both these shortcomings. Thank you.

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