Basic Wireless Network Encryption Glossary

Wireless Network EncryptionUsing and connecting to secure and safe network is a must to protect your data, gadget and also your privacy. There are several type of network encryption that is common today, in this post we will discuss some of those encryption types.

WEP – Is the first and lowest standard for wireless security. You will hear security experts say that WEP can be cracked in 5 minutes; this is true, only once you have sniffed enough network traffic for weak IV’s. Collecting enough wireless traffic will take at least a couple hours under ideal conditions. WEP can be cracked because it uses the same key for each data frame; so with enough traffic you can capture the whole key. WEP is getting harder to crack because firmware upgrades are helping prevent the transmission of weak data packets.

WPA(Wi-Fi Protected Access) – Is the upgraded version of WEP. WPA’s main answer to the flaw of WEP is that instead of using the same key for each data frame it changes the keys. This rotation of keys makes in vastly more difficult for a cracker to capture the whole shared key. WPA also helps wireless clients roam from access point to access point while working in an enterprise environment more efficiently.

WPA uses two different types of encryption, TKIP( Temporal Key Integrity Protocol) and AES(Advanced Encryption Standard). AES is the more advance form of encryption over TKIP. Some wireless adapters may not support AES encryption so you need to take that into account when planning your wireless network.

WPA2 – Further improves upon the ability for the wireless client to roam from access point to access point. There are different ways to implement WPA and WPA2:

WPA-PSK with TKIP – PSK Stands for Pre Shared Key. The client and the access point or wireless router will each share a passphrase which is encrypted with TKIP.

WPA-PSK with AES – This is the same as the above but you will use AES encryption. Remember you will have to monitor your wireless network because you might have more dropped packets with AES if your firmware is not up to date on your access point or wireless adapter.

WPA2-PSK + Mixed – This solution still uses the shared key but will accept either TKIP or AES encryption clients. This option is only available if you are using WPA2

WPA-Radius- This is the most secure wireless solution at this time. WPA rotates the keys, TKIP or AES encrypts the keys, and the RADIUS server authenticates the user. Authenticating the user is very important because without a RADIUS server you really don’t know who is using your wireless network. A RADIUS server is basically a database of user names with passwords.

If your PSK is leaked to the wrong person or stolen somehow, you don’t have any control of who is accessing your network. If you are using a RAIDUS server you have complete control over who enters your wireless network. RADIUS servers can create policies which limit what network resources the wireless user has available.

A great policy to implement with a radius server is limiting the times and days your users can access the network. If your business hours are only during the day you won’t want people using it at night. Also, you can use a RADIUS server to run a wireless hot spot which will take care of billing and customer portal.

Home users will want to use at least WPA with either TKIP or AES to protect your network. If you are more tech savvy you should use WPA2, this requires you to down load the WPA2 patch for Windows from Microsoft and update your wireless adapters driver. Some older adapters do not support WPA or WPA2 so make sure you know what you’re buying.

Business users will want to use WPA-RADIUS or WPA2-RADIUS. To use RADIUS you need to install a RADIUS server. Microsoft windows 2003 server can be used as a RADIUS server or you can use one of the many open source RADIUS servers which are free on the internet, such as Free RADIUS.

Just remember that if you use WPA2 you will have to down load the patch from Microsoft and update your wireless adapter’s driver.

Keep your wireless network simple and secure.

Easy Tips to Improve Your PC Speed

Improve Your PC SpeedPerhaps you’ve noticed your PC running a tad slower lately. There are no signs of a virus, or other mischief. It just seems to lumber along. Maybe it is only a matter of perception, because you can compare it to your buddy’s computer, and it goes like lightning.

Buying a new PC isn’t the only answer. Actually, there are three things you can do to speed up your machine, that are low cost solutions, and you can do them yourself.

Defragment

When was the last time you defragmented your hard drive? As your hard drive becomes crowded with data, it has to search for space to put things, sometimes putting part of a file here, part over there. When you want to work with a file, time is wasted getting it all together.

Defragmenting overcomes this. It organizes things, like a librarian would a bookshelf. All the fragmented files are brought together, so your hard drive can quickly serve up what you need.

If you use Windows OS, go to Accessories, select System Tools, then click on Disk Defragmenter. Click on Defragment, and let the program run. It may take several minutes to do its work, but be patient. The results will be worth it.

If you use different OS you can find free defrag software that you can download freely from the internet. But you must download it from trusted and reliable website to ensure the safety of the software. Unreliable website could put some bugs and special scripts to the software that could jeopardize your PC data and privacy.

Extra ribbon cable

If you have an older computer, did you know your hard drive and CD/DVD drive may be sharing the same ribbon cable? Think of that. Two of the busiest devices in your PC are sharing the same highway to the motherboard. Now, what happens when you get a lot of traffic on a highway? It slows down, doesn’t it? Why not give each of them their own road?

Get another ribbon cable, which will cost about $5. Plug it in to the back of the CD/DVD drive, and the secondary IDE port on your motherboard. On the back of the CD/DVD drive you’ll notice a jumper that can be set as “slave”, “master”, or “cable select”. Move the jumper to “master”.

Increase the PC’s RAM

You can double the effective speed of your computer, particularly for working with large files, things like photos, video, and 3-D. It can be easily installed. You just plug it in with your fingers.

Find out what kind you need by reading the label on the RAM that is already in place. If it’s an older computer, your local store may not stock it, but don’t worry. Plenty is available on the internet, and the older types are dirt cheap.

Things to Consider When Purchasing a Laptop for Your Need

Purchasing a LaptopIt’s easy to be intimidated by all the laptop models on the market today. There are literally dozens and dozens in every price range.

The key to finding the right one for you is to step back and consider exactly how you plan to use your laptop. When you define what you need before you go shopping, buying the right machine becomes much easier.

Here are 5 basic factors to consider:

Size

In the world of mobile computing, size definitely matters. The size of a laptop affects two key areas: portability and display size. If you’re always on the go and will be using your computer only in short bursts, a so-called ultralight will save you some shoulder strain.

On the other hand, if you’re going to spend hours in front of your laptop, a larger display may be in order. Today, some laptop displays exceed 17 inches, rivaling the display size of many desktop systems. The down side is that these monsters can easily weigh three times as much as an ultralight.

Hard drive

One way to determine this issue is to ask yourself the following question:

Will this be my primary computer, or will it supplement my desktop system?

If the former, you should look for a bigger hard drive – 500 GB or more.

If the latter, you may be able to make it with a 200 GB hard drive.

But even this isn’t absolute.

If, for example, you plan to copy a huge MP3 or video library from your desktop system to your laptop to make your music library portable, you’d be well advised to err on the side of too big.

Memory

In determining the right amount of system memory, or RAM, take a look at the ways in which you intend to use your laptop:

If your needs are somewhat mundane – email, spreadsheets, word processing, etc. – 2 GB of RAM should be plenty. This is a common configuration for many laptops, so it means you probably won’t need to spend extra for more RAM.

On the flip side, if you’re an aspiring mobile digital photographer or videographer, you should stuff your laptop with as much RAM as it can hold.

In fact, exactly how much RAM your laptop can hold may in part drive your purchase decision. Applications for editing and manipulating multimedia content are notorious resource hogs.

Network connections

With the Internet become so common in these days, today computing device relies heavily on being connected to; the Internet, a corporate network, a wireless network, a home network, and to an online service.

Therefore, your life will be easier if you buy a laptop that includes built-in means to connect to them all.

Price

If you’re considering a laptop, you’re probably wondering how much money you’ll need to spend. A few years ago, you’d be hard-pressed to find one for under $2,000. Today, there are plenty of laptops to be had for under $500. And if you OK with used or refurbish one, you could even get below $200.

What’s more, most of the major manufacturers offer a variety of financing options. Laptop prices have come down, to be sure. However, a laptop still represents a fairly major purchase for most people.

If you take the time to search for a laptop that meets your specific needs, you should get many years of use and enjoyment from this important investment.

What You Need To Know About Inkjet Printer Cost

Inkjet Printer CostThese days there you can purchase an inkjet printer for as low as $20 to the most expensive one that goes beyond $1000. With a rebate or if you can get your hand on the used one, it could even be cheaper. Not many people would argue about the good deal they got when they purchased their printer.

However, the purchase price of an inkjet printer really doesn’t tell you much about your cost of printing. After all, you do need paper and inkjet cartridges to keep your printer printing.

Well the fact is, unless you do very little printing, you will pay more for your paper and inkjet cartridges in the first year than you will pay for your inkjet printer. This is especially true for the low cost inkjet printers. In some cases, the cost of one inkjet cartridge is more than the entire purchase price of an inkjet printer.

If you look at an inkjet printer advertisement, you’d learn about some of the following items: the number of pages printed per minute in text and color, the time to print a certain size photo in black and white or color, the number of inkjet cartridges or tanks the printer holds, the near perfect quality of the photo reproduction, the outstanding resolution you’ll get from (so many) inkjet nozzles and a packaging list of items that come in the box when you purchase it.

However, in most inkjet printer advertisements, you will not see the cost of the premium paper needed to achieve that outstanding photo reproduction. The replacement cost for a black or color inkjet cartridge is nowhere to be found. About the only thing you will see with a dollar sign is the low purchase price of the printer and possibly the rebate.

Now, if you look at some of the most popular inkjet printers, here’s what you will find about their inkjet cartridges. On the average, a black inkjet cartridge costs between $22 and $30 to replace. A color printer cartridge normally runs between $35 and $60, depending on size.

To get your inkjet printer to print out those outstanding photos that will last for years, you will need to purchase some premium quality paper. Depending on the size, weight and quantity of the premium paper, you can expect to pay from 60 cents to a dollar per page.

As a consumer, you need to know that the major printer manufacturers are selling their inkjet printers at or below cost. They have adopted the marketing practice used in other industries, like the cell phone or razor blade. That is, they sell their initial product at cost or below and expect to make their real profits on the high mark up of their consumable supplies or services.

The truth is, the real cost of printing is not the purchase price of the inkjet printer. You, the consumer, should be informed of the on-going or real cost of printing. Then, you can decide how much you really want to pay for your printing needs.

If major printer manufacturers were to charge a reasonable price (with profit) for their inkjet printer and reduce the cost of their inkjet cartridges and premium paper, you would realize a substantial savings.

A well-informed consumer is a wiser consumer. If you had a way to estimate the one year cost of printing, depending upon your needs, you’d be able to make a much better informed decision on what inkjet printer would best meet your needs.

Until the major manufacturers change their marketing practices, you can do something about the high cost of printing. There are many reputable online merchants that provide compatible inkjet cartridges and inkjet refill kits that can save you up to 85% on the cost of printing.

Five minutes of your time reviewing some of these companies could save you hundreds and even thousands of dollars. That would definitely help you reduce your one-year cost of printing.