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Protect Your Wi-Fi Network Against Bandwidth Intruders

Welcome to Accidental IT, a series of technical how-tos for people whose job descriptions don't necessarily include tech support but who often find themselves doing just that for their co-workers.

Wi-Fi has become a common part of the workplace. It's easy to set up and sufficiently fast for most applications. But one of the main sticking points that keeps many organizations from installing it is the lack of a standardized, secure connectivity scheme. That doesn't mean that Wi-Fi connections are necessarily insecure. In fact, there are several very secure technologies that are generally included with most operating systems and Wi-Fi devices. For small businesses, the real questions are "How secure does your connection need to be, and how much effort do you want to devote to securing it?"

Many corporate environments are already familiar with VPNs and RADIUS connections, both of which were originally designed to secure traditional remote connections. If your organization is using one of these methods, it may be easier to extend these connections to include your Wi-Fi networks. Both are proven to be secure, though setup and management requires more specialized knowledge and ongoing maintenance than many small businesses possess.

That's why, for many small organizations, keeping the wireless network safe from casual intruders is enough protection. Implementing a multi-layered set of relatively simple protection measures can provide a surprisingly secure environment.

The obvious items

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