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Windows 7: Ultimate Router Guide: Optimize Security & Performance

07 Oct 2009   #1
Microsoft MVP

64-bit Windows 8.1 Enterprise
 
 
Ultimate Router Guide: Optimize Security & Performance

Ultimate Router Guide: How to Optimize Security and Performance

Quote:
Home broadband routers are remarkably complex devices that few ever take the time to truly understand. As long as the lights are blinking, and webpages load, most people are inclined to leave them be. The few brave souls who venture into the firmware are often rewarded with a maze of menus that betray the true complexity of these underappreciated appliances. Wireless channels, security modes, and even port forwarding can be frustrating concepts for those without a networking background, but are absolutely critical to understanding how to optimize your home network. In this guide we will teach you the finer points of security, as well as give you surefire ways to boost your router's wireless range and optimize performance.

Why are Routers so Important

When most people think about online security, they often assume virus scanners, spyware detectors, and even firewall software are the most important weapons to level against those who would seek to exploit their machines. In reality, the router is one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal, and it rarely gets the credit it deserves. If you actually took the time to look at the raw data coming in through your broadband connection, you would be shocked at just how much background noise is constantly bombarding your machines. Unpatched PCs from around the world form sprawling bot nets designed to spew forth exploits both old and new in hopes of finding vulnerable targets.
Prior to the days of Windows XP SP2, machines plugged directly into the internet would often fall prey to these exploits, and would become infected simply because they were left on, and were connected to the internet. With the introduction of the firewall in SP2 the world literally changed. Windows now comes with this feature on by default, and drops unsolicited traffic coming into your connection. The Windows firewall isn’t perfect, but it was still a huge improvement.
Think of your router as an upgrade on this basic concept, and in reality, it makes for one of the most powerful firewalls money can buy. Forming an invisible barrier between you and the net, routers drop incoming packets that you weren’t expecting, and is much less vulnerable to exploits that would seek to poke holes in your defenses. A good router not only drops incoming packets, but it also refuses to acknowledge that an active connection even exists. This simple, but powerful difference between routers, and many software firewalls, provides that extra bit of security that can mean the difference between a virus poking around on your machine, or moving on. The Windows firewall is still important, but these days it should only be used as a secondary line of defense.
Read more at the source here: Ultimate Router Guide: How to Optimize Security and Performance | Maximum PC

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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07 Oct 2009   #2

ultimate 64 sp1
 
 

looks to be a useful guide...

...thanks!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Oct 2009   #3
Microsoft MVP

64-bit Windows 8.1 Enterprise
 
 

You're welcome Mickey. I thought it could be good for the basic 101 on them.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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08 Oct 2009   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate x64, Mint 9
 
 

Would be nice to have a guide on alternate router firmware, because the default firmware usually sucks.

~Lordbob
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Oct 2009   #5

Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit Steve Ballmer Signature Edition
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Lordbob75 View Post
Would be nice to have a guide on alternate router firmware, because the default firmware usually sucks.

~Lordbob
HAVE YOU NEVER HEARD OF OR USED DD-WRT, OPENWRT, TOMATOE, etc? They're easy...

Here's some info:
Best Background info: http://lifehacker.com/178132/hack-at...o-a-600-router
The Open Source WRT54G Story - www.wi-fiplanet.com


www.dd-wrt.com | Unleash Your Router
OpenWrt
LinuxPlanet - Reviews - Tomato Firmware Turns Your Cheap Wireless Router Into a Powerhouse - Turn Your Cheap Wireless Router Into a Powerhouse
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Nov 2009   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate (x64)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Darryl Licht View Post
HAVE YOU NEVER HEARD OF OR USED DD-WRT, OPENWRT, TOMATOE, etc? They're easy...
Hi Darryl, I looked up those pages and it looks like this is specific for standalone routers, not "gateways" - namely combinations of a
dsl-modem and a router. I wonder if something similar can be done to
these devices as well.

The reason I am asking is that I have an old Linksys device - WAG200G - which does not work properly lately and the official firmware update did not solve the issue (the device seems to lose the DSL connection every now and then).

At the same time I am considering a switch towards VDSL - and it seems I need a totally different device for that. But - is there really a hardware difference between ADSL and VDSL modems, or one can turn an older ADSL
device into VDSL by flashing firmware?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Nov 2009   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit Steve Ballmer Signature Edition
 
 

Only routers that are from a big name manufacturer and came with a firmware based on open source software. Not likely it would work with telco or isp provided unit.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Nov 2009   #8

Windows 7 ultimate 64 bit / XP Home sp3
 
 

Thanks Brink being a router 101er, I found this very informing.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Nov 2009   #9
INH

Windows 7
 
 

One thing you might wish to note is that the guide advises you use NetStumbler to check network data. However, NetStumbler doesn't work in either Vista or Windows 7, so I suggest that you link to Vistumbler instead.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Nov 2009   #10
Microsoft MVP

64-bit Windows 8.1 Enterprise
 
 

Thank you INH.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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