Ultimate Router Guide: Optimize Security & Performance

Brink

Staff member
mvp
Ultimate Router Guide: How to Optimize Security and Performance

Home broadband routers are remarkably complex devices that few ever take the time to truly understand. As long as the lights are blinking, and webpages load, most people are inclined to leave them be. The few brave souls who venture into the firmware are often rewarded with a maze of menus that betray the true complexity of these underappreciated appliances. Wireless channels, security modes, and even port forwarding can be frustrating concepts for those without a networking background, but are absolutely critical to understanding how to optimize your home network. In this guide we will teach you the finer points of security, as well as give you surefire ways to boost your router's wireless range and optimize performance.

Why are Routers so Important

When most people think about online security, they often assume virus scanners, spyware detectors, and even firewall software are the most important weapons to level against those who would seek to exploit their machines. In reality, the router is one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal, and it rarely gets the credit it deserves. If you actually took the time to look at the raw data coming in through your broadband connection, you would be shocked at just how much background noise is constantly bombarding your machines. Unpatched PCs from around the world form sprawling bot nets designed to spew forth exploits both old and new in hopes of finding vulnerable targets.
Prior to the days of Windows XP SP2, machines plugged directly into the internet would often fall prey to these exploits, and would become infected simply because they were left on, and were connected to the internet. With the introduction of the firewall in SP2 the world literally changed. Windows now comes with this feature on by default, and drops unsolicited traffic coming into your connection. The Windows firewall isn’t perfect, but it was still a huge improvement.
Think of your router as an upgrade on this basic concept, and in reality, it makes for one of the most powerful firewalls money can buy. Forming an invisible barrier between you and the net, routers drop incoming packets that you weren’t expecting, and is much less vulnerable to exploits that would seek to poke holes in your defenses. A good router not only drops incoming packets, but it also refuses to acknowledge that an active connection even exists. This simple, but powerful difference between routers, and many software firewalls, provides that extra bit of security that can mean the difference between a virus poking around on your machine, or moving on. The Windows firewall is still important, but these days it should only be used as a secondary line of defense.
Read more at the source here: Ultimate Router Guide: How to Optimize Security and Performance | Maximum PC
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • Operating System
    Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
    Manufacturer/Model
    Custom
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390
    Memory
    16 GB (8GBx2) G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4 3200 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING
    Sound Card
    Integrated Digital Audio (S/PDIF)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    3 x 27" Asus VE278Q
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    1TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus M.2,
    250GB Samsung 960 EVO M.2,
    6TB WD Black WD6001FZWX
    8TB WD MyCloudEX2Ultra NAS
    PSU
    Seasonic Prime Titanium 850W
    Case
    Thermaltake Core P3
    Cooling
    Corsair Hydro H115i
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master
    Keyboard
    Logitech wireless K800
    Internet Speed
    1 Gb/s Download and 35 Mb/s Upload
    Other Info
    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
    Logitech BRIO 4K Pro webcam,
    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    Linksys EA9500 router,
    Arris SB8200 cable modem,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Lumia 1520 phone
  • Operating System
    Windows 10 Pro
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Envy Y0F94AV
    CPU
    i7-7500U @ 2.70 GHz
    Memory
    16 GB DDR4-2133
    Graphics card(s)
    NVIDIA GeForce 940MX
    Sound Card
    Conexant ISST Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    17.3" UHD IPS touch
    Screen Resolution
    3480 x 2160
    Hard Drives
    512 GB M.2 SSD

Joan Archer

Cross Stitch Queen
Vista Guru
Thanks Shawn a very interesting article, and the comments made after it :D

My router has the strongest setting and changing the password was the first thing I did plus I keep an eye on it and know just what is connecting at any time.

I did notice the comment that was made with regards the Nintendo DS only being able to connect with WEP, I refused to lower my routers settings to enable me to connect mine so that I could download updates for my games instead I bought a Nintendo USB WiFi connector.
 

My Computer

System One

  • Operating System
    Windows 10 Home
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Envy x360 Convertible 15-bq0xx
    CPU
    AMD A9 Stoney Ridge Technology
    Motherboard
    HP 8312 (Socket FP4)
    Memory
    8.00GB Dual-Channel Unknown (?-0-0-0)
    Graphics Card(s)
    Generic PnP Monitor ([email protected]) 512MB ATI AMD Radeon R5
    Sound Card
    AMD High Definition Audio Device Realtek High Definition Aud
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Generic PnP Monitor on AMD Radeon R5 Graphics
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    119GB SanDisk SD8SN8U-128G-1006 (SSD)
    931GB Hitachi HGST HTS721010A9E630 (SATA
    Mouse
    Microsoft Optical Wheel Mouse
    Keyboard
    Standard PS/2 Keyboard
    Internet Speed
    62.86Mbps down 18.19Mbps up
    Other Info
    EPSON78D0CF (XP-332 335 Series) (Default Printer)

Brink

Staff member
mvp
Your welcome Joan. :)
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • Operating System
    Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
    Manufacturer/Model
    Custom
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390
    Memory
    16 GB (8GBx2) G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4 3200 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING
    Sound Card
    Integrated Digital Audio (S/PDIF)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    3 x 27" Asus VE278Q
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    1TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus M.2,
    250GB Samsung 960 EVO M.2,
    6TB WD Black WD6001FZWX
    8TB WD MyCloudEX2Ultra NAS
    PSU
    Seasonic Prime Titanium 850W
    Case
    Thermaltake Core P3
    Cooling
    Corsair Hydro H115i
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master
    Keyboard
    Logitech wireless K800
    Internet Speed
    1 Gb/s Download and 35 Mb/s Upload
    Other Info
    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
    Logitech BRIO 4K Pro webcam,
    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    Linksys EA9500 router,
    Arris SB8200 cable modem,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Lumia 1520 phone
  • Operating System
    Windows 10 Pro
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Envy Y0F94AV
    CPU
    i7-7500U @ 2.70 GHz
    Memory
    16 GB DDR4-2133
    Graphics card(s)
    NVIDIA GeForce 940MX
    Sound Card
    Conexant ISST Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    17.3" UHD IPS touch
    Screen Resolution
    3480 x 2160
    Hard Drives
    512 GB M.2 SSD
Brink:
Where was this info at, I could really have used it about a year ago when setting up a second router (wireless) into my network. I had to learn the hard way. When I did set it up, I assusmed the security was all default settings. I was wide open for a year...luckily there is no one around me with wireless connections. As of yesterday I went in and played with my wireless security settings which are at WAP2 personal w/AES now. It took me awhile but I got.
I tried contacting Cisco for some help but since my router was no longer warrantied they could help. I couldn't access wireless routers web based page from PC that was directly connected to it. That's why I contacted them. With no help I tried my main PC and I got in...very odd.
This worked for me very well because I'm a hands on type of person. I have to do it to understand it. Reading something once, twice or 10 times for that matter takes awhile to sink in for me. This guide would have been a nice easy set up guide like the ones you get from PC makers when setting up computer for the first time. A printer friendly version of this would be helpful.
 

My Computer

System One

  • Manufacturer/Model
    Self built
    CPU
    AMD Athlon 64x2 6000+ 3.0ghz
    Motherboard
    Asus M4N78 Pro
    Memory
    3Gb PC2-5300 DDR2 @ 667mhz
    Graphics Card(s)
    XFX Radeon HD 4770 512mb GDDR5
    Sound Card
    VIA HD Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Dual monitors: HP W1907 LCD 19" and Gateway HD Display 19" LCD
    Screen Resolution
    1440x900
    Hard Drives
    Barracuda 7200.10 SATA 3.0Gb/s 320 x 2-GB Hard Drive
    PSU
    Antec Earthwatts 80 plus 500 watts
    Case
    Ultra E-Torque ATX Mid tower clear side w/2 120mm fans
    Cooling
    Thermaltake MaxOrb cpu cooler w/120 mm blue led
    Mouse
    OEM HP
    Keyboard
    OEM HP
    Internet Speed
    Download 6885 kb/s upload 367 kb/s
    Other Info
    Optical: Super Muliti DVD burner w/lightscribe, Hauppauge WinTV HVR-1800

Brink

Staff member
mvp
Hello Jimbo,

They have a Print option that will give you a printable version of the article when you click on it there show below. :)
 

Attachments

My Computers

System One System Two

  • Operating System
    Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
    Manufacturer/Model
    Custom
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390
    Memory
    16 GB (8GBx2) G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4 3200 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING
    Sound Card
    Integrated Digital Audio (S/PDIF)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    3 x 27" Asus VE278Q
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    1TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus M.2,
    250GB Samsung 960 EVO M.2,
    6TB WD Black WD6001FZWX
    8TB WD MyCloudEX2Ultra NAS
    PSU
    Seasonic Prime Titanium 850W
    Case
    Thermaltake Core P3
    Cooling
    Corsair Hydro H115i
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master
    Keyboard
    Logitech wireless K800
    Internet Speed
    1 Gb/s Download and 35 Mb/s Upload
    Other Info
    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
    Logitech BRIO 4K Pro webcam,
    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    Linksys EA9500 router,
    Arris SB8200 cable modem,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Lumia 1520 phone
  • Operating System
    Windows 10 Pro
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Envy Y0F94AV
    CPU
    i7-7500U @ 2.70 GHz
    Memory
    16 GB DDR4-2133
    Graphics card(s)
    NVIDIA GeForce 940MX
    Sound Card
    Conexant ISST Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    17.3" UHD IPS touch
    Screen Resolution
    3480 x 2160
    Hard Drives
    512 GB M.2 SSD
I just didn't look hard or long enough but I found it. Thanks
 

My Computer

System One

  • Manufacturer/Model
    Self built
    CPU
    AMD Athlon 64x2 6000+ 3.0ghz
    Motherboard
    Asus M4N78 Pro
    Memory
    3Gb PC2-5300 DDR2 @ 667mhz
    Graphics Card(s)
    XFX Radeon HD 4770 512mb GDDR5
    Sound Card
    VIA HD Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Dual monitors: HP W1907 LCD 19" and Gateway HD Display 19" LCD
    Screen Resolution
    1440x900
    Hard Drives
    Barracuda 7200.10 SATA 3.0Gb/s 320 x 2-GB Hard Drive
    PSU
    Antec Earthwatts 80 plus 500 watts
    Case
    Ultra E-Torque ATX Mid tower clear side w/2 120mm fans
    Cooling
    Thermaltake MaxOrb cpu cooler w/120 mm blue led
    Mouse
    OEM HP
    Keyboard
    OEM HP
    Internet Speed
    Download 6885 kb/s upload 367 kb/s
    Other Info
    Optical: Super Muliti DVD burner w/lightscribe, Hauppauge WinTV HVR-1800

Brink

Staff member
mvp
You're welcome. :)
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • Operating System
    Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
    Manufacturer/Model
    Custom
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390
    Memory
    16 GB (8GBx2) G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4 3200 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING
    Sound Card
    Integrated Digital Audio (S/PDIF)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    3 x 27" Asus VE278Q
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    1TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus M.2,
    250GB Samsung 960 EVO M.2,
    6TB WD Black WD6001FZWX
    8TB WD MyCloudEX2Ultra NAS
    PSU
    Seasonic Prime Titanium 850W
    Case
    Thermaltake Core P3
    Cooling
    Corsair Hydro H115i
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master
    Keyboard
    Logitech wireless K800
    Internet Speed
    1 Gb/s Download and 35 Mb/s Upload
    Other Info
    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
    Logitech BRIO 4K Pro webcam,
    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    Linksys EA9500 router,
    Arris SB8200 cable modem,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Lumia 1520 phone
  • Operating System
    Windows 10 Pro
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Envy Y0F94AV
    CPU
    i7-7500U @ 2.70 GHz
    Memory
    16 GB DDR4-2133
    Graphics card(s)
    NVIDIA GeForce 940MX
    Sound Card
    Conexant ISST Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    17.3" UHD IPS touch
    Screen Resolution
    3480 x 2160
    Hard Drives
    512 GB M.2 SSD

kesume

Vista Guru
Wow! Brink,
What a great article.

I learned so much, especially the importance of the router itself.
It is for me, an article I will have to come back to a number of times to fully u/stand, but that's ok.

I answered a Thread yesterday relating to modem security, if only I had read this first, it would have been a more informed reply.
However, I know where it is now for future.
Thank you.
 

My Computer

System One

  • Manufacturer/Model
    Hewlett-Packard SR5019UK
    CPU
    AMD Athlon 64 processor 3800 + 2.40GHz
    Motherboard
    M2N68-LA (Narra)
    Memory
    2.50GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    nVidia GeForce
    Sound Card
    Realtec ALC888 Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    17" LCD Monitor
    Hard Drives
    160 Gb Usable Hard Drive
    Other Info
    HP G56 Laptop Win 7 64bit. 4Gb Ram DDR2's. Hitachi 450Gb Hard Drive. Pentium(R) Duel-Core CPU.

Brink

Staff member
mvp
You're welcome Keith. Yeah, they did a nice job on that article. :)
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • Operating System
    Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
    Manufacturer/Model
    Custom
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390
    Memory
    16 GB (8GBx2) G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4 3200 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING
    Sound Card
    Integrated Digital Audio (S/PDIF)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    3 x 27" Asus VE278Q
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    1TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus M.2,
    250GB Samsung 960 EVO M.2,
    6TB WD Black WD6001FZWX
    8TB WD MyCloudEX2Ultra NAS
    PSU
    Seasonic Prime Titanium 850W
    Case
    Thermaltake Core P3
    Cooling
    Corsair Hydro H115i
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master
    Keyboard
    Logitech wireless K800
    Internet Speed
    1 Gb/s Download and 35 Mb/s Upload
    Other Info
    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
    Logitech BRIO 4K Pro webcam,
    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    Linksys EA9500 router,
    Arris SB8200 cable modem,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Lumia 1520 phone
  • Operating System
    Windows 10 Pro
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Envy Y0F94AV
    CPU
    i7-7500U @ 2.70 GHz
    Memory
    16 GB DDR4-2133
    Graphics card(s)
    NVIDIA GeForce 940MX
    Sound Card
    Conexant ISST Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    17.3" UHD IPS touch
    Screen Resolution
    3480 x 2160
    Hard Drives
    512 GB M.2 SSD
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