Sunday, May 22, 2005

Who really cares about WEP?

When I bought my WAP for my home a couple years ago, I thought to myself "Why would I ever need WEP?" At the time, I was barely able to get a connection from my back deck to my network on the second floor. After all, I was on 3 acres and if someone is sitting in my driveway to steal bandwidth, then maybe they deserve it.

Fast forward to yesterday when we finally got everything unpacked. I didn't have a chance to setup of the office stuff yet, so I decided to dial in to my ISP and check mail. I flipped open the laptop and before I finished dialing I was connected to a network called "linksys". Cool. I clicked on my wireless icon, and then on "View Wireless Networks". A quick sampling yielded three unsecured WAPs ("linksys", "linksys-h", and "wireless") and two secured networks ("gassnet" and "SMC"). I got on "linksys" and "linksys-h" with pretty decent signal and browsed to a couple of my favorite sites.

Wait a second. If I can get on their network, they can get on mine. Not cool. Hmm, I have to think about this.

I got around to setting up my network today. First, I shut off the cable modem. Then I brought up the router and the WAP. I configured my WAP to only accept MAC addresses that I knew (my wife's laptop & mine) and I enabled WEP and picked a passphrase. Since my wife's laptop and mine were different versions of XP, the setup was a little bit different, but overall pretty easy once I figured out you don't use the passphrase at the client, but you use the hex string generated by the passphrase.

Both of us have become so dependant on wireless in our home. My next big wireless challenge will be getting another WAP and getting it to communicate with the existing WAP as a bridge so I can hookup my legacy equipment in the basement. Sometimes I long for those days when 56kbps dialup was fast enough.

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