Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Wireless Network Monitoring

Today's routers are very simple to install and the included CD should guide you in connecting your computer to the router so you can configure the important Wi-Fi settings such as the SSID, security key and encryption. Coming up with a complicated security key with solid encryption should protect your wireless connection from unauthorized usage. But if you want to make sure that nobody is secretly using your wireless connection, you should resort to using network monitoring tools. These network monitoring solutions may not seem easy to come by if you look online but you may have some in your computer already. To find out if you have them, use these network monitoring tips.

The first thing you should do is check if your router can monitor the entire wireless network. Most routers are accessible by typing their domain url into your web browser. You should then be prompted with a username or password where you need to supply the correct details. A reset may be required if you forgot the username and/or password. You may also need to consult your router's user manual if the local address does not work. The interface and monitoring features can vary depending on the router but one thing you should try to look for is the section that shows nothing but the statistics of your router. This section may have a button where you can see the list of clients connected to your network. Simply clicking that button can take you to a page where you can see what devices are using your network and possibly more information.

The router can give you a general overview of your network but it cannot really tell exactly what each connected computer is doing. This is where you have to resort to programs that run in the background to monitor wireless activities. The Task Manager can only go as far as checking the network activity of your own system. Other third-party tools are required to monitor the rest of the network. But if you just want to see if there are unknown devices using the wireless network, consider checking your virus scanner or Internet security suite. Many modern security applications come with wireless network monitors to ensure that malware doesn't spread across the network. Try exploring those programs and see how effective they are in monitoring your network. Just take note that Windows Defender does not feature any wireless monitoring capabilities.

If you still cannot figure out a way to monitor your network, you can try looking for network monitoring tools using your favorite search engine. WirelessNetView by NirSoft is one example of a simple and portable program. Many of these programs are free so look for those before you try out any commercial solutions.

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