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In my home network, I have a Linksys router that I use for wifi access. In my home office, I have a couple of computers that I want to connect to the network via a LAN connection and not wifi, so I used my old NetGear wireless router for this purpose since it had 4 available LAN ports. Now, my office computers are using the LAN connections just like I want via the NetGear router. My question is, since I have not done any configuration of the NetGear router, will anyone outside be able to access it? I have not set it up to be used and I can't see it when I look at the available wifi networks near me, but I want to make sure that no one else can use it either. Is this the case?

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2 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

If you can't access the wifi, then no one else can probably access it either. If the wifi light is not lit, then it is fairly safe to say the wireless is disabled and no one can access it. It is possible for wireless routers to hide their SSID which basically makes the router not show up in the list of available networks but makes it still available to be connected to.

You can make absolutely sure that your wifi is disabled by logging into the web interface of your router from one of the computers that are connected via one of the LAN ports.

From one of those computers, do the following:

  1. Open up the command prompt (cmd).
  2. Type ipconfig
  3. copy the number listed as the default gateway (this should be the router's IP).
  4. paste the default gateway into the address bar of a web browser
  5. log into the router and navigate over to the status screen or the wireless settings. It should have some indication of whether the wireless is enabled on the device.
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Given how inexpensive a small network switch is, it would be simpler and more secure to buy one and use that.

If you don't know how your old Netgear is setup and it's using the default configuration it could be eventually hacked, especially if the wireless radio is still on and using older protocols like WEP.

A wired switch would also eliminate a little unnecessary RF pollution in you neighborhood.

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It's true that network switches are inexpensive, but I was able to use the NetGear router basically as a switch because I disabled the wifi. The wifi being off should take care of the excess RF pollution, plus I get to use a piece of equipment that I've had just lying around for years and not buy anything new, which is environmentally friendly and makes me feel good! :-) –  OneSource Jun 23 '10 at 18:46
    
Good points and I applaud the recycled use. –  monkgeek Jun 23 '10 at 21:24
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