DUSON students, faculty and staff frequently work and study from home, requiring heavy use of home networking equipment. Most home WiFi routers that are less than three years old do a good job of providing you and your family with fast, reliable service. If you have a good, strong internet signal, a reasonably priced wireless router will perform well. Here are some tips to getting the most from your home network:
But first, here’s our Tech Tip of the Week …
Tired of the finger gymnastics required for using the touchpad on your laptop? ClickLock is a simple setting that will give you more control when scrolling, moving, cutting and pasting using your touchpad. It takes a bit of practice, but once you get used to it, it’s a pretty handy tool.
·Open your Windows Control Panel
·Select Hardware and Sound
·Find the Mouse option under Devices and Printers
·On the Buttons tab, check the box beside ClickLock, then press Apply.
Here’s how it works:
·Once you’ve enabled ClickLock, move the mouse pointer onto the item you would like to move;
·Press the left mouse button or left touchpad button for a couple of seconds;
·Release and now the item follows wherever you move the mouse cursor – no finger needed;
·When you’re finished, touch the left touchpad or mouse button again.
For many folks, it’s an easier way to use the touchpad. Try it and see if you like it. If you don’t, just reverse the steps and you’re back to normal.
Home WiFi – Best Practices
If you’re purchasing a new router, start fresh with these best practices. Even if you aren’t upgrading your WiFi router, you can still use these ideas to keep your home network secure and performing well.
Step 1 – Rename your home network
Your home network name is called the SSID and is part of your WiFi router settings. The default name will be something similar to “NetGear02” or “Linksys”. Be sure to change this – a hacker will see a default name like this is an easy target. Here are some tips for naming your home network:
·Don’t make it too obvious, for example, by using your address or name. “802 Oak Street” or “Jimmy’s House” just provides too much information.
·Don’t be too clever. “FBI Home Base” or “Can’t Touch This” or “Hacker’s Beware” are just invitations to certain types of hackers.
·Pick a name that:
- Makes sense to you
- Is unique enough to be easily remembered
- Would be difficult to associate with you (specifically)
Step 2 – Make sure you have a strong WiFi password
I know. You already know this. But just to be sure:
·Never use the default password.
·Use a long password that includes numbers, letters and a symbol or two.
·Don’t give your password to your neighbors. Or your children’s friends. Especially. (See Step 7 below)
Step 3 – Use a strong network administrator password
Most WiFi routers come with default credentials such as “admin”. And the password is “password”. Many people don’t change this. And most bad actors will know this and try it out as a first step to gaining access to your home network. Be sure to change the admin password.
Step 4 – Select a version of WPA2 as your standard encryption protocol
Mixed WPA and WPA2 is your best bet for connecting all possible devices, including older ones. If you don’t have any older tech to connect to your WiFi, stick to WPA2 only.
Step 5 – Locate your WiFi router in the center of your home, if possible
A central location provides maximum coverage for your entire living space, plus it limits how much bandwidth is available outside your home.
Step 6 – Going out of town? Turn off your network
Here are a couple of advantages of turning off your home networking equipment while you are away:
·It minimizes the opportunity for hackers to take advantage of an empty home;
·You eliminate the possibility of your equipment being damaged by power surges while you’re away;
Step 7 – Set up a guest network
Most modern WiFi routers will come with the option of setting up several networks on different bands. You can use this as a way to give visitors access to WiFi without giving them your password. You can usually keep this disabled by default and only enable it when you know you’ll have visitors.
How do I know if I need a new home WiFi router?
If your WiFi router is less than three years old and you are happy with the performance of your home network, no need to upgrade. Not sure? Here are some simple things to look for:
·Do you notice that videos are starting to skip, look pixelated, or freeze when they hadn’t before?
·Are you finding that your WiFi-connected laptop goes off the network at random times?
·Are some of your mobile devices no longer connecting to your home WiFi?
·Are you adding more mobile devices to your router?
If any of these is true, reboot your WiFi router and see if that clears things up. If not, then through some additional troubleshooting, you may determine it’s time to upgrade your router.
Are you a visual learner or do you want a video guide to help you configure your WiFi router? Duke University’s training platform, Lynda.com, has a 6-minute video called Wi-Fi Setup (enter that into the search bar). This episode follows the steps to setting up a LinkSys WiFi router, and most WiFi routers follow the same configuration process.
Have any questions about this or other tech used at DUSON?
As always, if you have any technical questions or problems, please contact your IT Service Desk at 919-684-9200, or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.