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In 2007 the US Census data determined that 88.7 million households had
computers. That was 78% of all households in America! It is likely that in 2011
we have reached 90% or better.
Computers can do so much for us, but it all comes down to connections. One
small wire opens up a portal that allows us to do and go practically anywhere.
Congress is already putting together a National Broadband Plan to bring high-
speed internet to rural America. This means almost every computer user will
have some type of connectivity.
There are three types of connectivity names that everyone needs to understand.
They are: LAN, WLAN and WWAN.
LAN, simply means a physical connection to the computer. This is a wire that
plugs into the port in your unit and goes to the router box provided by your phone
or cable company.
WLAN, is a Wireless Local Area Network. It is commonly called Wi-Fi and is
what HotSpot locations use, such as Starbucks. Almost all computers and
laptops that are sold today have wireless capabilities needed.
WWAN, means a Wide Wireless Local Network. It is a mobile broadband that
cell phones use and is commonly called 3G or 4G, and means 3rd Generation
and 4th Generation. Other former names were 2G and 2.5G.
Unless the device you have is meant to travel far distances most home owners
and business owners use either a LAN or WLAN connection. Wireless
connections out beat LAN connections because wireless connections are more
convenient for today’s society. The wireless connection allows you to move
around your home, office or property without losing your Internet connection.
This is the main reason why laptops are so popular as they have just as much
speed and memory capabilities as desktop computers, but have the ability to
travel with us.
One major difference between LAN and WLAN is security. A wireless device
uses bandwidth signals, and those waves can be picked up by other people
beside you. An open network allows outsides to gain access to your device and
Have no fear, as you can protect yourself. Be sure your wireless router is
password-protected. Your password should be as difficult as possible without
making it ridiculous to remember. Avoid using simple combinations like your
phone number, birth dates, social security numbers and other information that
can be easily obtained by professional hackers. Always use a combination of
upper and lowercase letters along with numbers. Instead of your regular birth
date 05211970 (May 21, 1970), change it to something like M05a21Y1970.
This still contains the birth date but also contains the work May. Many new
routers will not allow you to use simple codes, but as a rule of the thumb, all of
your passwords you use daily should be difficult enough to deter an adequate
Your next defense is a Firewall. A Firewall protects your data from Internet
hackers. In today’s world we hear all too often the affects that identity theft play
in peoples lives, and the devastation of viruses hitting the internet. There are
actually two types of Firewalls. One is used by your computer, the other is
network based and safeguards all of the computers sharing your wireless
network. More is better, every personal computer devise should be protected by
its own Firewall and your wireless network should be protected.
When you first purchase your wireless router, the manufacturer provides you
with a website to enter your information and username/password. These initial
settings can easily be hacked over the internet. The moment you have
confirmation that your router is working, immediately change your administrator
passwords and all usernames. Again, your usernames and passwords should
always be difficult for people to access. Do not use simple combinations like:
Admin: Fred, Password: Flintstone.
The wireless router will also come with a default network name which is known
as SSID or Service Set Identifier. The SSID needs to be the same for all of the
devices in your home or business that you wish to have connected to the
wireless network. If you leave the default SSID, it may indicate to a hacker that
you have little computer knowledge and can be easy prey. Just like everything
else, avoid using the simple elementary names. Personal information about you
and your family is easy to obtain. Your memories are not. Try mixing up
something like where you first met your spouse: in London in 1985 on Canal
Street. Your new SSID number can look like: 1L0nd0n9Cana18Str33t5. What
we did in this example is use the year 1985 and broke it up evenly, then we took
the key words: London, Canal, Street and made it a combination of upper and
lowercase letters and changed easy alphabet letters to numbers. An ‘O’ can be
substituted with a Zero. An ‘L’ becomes a 1 and so on. Be creative while
maintaining an easy-to-remember combination.
If you are a home network, you need to make sure you disable the SSID
broadcast. This is a feature used by businesses and hot spots. This can be
disabled by logging into your network using the admin password. Not changing
this broadcast feature will also single hackers that you may be easy to hack.
When you are setting up your wireless router, be sure to set the unit as close to
the center of your home as possible. This will help confine the signals closer to
you and away from the street and/or neighbors. So a hallway closet is better
than putting the unit on a table by the front window. Also, keep the devise away
from household appliances like telephones and microwaves.
Finally, if you are going away on vacation or for a few days, shut the router off if
you do not need it. Why leave something open for attack while you are away?
This is only feasible if you only use the network for your computer and not for
VOIP phones, security cameras, servers or other devices that require a steady
More and more people are going wireless and are staying in contact with family
and friends by using their computers, laptops and mobile devices. We are all
connecting and need to make sure we keep our data safe. Always be sure to