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Testimonials

I would like to take the opportunity to thank Matthew Malcolm for his support on Tuesday in helping Harbourside Market resolve a major connectivity issue we were experiencing with the Motorola PDA’s and the commercial wireless installation. Please pass on my thanks to Matthew as his support was very much appreciated.

Merv Williams

Harbourside Market


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Wireless Security - Do I Need It?

Wireless networks communicate by openly broadcasting their signal. This means that anyone who is tuned into the same radio channel can listen in, in a similar manner to a CB radio.

The reality for public broadcast is that, unless adequate security is enabled, the entire network is open for random access. This means that any wireless user could gain access to all available networked resources, such as:

  • Shared folders
  • Networked databases
  • Downloads – unlimited amounts and content using your internet account
  • Banking and other private details stored on the computer

This is why setting up security on your wireless network is essential.

How does Security Work?

A “security-enabled wireless network” indicates that a form of encryption has been used to encode data before it is broadcast across the wireless network.
Only legitimate wireless network users (who have a valid encryption key) can decipher the broadcasted data and access the network.

What type of Security Should I Be Using?

Breaking through wireless security is very difficult but not impossible. With the right knowledge and tools, given enough time, a vigilant hacker will break in. So employing the most recent developments in wireless security is advised.

However there are some factors to consider: 

  • Newer security methods employ more complex encryption methods which can decrease the speeds of data transfers, and sometimes the overall running speed of slower/older computers.
  • Configuring your Wireless Access Point with the latest forms of security can mean that older wireless devices do not have the capability of connecting to the network.
Security Type Authentication Encryption Suitable for Corporate WAN Suitable for Home and Small Business WLAN
WEP NONE WEP POOR LES THAN GOOD
WPA (PSK) PSK TKIP POOR GOOD
WPA2 (PSK) PSK AES-CCMP POOR BEST
WPA (FULL) 802.1X TKIP BETTER *GOOD (EXPENSIVE)
WPA2 (FULL) 802.1X AES.CCMP BEST *GOOD (EXPENSIVE)

For most small businesses WPA2-PSK (Wi-Fi Protected Access – Pre-shared Security Key) is the ideal form of security. It provides above average security while still making it easy for new users to join the wireless network without technical assistance.

WPA (Full) & WPA2 (Full) make use of a server to authenticate network users and then deliver a one-time, unique, WPA encryption key for each session. In other words, you don't need a common companywide WPA encryption key for the entire network - which might leak out to unwanted users. (For example an ex-employee who knows your WPA2-PSK passphrase)

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