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dareys
Posts: 31
Registered: ‎03-25-2008

Configuring Linksys Wireless-G 2.4 Ghz router for wireless access using MAC filtering.

To whom it may concern,
 
I am trying to configure a Linksys Wireless-G 2.4 Ghz router for wireless access.
 
I read the FAQ by Maximus, and he states that in order to configure MAC address filtering, you must:
 
- Change the SSID name (he does not say if broadcasting it should be "ON" or  
  "OFF")
- Configure WEP 64 bit encryption (Using a phone number as key. Is text good
   as well?)
- Configure MAC filtering
 
I have tried to change and broadcast the SSID and setup the MAC filtering (I did not think I also needed the WEP encryption). The clients "see" the wireless network but
cannot connect.
 
So, my questions are:
 
- SSID broadcasting "ON" or "OFF"?
- WEP encryption necessary or not?
- Anything else I might be unaware of?
 
Thank you.
 
Jean-Pierre
 
P.S. This is my third post regarding this issue this week but they cycle so fast
         I don't know who has time to go back. Please disregard the older ones.
         Thank you.
Thank you for your time.
 
Jean-Pierre
toomanydonuts
Posts: 6,365
Registered: ‎09-16-2006

Re: Configuring Linksys Wireless-G 2.4 Ghz router for wireless access using MAC filtering.

I assume you want to setup your wireless network so that it is secure.  If so, I do not agree with "Maximus". 
 
First of all, WEP is no longer recommended.  The FBI has shown that it can be cracked in less than 5 minutes using tools that are readily available on the Web.
 
Also, MAC address filtering is a poor method of security.  While it will keep people from accidentally connecting to your network, it will not keep a hacker out.  Your MAC address is broadcast, and any hacker can simply listen for MAC addresses that are accepted by your network, then fake the accepted MAC address, and login to your network.
 
Furthermore, if your wireless is not well encrypted (i.e. WPA2, or at least WPA) then anyone within range can listen to your wireless transmissions (without logging in to your router) and see every data bit you transmit wirelessly.
 
Regarding "SSID broadcast", it should be set to "enabled".  This allows your computer to find and lock on to your router's signal. 
 
***************************
 
Here are my other tips on setting up wireless security:
 
To set up wireless security, you must use a computer that is wired to the router.

Where to find the router settings: The router's login password is usually on one of the "Administration" pages. The other settings are all found in the "Wireless" section of the router's setup pages, located at 192.168.1.1

First, give your router a unique SSID. Don't use "linksys".
Make sure "SSID Broadcast" is set to "enabled".

Next, leave the router at its default settings (except for the unique SSID), and then use your pc to connect wirelessly to the router. Test your wireless Internet connection and make sure it is working correctly. You must have a properly working wireless connection before setting up wireless security.

To implement wireless security, you need to do one step at a time, then verify that you can still connect your wireless computer to the router.

Next, encrypt your wireless system using the highest level of encryption that all of your wireless devices will support. Common encryption methods are:

WEP - poor (see note below)
WPA (sometimes called PSK, or WPA with TKIP) - good
WPA2 (sometimes called PSK2, or WPA with AES) - best

WPA and WPA2 sometimes come in versions of "personal" and "enterprise". Most home users should use "personal". Also, if you have a choice between AES and TKIP, and your wireless equipment is capable of both, choose AES. With any encryption method, you will need to supply a key (sometimes called a "password" ).

The wireless devices (computers, printers, etc.) that you have will need to be set up with the SSID, encryption method, and key that matches what you entered in the router.

Retest your system and verify that your wireless Internet connection is still working correctly.

And don't forget to give your router a new login password.

Picking Passwords (keys): You should never use a dictionary word as a password. If you use a dictionary word as a password, even WPA2 can be cracked in a few minutes. When you pick your login password and encryption key (or password or passphrase) you should use a random combination of capital letters, small letters, and numbers, but no spaces. A login password, should be 12 characters or more. WPA and WPA2 passwords should be at least 24 characters. Note: Your key, password, or passphrase must not have any spaces in it.

Most home users should have their routers set so that "remote management" of the router is disabled. If you must have this option enabled, then your login password must be increased to a minumum of 24 random characters.

One additional issue is that Windows XP requires a patch to run WPA2. Go to Microsoft Knowledge base, article ID=917021 and it will direct you to the patch.
Sadly, the patch is not part of the automatic Windows XP updates, so lots of people are missing the patch.

Note:
WEP is no longer recommended. The FBI has demonstrated that WEP can be cracked in just a few minutes using software tools that are readily available over the Internet. Even a long random character password will not protect you with WEP. You should be using WPA or preferably WPA2 encryption.
 
When you use WPA2, or at least WPA encryption, and a strong password, you do not need to use MAC address filtering.  (Note:  You can use MAC address filtering if you want to, but it is not required.).  Also, when you use this type of security, you do not need to worry about broadcasting your SSID.
dareys
Posts: 31
Registered: ‎03-25-2008

Re: Configuring Linksys Wireless-G 2.4 Ghz router for wireless access using MAC filtering.

toomanydonuts,
 
I will run a few tests and hopefully things will work. I also hope you won't mind a couple of additional questions:
 
- Even though you said MAC filtering is not secure, can you implement it, and
  encryption simultaneously?
- Do you know if firmware can be backed up/restored?
 
Thank you very much for your answers and you time.
 
Jean-Pierre
 
Gollum
Posts: 2,517
Registered: ‎09-07-2006

Re: Configuring Linksys Wireless-G 2.4 Ghz router for wireless access using MAC filtering.

you can secure and MAC filter at the same time. And you cannot backup firmware file, but you can backup the settings of router in a config file.
dareys
Posts: 31
Registered: ‎03-25-2008

Re: Configuring Linksys Wireless-G 2.4 Ghz router for wireless access using MAC filtering.

Gollum,
 
Thank you for the response. It confirms what Maximus wrote on both accounts. 
 
However, I may have been tired when I wrote the message, but I think one of the questions I really meant to ask was whether I could configure MAC address filtering WITHOUT encryption. Maximus implies you need to setup both.
 
As far as backups, yes, I saw and tried the option to backup router configuration (although it still has not worked for me) but not nothing regarding a backup of the firmware (in spite of a direct email message to TS).
 
Anyway, thank you for the response. I appreciate your time.
 
Jean-Pierre
 
toomanydonuts
Posts: 6,365
Registered: ‎09-16-2006

Re: Configuring Linksys Wireless-G 2.4 Ghz router for wireless access using MAC filtering.

You can configure MAC address filtering with or without encryption.
 
Likewise you can configure encryption with or without MAC address filtering.
 
The most important security measure is encryption.  It is far superior to MAC address filtering.  For this reason, encryption is highly recommended, while MAC address filtering is optional.
 
If you are using WPA2, or at least WPA, encryption, with a strong password, then your system should be secure.
 
MAC addresses are transmitted unencrypted, even when you are using encryption.  For this reason, it is easy to find and fake a working MAC address.  Anyone smart enough to crack WPA or WPA2 encryption and a strong password, will easily be able to fake a working MAC address.   So adding MAC address filtering adds only a small amount of additional security to your network.
 
I have no objection to using MAC address filtering, as long as you are using WPA or WPA2 encryption and a stong password.   However, I don't feel that MAC address filtering is required if you are using encryption. 
 
Also, I would strongly discourage you from using MAC address filtering alone (without encryption).  This allows anyone within range of your wireless system to monitor all your wireless transmissions, even without logging on to your network.
With a good antenna, your wireless signal can be picked up from one mile or more away.
dareys
Posts: 31
Registered: ‎03-25-2008

Re: Configuring Linksys Wireless-G 2.4 Ghz router for wireless access using MAC filtering.

toomanydonuts,
 
As far as the router configuration backup file, I tried creating one several times yeterday without success. The feature was not working before and it seems not to be working now.
 
In addition, when I am configuring the router using a secure connection, it doesn't let me work for more than 15 - 30 seconds. I may have to upgrade the firmware.
 
Anyway, I appreciate the response and will give it a try. I had configured WPA2 encrypted wireless before, so hopefully I can do it again.
 
Thank you.
 
Jean-Pierre
 
dareys
Posts: 31
Registered: ‎03-25-2008

Re: Configuring Linksys Wireless-G 2.4 Ghz router for wireless access using MAC filtering.

To All,
 
Just a short note to say that I have successfully backed up the router's configuration. It was just a matter of doing so through a non securte connection. If you use a secure connection it doesn't work.
 
Jean-Pierre
 
FBIG
Posts: 14
Registered: ‎03-31-2008

Re: Configuring Linksys Wireless-G 2.4 Ghz router for wireless access using MAC filtering.

toomanydonuts:

I concur with MAC only filtering. If you can change your router or computer's MAC address, then so can the bad guys. With appropriate cracking techniques, the bad guys can go for things like the man-in-the-middle or other such attacks.

Just my $0.02 worth----

FBIG
a.k.a Former Big Iron Guy
SOHO Network: E3000 TomatoUSB (1.28.7440 MIPSR2-Toastman E3000 USB Ext); WRT54G (Base Tomato 1.28.1816) as AP; Belkin 150 N+ Gbit Storage Router; HP P4@3.2G 64bHT W7(32bit)Ult & WinXP Virtual instance. HP P4@2.667G, XPProSP3. IBM P4@2.40G XPProSP3. DIY P4 64b@2.8G, W7Ult32. HP Lappy@1.6G, XPProSP3, w 100M, 802.11G, builtins 1G PCMCIA & WUSB600N addon Nics. all running NM 5.5.9195.0-pure0.beta. Hawking PrtSrv 100M to USB. Offline: BEFW11S4, WRT54GC, ADSTech NAS 100Mx500Gb. Son took Xbox360 to college. {sniff!}
dareys
Posts: 31
Registered: ‎03-25-2008

Re: Configuring Linksys Wireless-G 2.4 Ghz router for wireless access using MAC filtering.

Greetings and thanks to All for their responses,
 
I was able to back up my router configuration as stated in an earlier message through an unsecure browser connection. I was never able to back up the firmware though.
 
In any case, I have now configured Secure Wireless Access as suggested and everything is working fine.
 
I understand people are recommending that I do not attempt MAC filtering alone. However, now that I seem to have a secure encrypted wireless connection, it would be nice to add this funcionality.
 
So, I tried, but even though I have populated the MAC address of the machine into the list of allowed users, I cannot connect wirelessly with encryption and MAC filtering. The client sees the wireless network, but can't connect.
 
Any suggestions? In any case, thank you for the help.
 
Jean-Pierre