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Posted by on Sep 19, 2012 in Guides / Tips, Internet |

4 features you should know about your router

4 features you should know about your router

The growing popularity of mobile technologies has made networks are increasingly popular, wherever we go is hard not to find at least one wireless network that guarantees access to the Internet and, as we know, this is possible Thanks to wireless routers.

Wireless routers are fairly simple devices-at least in appearance, which, simply put, are responsible for providing connectivity between multiple devices on a network and in turn connect several networks and route packets traveling between them, assign IP addresses and even providing security, among many other things.

These small devices are designed and programmed so that they are easy to use for anyone, even for those whose knowledge of networks are practically nil. Most of them no longer need to follow instructions from a couple of pages and connect a pair of wires to start. But beyond its simplicity there are a number of configuration options that many overlook, and that can be useful and important in certain situations.

To access these options must enter the configuration interface. Access to these options varies from one brand to another and the precise instructions given in the manual of the device and, in some cases, on a label attached to the base unit. Usually just enter in the browser address bar type the IP address 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.1.1 and to authenticate the session using the combination of user: admin and password: admin (this also varies by brand and model ).

Once we got to the interface of our router configuration we will find a variety of options, some quite basic and others a bit more complex. Let’s focus on the latter.

MAC Filtering

Although some routers have security options to control which devices are connected to it, there is a much more effective method to allow / deny these connections, and it is filtering by MAC.

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Absolutely all devices that have a wireless network card, or otherwise, have a code that uniquely identifies this code is called MAC address. Now, with MAC filtering enabled, you can create a list of addresses of the devices you want to connect to your router or not.

Although this method is a bit more secure, has its cons. For example, every time a friend comes home and want to connect to your router with your mobile phone, you must manually enter the MAC address of your computer to the filter list, making one simple process cumbersome.

Port Forwarding

Data traveling across the Internet do so in packets, these packets are addressed to a specific IP address and port. Every application installed on the computer uses a port (or a range of ports) to communicate, for example, browsers use port 80 for http protocol that allows servers to connect to websites and apply its contents.

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The routers are smart enough to determine to which network device is targeted a particular package, but sometimes it is necessary to manually configure the way it handles traffic to certain ports and thus ensure that applications run properly, is the case of some games, programs to download torrents, among others.

Also useful when we have to open some ports a server installed on our computer and we need a client outside our local network to access Internet-this-from.

QoS

QoS stands for Quality of Service-QoS, a very important feature brought by routers to prioritize multimedia packets traveling through the router. As I said earlier, data travels in packets and each application generates a different kind of packages.

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When we have many applications making use of the free, online games and multimedia applications are affected performance significantly due to, among other things, an increase in latency.

When you enable QoS, the router assigns higher priority to multimedia packages and trying to reduce the negative impact. The rest of the applications load slower, but we can enjoy seamless streaming games and known or lag.

Guest Access

Most of us have a router configured to require a password to each new device trying to connect. By using this method, any user who knows the password, no one can connect and get internet access, but you can also access the list of devices connected to the router or in other words, have full access to our local network This can pose a security risk if an attacker manages to get the password.

To reduce risk of this type some routers have the option to grant guest access (Guest Access) to specific users and devices. This option allows the devices only guests have access to the Internet connection, but can not go much further into the local network.

Conclusions

These features can add some tips to improve the security and performance of our Wi-Fi network that had shared earlier.

It is also worth remembering that, if something goes wrong, we can restore the router to its original state using the reset button usually next to the power cord connector on the router, or using the respective option in the same management interface of the device.

Photo (CC): Nicholas Antonio Pina

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