Once you have gone wireless, you will never go back. That said, it can can be a real headache to get working right, especially if you are trying to do the right thing and make your network secure. Here are some of my suggestions to having a successful wireless network:
- Survey the neighborhood to find out what wireless channels are being used. In some neighborhoods, there may be ten or more networks all using the same two or three channels. Conduct this survey from every location in your home where you anticipate having a wireless device. Note the signal strength, and channel numbers your neighbors are using. Then try to pick a channel which has the fewest number of and fewest strong users of that channel and adjacent channels (as it turns out channels 1, 6 and 11 are the only ones which are 100% non-overlapping.) Don't obsess too much, WIFI was designed to share!
- I have found that disabling broadcast of the SSID (or wireless network name) can be problematic to some devices re-establishing connections to the network. Although this was a common suggestion in countless internet 'How-To' sites for improving the security of your network, I'd avoid it. The guys smart enough to break in will see your network anyway.
- One rule of thumb I have for wireless security is this: you only have to worry about the security to the degree to which the introverted teen-aged boy in the neighborhood likes to tinker with computers.
- If you have neighbors you trust like mine, you may actually want to make your network identifiable to those who know you in the neighborhood (such as using pets names in it's SSID: "Snoopy & Tigger's house"--don't use peoples names or your street address). That way if a neighbor notices something about your network that they want to talk about, they know who to talk to.