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I have an old wireless router, and I mean stone age old (5 years). There is nothing wrong technically with the router, it serves my wireless needs at home but it is really darn old. A search on Belkin's site for F5D7230-4 actually turns up a different old model so I scrounged up this old review for you to get a sense of what I'm running: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,1572451,00.asp.

Is there a valid security reason to replace this router in 2009? Google searches have turned up a few security threats to it and Belkin hasn't released new firmeware in years for it. I am starting to think I should replace it mainly because its NAT is about the only thing protecting me from the outside world.

Buying a new wireless router is a boring way to spend money since it just sits on a shelf doing its job. Thoughts?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 11 down vote accepted

I completely agree with @cwrea - if it only supports older, less secure protocols, it's time to upgrade.

You mention you're using WPA-PSK, which is version 1. The only reason not to upgrade to WPA2 is if some of your devices can't connect to it (e.g., My old Dell Axim PDA can't do past WPA).

If you aren't going to upgrade to an N router, I would recommend the Linksys WRT54GL router. I have one and they're a solid performer, and if you're into customization, you can load the Tomato Firmware or DD-WRT firmware onto the router and enable all kinds of super-advanced options like antenna power, etc. One of my favorite sites, Lifehacker, provided guides for using Tomato and DD-WRT.

If you're ready to go the N route (haha, route... router... get it?), Linksys has a multitude of sexy, fancy routers. I personally fancy the WRT160NL with StorageLink (a USB port for easy-as-pie network storage).

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+1. Hey, if you completely agree with me, where's my up-vote? ;-) –  Chris W. Rea Aug 7 '09 at 0:49
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I was so busy adding links to my answer I forgot! +1's for everyone! –  Jared Harley Aug 7 '09 at 0:54
    
Thanks both @jared and @cwrea! –  lyngbym Aug 7 '09 at 1:53

If your router uses only WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) version 1, or worse WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy), then yes, it is time to upgrade your wireless router to something that can do WPA2. Both of the earlier encryption protocols have known vulnerabilities. WEP can reportedly be cracked in 60 seconds (maybe less!)

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Router software says it's running WPA-PSK, so it must be version 1. Got rid of WEP long time ago :) –  lyngbym Aug 7 '09 at 0:21
    
Another reason to potentially upgrade: The IEEE 802.11n standard will be ratified soon (supposedly September?) so if you've been avoiding draft N routers for fear of future incompatibility, N won't be a draft standard much longer. –  Chris W. Rea Aug 7 '09 at 0:23
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WEP is indeed cracked. Avoid it. As for WPAv1... first of all, the real question is whether he's using TKIP or CCMP/AES encryption. WPA/WPA2 is not a protocol, but a certification. It only designates that the device knows certain encryption standards - (WPA has TKIP, WPA2 has CCMP/AES and TKIP). If possible, use CCMP/AES, which has no known vulnerabilities. As for TKIP - it's known to have a vulnerability, but only when QoS is turned on, and even then the exploit is pretty much useless. Of course, better to upgrade, but there's no hurry. Source: grc.com/sn/sn-170.htm –  Ilari Kajaste Sep 3 '09 at 12:20
    
@Ilari Kajaste: that page is from Nov 14, 2008 (look at the footer), there seems to be a newer exploit from 2009 for WPA: networkworld.com/news/2009/… (and yes, CCMP/AES is still safe). –  CesarB Sep 29 '09 at 3:00

Don't know why people insist on "wireless security". While this wireless technology is broadcasting (rather than some future wireless technology which might be point to point curved in space - picture a ether-cable if you will), there is no real secure way to do it. Plus what's to worry about?

If you really want to secure your data, do it so on your machines. Use passwords there. And backups. Tho I still vow for the best way for securing data is hiding it under your nose, at open.

But if you insist in upgrading, which isn't a bad idea, I'd suggest to get Fonera! I can never get tired of promoting it even though I haven't tried it myself! :P

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The idea is it sets up two networks. One is open and free internet for anyone, which you can configure to be wide open or pay to use. The second is your local network, which can also be open, but its default is WPA2 or whatever you want to put a key on. Now this is what every router should do!

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