There are projected to be 2 billion Wi-Fi devices in the hands of consumers within the next two years. As with any technology, Wi-Fi has evolved pretty quickly. Thankfully, there has always been a focus on backwards compatibility. That means all of our older devices are still able to communicate with our newer devices.
Unfortunately, that can allow us to be lax about keeping up with the changes. For instance, most equipment supports the WEP type of "password" which can be figured out by anybody with 10 minutes and a laptop. Some very old equipment doesn't support the newer password mechanisms, but most of that equipment has already found itself in the trash.
While a security flaw of that magnitude may not have avoided your notice, there are some subtle changes that can be made to increase the performance of your wireless network. Under certain circumstances, updating your router configuration can improve not only the speed with which your devices communicate with each other, but even increase the Internet speed of the devices.
Recently, I started keeping track of how the various Wi-Fi networks I encountered were configured with my phone. I found that nearly 75 percent of the networks were either completely insecured or secured with a compromised password mechanism. Of those that used no encryption, and were truly open networks, over 30 percent used the default router passwords.
If you find yourself lost, and need a pro to secure your router, don't worry. It isn't necessary in most cases for a technician to have to come to the house. Most changes can be made remotely and quickly, meaning instead of a $100 service call, you can usually get away with whatever the shop minimum is. (I charge $25 for a half hour of remote support.)
Chris Buckley is a blogger for Burnsville Patch and the owner of Buds & Bytes, a shop that offers both floral and computer services.