I am having so much trouble trying to encrypt my wireless connection. If I am using MAC filters on my router that allow only the computers that I identify to access the network, do I really need to enable encryption also?
You only need WEP encription if you are 'at risk' of your connection being hijacked or have sensitive data on your network, this would operate as a backup to MAC filtering, both security methods have their weaknesses, the combination of both makes it harder to crack, but not impossible. If you are in a remote location, i.e. 300 metres from a public area or another property, then you shouldn't need either, unless you a) run a business network, b) hold sensitive data or c) are terminally paranoid. If you are running a single PC then disable file sharing and use a software firewall together with strong passwords, including machine logon. If you are running a network, consider putting the Wireless access point in the DMZ zone of your hardware firewall or on the WAN side of your proxy server.
If you need to identify the coverage area of your wireless network, use a laptop and a wireless sniffer utility to determine the intrusion boundaries, Encryption will only be of use in protecting time critical data, if you need strong protection, wireless is not for you.
To increase your chances of getting WEP to work, make sure that your have installed the latest firmware on your router and the latest drivers for your wireless adapters.
Also, you might want to start with the lowest common denominator for WEP which is a 64 bit (also called 40 bit) Hex WEP Key. If your router supports a "passphrase" (or something like this) which essentially fills in all 4 key fields, DON'T use it. This will typically not work unless all your equipment is from the same manufacturer.
To implement 64 bit Hex WEP on your router, in the Key 1 field, type in a 10 digit hex number (numbers 0 thru 9 and letters A thru F). Make sure that you specify that this is a 64 bit (or 40 bit) hex field. Some routers may make you fill in all 4 key fields. If so, use the same 10 digit hex number in each field.
On your clients, choose the Key 1 field, and type in the same 10 digit hex number. Make sure you specify that this is 64 bit hex and not alphanumeric.
Hopefully, you will now have WEP working - although there is no guarantee here since each vendor implements WEP a little differently.
Assuming you get this working with 10 digit hex, you might want to try some of the more secure WEP choices like 128 bit alphanumeric.
Thanks for the reply. The problem is, I can not get the WEP to work on the router. I am using a DLink DI 524 router. I select an alpha-numeric code of 26 characters using the 128bit setting. After doing this, the computer that is wired to the router can not access the Internet any longer. Then I have to start from scratch and configure the router all over again to get Internet access. Also, on the laptop that connects to the wireless network, after I enter the WEP code and click OK, it just disappears and the "Enable Encryption" option is no longer selected. At this point I am totally frustrated with the whole situation.
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