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Configuring the Wireless Connection

Now that we have reviewed key wireless settings, let’s take a look at an actual wireless connection configuration.

As shown in Figure 7.1, the settings for this wireless router are clearly laid out. For instance, you can see that the wireless connection uses an SSID password of Gigaset602 and wireless channel 11.

Figure 7.1

Figure 7.1 Wireless configuration information.

As shown in Figure 7.1, you can adjust many settings for troubleshooting or security reasons. Here are some of the settings that can be adjusted on a wireless access point:

  • SSID: Figure 7.1 shows the SSID of Gigaset602. This name is used for anyone who wants to access the Internet through this wireless access point. The SSID is a configurable client identification that allows clients to communicate with a particular base station. In application, only clients configured with the same SSID can communicate with base stations having the same SSID. SSID provides a simple password arrangement between base stations and clients.

    As far as troubleshooting is concerned, if a client cannot access a base station, make sure that both are using the same SSID. Incompatible SSIDs are sometimes found when clients move computers, such as laptops, between different wireless networks. They obtain an SSID from one network. If the system is not rebooted, the old SSID doesn’t allow communication with a different base station.

  • Channel: The channel in Figure 7.1 is set to use channel 11. To access this network, all systems must use this channel. If needed, you can change the channel using the drop-down menu. The menu lists channels 1 through 11.
  • SSID Broadcast: In their default configuration, wireless access points typically broadcast the SSID name into the air at regular intervals. This feature is intended to allow clients to easily discover the network and roam between WLANs. The problem with SSID broadcasting is that it makes it a little easier to get around security. SSIDs are not encrypted or protected in any way. Anyone can snoop and get a look at the SSID and attempt to join the network.

  • Authentication: When configuring authentication security for the AP, you have several options, including WEP-Open, WEP-Shared, and WPA-psk. WEP-Open is the simplest of the authentications methods because it does not perform any type of client verification. It is a very weak form of authentication, because it requires no proof of identity. WEP-Shared requires that a WEP key be configured on both the client system and the access point. This makes authentication with WEP-Shared mandatory, so it is more secure for wireless transmission. WPA-psk (Wi-Fi Protected Access with Pre-Shared Key) is a stronger form of encryption in which keys are automatically changed and authenticated between devices after a specified period of time, or after a specified number of packets have been transmitted.
  • Wireless Mode: To access the network, the client must use the same wireless mode as the AP. Today most users configure the network for 802.11g for faster speeds or a combination of 802.11b/g because these wireless standards are compatible.
  • DTIM Period (seconds): Wireless transmissions can broadcast to all systems—that is, they can send messages to all clients on the wireless network. Multiple broadcast messages are known as multicast or broadcast traffic. Delivery Traffic Indication Message (DTIM) is a feature used to ensure that when the multicast or broadcast traffic is sent, all systems are awake to hear the message. The DTIM setting specifies how often the DTIM is sent within the beacon frame. For example, if the DTIM setting by default is 1, this means that the DTIM is sent with every beacon. If the DTIM is set to 3, the DTIM is sent every three beacons as a DTIM wake-up call.
  • Maximum Connection Rate: The transfer rate typically is set to Auto by default. This allows the maximum connection speed. However, it is possible to decrease the speed to increase the distance that the signal travels and boost signal strength due to poor environmental conditions.
  • Network Type: This is where the network can be set to use the ad hoc or infrastructure network design.

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