Using Wireless Printers? Here’s How to Secure Them

With some reports estimating over seven million incidents of cybercrime and online fraud occurring in 2018, it would be a mistake to discount the risks associated with using a wireless printer.

After all, any time data is transmitted wirelessly, there is a chance it could be intercepted. When you think about all the sensitive information that is printed in your company, this threat may then seem quite real.

Try the following tips to minimize the risk of a security vulnerability associated with wireless printing:

Use WPA2
This security certification program essentially password protects your print job capabilities just as you would require login credentials to access wireless internet.

By controlling access to your wireless printers, you can also monitor who is printing what and detect when someone attempts to gain unauthorized access to your systems.

Keep Security Software Updated
Many printers come with some form of built-in security, but the installed version can only be effective for so long.

Regularly check for more updated versions of your printers’ security software and install them as they become available to be protected from the latest threats.

Use Data Encryption
Just as your emails and other document sharing methods are encrypted during transmission, you should make sure your printer data is encrypted as well.

This ensures that, if the information is intercepted by a nefarious third-party, they will not be able to decode the stolen data. This is especially important for printers you use to print checks.

Train Your Staff in Printer Protocol
No matter what measures you take to secure your wireless printers, they won’t be as effective if your staff doesn’t know how to properly use equipment or keep protection programs up to date.

Provide training to your employees about safe printing practices.

These tips don’t just apply to large businesses; the threat of a security breach through wireless printing systems can affect small businesses and even individuals just as easily.

With a little forethought and effort however, you can greatly decrease these risks to be able to print without fear.

Explaining Wireless Solutions For Your Small Business

Anthony Glover is Tech Expert’s network engineer.

When it comes to wireless solutions, the average user can get overwhelmed by the terms that are often used – and, in some cases, there are devices that sound like they do exactly the same thing.

We’re here to help and give you some information on the differences between the solutions you’ll encounter.

Wireless Routers
There are several router solutions out there made by several manufactures. The wireless solution you want to approach when running your business will not only give you a wireless access point, but give you good range and the least amount of interference.

If you are running a small business, a consumer grade router may suffice for a small structure of users. It’s a good solution if you are just getting started with your network infrastructure or if you want a decent wireless radio.

This is a good solution if you are trying to cover a distance of about 2000 sq feet. Routers also provide a DHCP capability that will allow more than one user to use your Internet connection.

Most routers have up to 4 ports and open doors to direct network connectivity for your devices, such as printers, range extenders, network-attached storage devices, or even additional access points. Some wireless routers even provide VPN capabilities that will allow traffic to be routed from one location to the next, providing a gateway between sites.

Wireless Access Points
Access points are similar to routers minus the firewall and additional ports. They support port forwarding and have secure wireless capabilities. Some even support the POE function (Power On Ethernet).

This function allows powering the device using a POE device and Ethernet cable and allows placement virtually anywhere.

Not to mention, they add domain capabilities via wireless to allow a workstation to join a specific domain.

There are two types of access points available: consumer and enterprise grade access points.

Consumer grade access points are access points that are typically designed for the home user while enterprise access points are for users that need additional features that are designed for business use, such as manageability, and offer a better solution for security.

Today’s wireless access points provide support for Wireless AC, which have speeds of up to 1200 mbps and are compatible with older Wireless B, G, and N.

Most provide a single Ethernet port to provide connectivity to the network. supporting 10/100/1000 gbps.

Configuration GUI can be accessed by utilizing any browser that’s connected to the network. Some can even be used both indoors and outdoors, providing placement flexibility.

Network-Attached Storage (NAS)
Network-attached storage (NAS) can be an essential form of storage for any small business that needs to access data and share it amongst many.

The device provides a central location that users can access and allows storage data to be copied and saved. NAS devices also have room for more than one drive for additional storage options. Several manufactures have NAS devices available, so remember to read hardware reviews to make sure you are selecting the ideal NAS device and make sure to review the features to make sure it is within your business needs.

Which Is Better – Ethernet Or Wi-Fi?

Luke Gruden is a help desk technician for Tech Experts.

To physically plug in your computer to the Internet or to use the air waves to connect to the net — more popularly recognized as Wi-Fi — is a good question to ask with many good answers, but it comes down to what you need out of your Internet connection.

An Ethernet connection is a wired connection from one network device (like your computer) to another network device. This wired connection is usually made of copper with some form of shielding.

Some Ethernet wires are even designed to take harsh weather conditions. Ethernet connections come in many different sizes and can be cut and made into any length you want, with 329 feet usually being the limit of a single long Ethernet cord.

A Wi-Fi connection is where one network device connects with another network device by sending wireless signals.

The distance that a Wi-Fi signal can travel is based on the strength of the signal, type of signal, and the objects and walls between both Wi-Fi devices. There are different type of wireless signals like N signal, G signals, and AC signals which can have a large impact on distance and quality of signal.

The benefits of using Wi-Fi are that you don’t have wires restricting where you can place your computer. This is especially useful if you need to move to different locations in a home or office without losing your Internet connection.

Wi-Fi is easy to share with others as you don’t need an Ethernet cord for each device that wants access. Your router can still have a limit of how many connections can connect, however.

The disadvantages of using Wi-Fi are that it can be very unsecure and have performance issues with maintaining speed or connections.

Public Wi-Fi connections can be compromised or falsified, causing everyone using the signal to have their data stolen. I avoid using public Wi-Fi signals as it can cost me all my credentials for websites I use. The benefits of using an Ethernet connection is that it is the most consistent and fastest connection you can have with another network device, providing consistent speed.

Ethernet connections are physical and can easily keep track of who is connected to the network and where. Ethernet speeds do not slow down with distance or obstacles. If you can plug an Ethernet cord in, the speed difference between a long cord and a small cord is negligible.

The disadvantages of using Ethernet cords is that if the cord is cut or damage, you most likely need to replace the whole Ethernet wire.

It can be tricky to conceal Ethernet wiring and require holes to be drilled throughout the building. You usually cannot move Ethernet wires along with you if you are using a laptop.

What it really comes down to between using Wi-Fi and Ethernet is if you favor security and speed or if you favor convenience and sharing.

If you need a secure environment with fast Internet speeds, you want to use a wired gigabit Ethernet connection.

If you need many strangers, family, or friends to connect easily and you need access in many rooms without hassle, you want to use a Wi-Fi connection.

Choose what is best for your business or home; if you have any questions, reach us at (734) 457-5000 and we can help you narrow down your choices.

Why It’s Important To Change Your Router’s Default Log-in

Mike Simonelli is a network technician for Tech Experts.

It’s a pretty common scenario: a small business wishes to add Wi-Fi to its existing network infrastructure. A quick trip to the nearest big-box store reveals several Wi-Fi capable routers or access points to choose from. Grabbing up the mid-priced model, the business owner heads back to the shop and uses the included Ethernet cable to plug the new device into an existing switch and, just like that, instant Wi-Fi.

There are a couple of concerns regarding the above scenario that the savvy business owner should be having. The first and most obvious: “I plugged it in and now everyone with a laptop has unrestricted access to my network.” How do you control who can connect to your Wi-Fi?

The answer is to enable a wireless security protocol on the router or access point. WEP is an acronym for Wired Equivalent Privacy (or Wireless Encryption Protocol) and it was designed to provide the same level of security as that of a hard-wired Ethernet connection.

Because wireless networks broadcast messages using radio waves, they are subject to eavesdropping. WEP provides security by encrypting the data to protect it as it is transmitted from one point to another. Almost all wireless devices will support WEP and instructions for enabling it on a particular device should be readily found in the documentation.

Enabling WEP will keep people without the correct password off your Wi-Fi and also prevent unauthorized eavesdropping of network traffic.

Another often overlooked concern is changing the default credentials that are needed to login and administer the new wireless device.

I can’t tell you how many times that I’ve connected to a wireless network and browsed to the default gateway I was assigned (normally something like and typed in “admin” and “password” on the login form that is presented and gained access to the router’s configuration.

The username “Admin” and the password “password” are typically the default credentials as they come pre-configured on Linksys routers, as well as some other brands.

If these credentials work, then potentially anyone can have unrestricted access to your router’s configuration. At this point, no wireless security protocol such as WEP will protect you since it can simply be turned off in the router’s administration interface.

Worse yet, an intruder can set his/her own password and change the admin password to something else. Once this happens, usually the only way to regain access to your own Wi-Fi network is to factory reset the device, which removes all of your configurations.

The bottom line – never leave a wireless device at its default settings when you connect it to your network. By taking the time to follow these simple guidelines, you will make your wireless device a worthwhile addition to your infrastructure, as well as making your network that much more secure.

If you have any questions during your router set-up or if you’d like to find out how to increase your office’s security using your current router, give Tech Experts a call at (734) 457-5000, or email We’d be happy to help.

What Can I Do To Strengthen My Wifi Signal?

A weak WiFi signal in certain areas of your house could limit where you do your work and enjoy your entertainment activities, such as streaming films music or playing online games. This is actually a common issue with a couple of relatively easy fixes that will improve your wireless Internet connection throughout your house.

The first option is to replace the antenna on your router with a taller one. If your router has a built-in antenna, you can likely add an external one and see a marked increase in signal quality. There are two main types of antennae: omnidirectional and directional. An omnidirectional antenna transmits in all directions, while you can point a directional antenna where you need to strengthen the signal without making it easier for others to latch onto your WiFi. The other alternative to improve your wireless signal is to install a range extender, particularly if the area that requires the strongest signal is behind thick walls or is relatively small.

Is Someone Using Your WiFi? Here’s How To Find Out

There’s no doubt about the convenience of using wireless in your home or office. However, you don’t want just anybody hopping on your WiFi, using your network, and breaching its security. Having a unique password doesn’t mean you are immune to this problem.

If you ever notice that your connection is much slower than usual, it’s worth taking a peek at just how many devices are connected to your wireless network.

You can download and install a program aptly called “Who Is on Your WiFi” to know if there are other people connected to your hot spot who should not be. The free version is sufficient to detect intruders, but there are also paid versions with extra features like text notifications, audit logs, etc.

Once you install the application, all you have to do is follow the tutorial to run a scan of your network and review information about devices that are linked to your connection.

Initially, you may not recognize which MAC and IP addresses correspond with which device, but there’s an easy way to identify them. Turn off all of your devices, then turn them on one by one. If you only have one known device connected to your WiFi, and the “Who Is on Your WiFi” application is showing more than that device, it’s a safe bet someone is sharing your Internet connection. Take the appropriate measure of immediately changing your wireless password and only share it with family or designated individuals you want to have it.

For future scans, you can label each of your devices as something easily recognizable, such as My Phone or Dad’s Laptop, to facilitate the identification of intruders.

Considerations When Buying A Home Wireless Router

Wi-Fi Router vectorChoosing and buying a router for your wireless internet at home can be a frustrating experience; you want speed, performance and coverage as well as longevity in the life of your upgraded router.

It’s not an easy task if you add to it the complexity of all those numbers attached to the router and the knowledge required to install it.

So, here are few considerations that will help you choose your next wireless router:

What’s the end goal?
Ask yourself: why am I buying a router? If it’s simply to build a wireless network at home and have access to the Internet, you could probably get away with a router at under $200.

However, if you want extra features, such as added security, parental controls, the ability to connect USB printers, and added external storage drives for data sharing, you need to search for a higher end router.

Also, you may not even need to have a wireless router in your house, especially if you use a PC or laptop that is already connected to a cable or DSL modem and there are no other devices that need to be connected wirelessly to the internet.

Should you go for a single or dual band?
Bands are the frequencies in which wireless communications operate. A single-band is geared toward simple wireless networks and a dual-band router operates on both the 2.4 and 5 GHz frequencies.

Although a router that sustains the 5 GHz frequency will work great for gaming and online streaming, it is not as good as the 2.4 when it comes to distance. So, consider the distance you need to cover when choosing the required band.

Further considerations
When buying your next router, remember that soon enough the 6th version of the Internet Protocol (IPv6) will be here, so you will need a router that supports this transition.

Another consideration is extra features that a router may offer, such as SD card slots and USB ports for printers for example.

If you want to future-proof your investment, make sure you get an 802.11 AC router, which is fast becoming the standard in wireless networking.

Finally, even with home networks, the more security, the better!

(Image Source: iCLIPART)

Wireless Fidelity Expands Its Broadcast

Every day, technology advancements are changing the way we live our lives.

From the way we communicate with family, friends and co-workers to the way we shop, provide healthcare, and even land that dream job.

Now, thanks to advancements in the standard known as “WiFi” or wireless fidelity, we can now add the way we watch television to that list.

A recent study shows that by the end of 2011, more than 20 million television sets equipped with WiFi connectivity will have been shipped worldwide to mainly North America, Western Europe, and a handful of selected Asian countries.

So you might ask yourself, “What is WiFi equipped television?” To better understand this new rising technology, we need to take a look at what WiFi is.

WiFi, which stands for wireless fidelity, is a communications standard that allows WiFi enabled devices such as laptop computers, MP3 players, smart phones, and soon televisions to connect to an access point (a wireless router or hotspot) which then connects your device to the Internet.

From there, the possibilities are almost endless as to what you can access.

TV industry producers now understand the power of this technology. They are also realizing how many people would love to be able to stream their favorite media websites such as YouTube, Metcalfe, CNN, Facebook, and MySpace directly to their television sets.

One of the big trends this year has been the rise of Netflix, (which seems to be why we’ve seen the fall of Blockbuster and any other video/media rental business).

Why would you ever leave your home if you could simply connect to a site like Netflix, or any of the other super popular media sites, and browse their thousands of movie titles right from the comfort of your own home, without having to leave the couch? You probably wouldn’t.

This is why giants like Sony, Samsung, and Toshiba are working closely with technology gurus to make what could be the next big thing in television. As of right now, the people who already have this technology in their homes are pretty limited to what content they can stream to their sets.

However, as this begins to boom in the marketplace, the evolution of full web browsing on your TV is something I’m sure we can look forward to seeing in the future.

Best Steps To Secure Your Wireless Network

Do you have a wireless router or wireless access point (WAP) set up in your home or business? If so, is it secured and locked down from hackers and snooping eyes?

There are three basic steps you can take to secure your wireless network.  I recommend performing all of them.

By default, most routers have no security set up right out of the box. This means that your neighbors or anyone close enough to pick up your wireless signal can connect to your wireless network without you knowing it.

They can freely browse the web and without the proper security in place, your router and any network device connected to it (computer, cell phone, etc.) becomes visible to anyone that can see your wireless signal.

From that point on, it is  easy for a hacker to connect to your computer and see your files or steal and delete your data. If you’re not comfortable making changes to your network, then have a trusted IT company such as Technology Experts to make those changes for you.

If you are computer savvy then follow these three basic steps to make your network more secure.

Change Your SSID
Your SSID (Service Set Identifier, which is simply the name of your wireless network) is what you connect to for Internet access.

You want to change the SSID from open security to “WPA2.” This is the most secure setting currently available on most routers. You’ll also need to assign a security key commonly called a pass phrase.

Do not use something common such as your name, child’s name, or any other name that is associated with you. Use a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and characters.

Don’t Broadcast Your SSID
Who needs to know the name of your wireless network? No one other than you. Not your neighbor next door or that guy driving down the road trying to connect to a non-secured network.

There is a setting in your router to disable the broadcast of your SSID.  Again, if you are unsure, then have a trusted IT company perform these changes.

Change Your Router’s Login Password
The last thing to do is  change your router’s management interface username and password.

All routers come with a default user name and password that is easily available on-line for anyone to find.

If you don’t change it, a hacker who gained access to your wireless network (or someone you allowed access), can simply log into your router and play havoc with your network. Be sure to change the password.

Following these three basic steps will make your wireless network much more secure from hackers and from intruders accessing your internet connection.

While a very skillful hacker can still get around even this security, they won’t bother trying.

There are too many unsecured networks out there, so hackers would not waste their time trying to break a network that is configured securely.

Remember, if you need assistance or would like a great IT company to perform these changes, give Tech Experts a call at (734) 457-5000.

Tired Of Being Tied Down? It’s Time To Lose The Wires!

Security Tips For Your New Wireless Network

With the decline in the cost of wireless equipment and “point and click” configuration ability most newer equipment offers, more and more people are setting up wireless networks in their homes and businesses.

One key configuration that is often missed, though, is security of the wireless network.

Is the wireless connection you’re using secure, is your data in jeopardy, and is your identity safe?

You might be asking yourself “How do I secure my network, and what does it mean so say a wireless network is unsecure?”

If a network is classified as unsecure, it means that the network can be accessed without the need for a key, or password. You’ll find unsecure networks in a lot of public places, such as coffee shops and airports.

The problem is that once a  user is connected to an unsecure network, it is possible they could access network resources such as files, folders, printers, etc. that are shared on your computer – many times, without you even knowing.

As you know, this could be a world of trouble if your confidential data is obtained by an unknown user.

A number of things can be done to ensure your wireless network is safe, network resources are protected, and your data is securely stored on your system.

Software or hardware devices can be implemented, and are one of the first lines of defense, to prevent unauthorized access of your wireless network. Most wireless routers include basic firewall protection – it just has to be turned on when the unit is configured.

The SSID is the name of your network. Most routers come with a default SSID, which, if left that way, is a sign of a poorly configured network. This makes you an easy targets for hackers.

Password Changes
By default, wireless routers have a standard username and password that can be easily looked up on the web.

You should definitely set up your own username and password to access your wireless device’s setup screens, so hackers or unwanted Internet users can’t go into the settings on your router and make changes to your security settings.

Be sure to follow standard password security when coming up with the password for your wireless router – you don’t want hackers to be able to easily guess your password, and access your setup screens.

Signal Strength
Most routers allow you to set the signal strength of the network broadcast. Turning the signal down on your router lowers the  chances of outsiders being in range of your wireless network.

Enable Encryption
This is one of the most important steps to securing your wireless network- require a key or network password in order to connect to the wireless network.

There are several types of encryption, the most common being WEP, WAP, and WAP2. Each provides a different level and method of network security. Any form of encryption is better than having an open wireless network.

Securing your wireless network plays a key role in the protection of your data, network resources, and overall privacy when you’re using a home or work network. It’s a quick and easy process, requiring just a few changes to the default setup. The peace of mind and convenience of wireless networking are worth the extra few steps.