I was at Best Buy the othjer day, minding my own business, when I saw a cute Toshiba laptop, 2.0 Gz Celeron, 15" display, XP, 30Gig HD, DVD w/CD-RW, trackpad and nice speakers. It was selling for $1100, but had a mail-in rebate that lowered it down to $700. A pretty good deal, I think, since I’d been surfing eBay and finding older used computers for roughly the same price and with no warranty. So I say I’ll take it.
They are out of stock, they can’t find it, I get testy, the manager discovers it’s discontinued so they can sell me the floor model, blah-blah-blah. By the time I’m done I get the machine for $550, and feel very happy with the deal. But wait, now’s when the fun starts!
I’e never had a personal laptop in the wireless age, and really like the idea. I mostly just use desktop machines. So I buy the Linksys wireless card and wireless router. Learning from Tom’s issues I just swap out the cables from the old (Linksys regular) router to the new (Linksys wireless)one. It takes a couple restarts, but the network recognizes, and all seems well. The portable picks the network up right off, but warns me the network is unprotected. I get to the router and put a password on it. Next I go to the “trusted computer”-type screen on the router settings, find my laptop, add it, then activate the protection. The other computers are hard-wired in, so I’m hoping that was enough, and the the router can tell the difference between a cable connection and a wireless one.
Now here’s myy question: What else should I be doing? I don’t want to get hacked into (there are several other wireless networks nearby, apparently), and don’t want to worry about adding a firewall to the laptop. Can the Linsys router protect the laptop, or should I firewall it? Lloyd, are you out there?
Once you’ve enabled WEP and given it a key, that’s about all you can do. If you’re really worried, change the WEB key periodically, and use 128-bit at a minimum.
Note that a stronger form of encryption security, WPA, may be available for the Linksys. If that’s so, you’ll need to download new firmware for both the router and the PC card.[/quote]
Thanks. I’ll check that tonight. I’m having a lot of fun tapping away on my networked laptop while downstairs in front of the TV, but just want to make sure I’m not setting myself up to get hosed.
You can also find places that have free Wi Fi and surf the net there. There’s a chain of coffehouse places in St. Louis with free WiFi. If you have any Panera Bread Company places, that’s the chain (though they’re called St. Louis Bread Company here).