Technical support frequently asked questions

This is the list of questions asked by Westcom Broadband customers to tech support.

Q. How do I set up my Wireless Router so I have a Secure, Wireless network?

A. Wireless routers allow you to be free of cables snaking around your home, however if you do not secure your wireless router, then neighbors, kids or anyone within a couple hundred feet of your wireless router may be able to log onto your router allowing them to use your internet connection (slowing your overall connection down) and giving them access to information on all of your computers.

Wireless networks are secure as long as you follow the manufactures directions during set up on configuring the security settings.  You can tell if your router is secure by checking when you connect to the wireless router.  If it says you are connected to a "Security-Enabled Wireless Network", then you are fine.  If it says you are connected to an "Unsecure Wireless Network", then you still need to setup security as described below.

You will need to purchase a Wireless Router and a Wireless Network Interface Cards for each of your desktop PCs you want to make wireless.  Your laptop should already have a wireless adapter built into it.  If not, you can purchase wireless PCMCIA cards at your local computer store.  Following are three of the major manufacturers of wireless PC equipment.  If you need to find the manual for your router, you will be able to look up the product number on the manufacturer's website.

We recommend staying away from Belkin brand and inexpensive knock-offs.   Many of these are not quality products and will create maintenance nightmares for you.

Router Security

There are three primary ways to protect yourself from neighbors logging onto your wireless router or tapping into your transmissions to gain access to sensitive information.  These are all covered in detail in the installation manual that came with your router.  Although you should use all three below, Westcom recommend turning on WEP Encryption at an absolute minimum.

  1. WEP Encryption - this will "secure" your network so that all data transmitted is encrypted.  This is highly recommended.
  2. SSID - Your router will broadcast the SSID of your router so that when you turn on your laptop, it will "see" the network.  It is recommended that you change the SSID to a friendly name, such as your last name, then turn off the broadcasting of the SSID so that others will not even see your wireless network.
  3. MAC filtering - Every network card, either wireless or wired, has a MAC address.  This is like the serial number of the card.   You can create a file on your router that either, a) only allows the MAC addresses you've entered into the database, or b) will not allow the MAC addresses you've entered into the database.  Since you can find your MAC address by clicking on START, then RUN -- type in CMD and click OK.  Then type GETMAC.   You will see the MAC address (example: 00-a1-03-ab-1b-01).   Enter this into your router MAC filtering database and select "only allow the following MAC addresses".

Q. How do I change my Westcom Broadband Email password?

A. Click here to log onto Westcom's Email administration web page. Enter your login name and current password and click the Enter button.  Click the settings link at the top of the page. Click the Password link on the second menu bar line.  Fill in the new password boxes, you don't have to mail your password to anyone.  Click the Modify button to save your changes.  Click the Logout button at the top of the page.  If you forgot you password contact Westcom Tech support.

Q. What is Microsoft's advice on PC security?

A.  Click here to follow Microsoft's three steps to PC security.

Q. I want to move the computer further away from the Subscriber Module that the cord will allow?

A. Get a Cat 5 coupler (Radio Shack, CompUSA, or any computer store)and a length of Cat 5 cable (straight-through -- not the cross-over cable).  Plug the Subscriber Module power supply dongle into one end of the coupler, and a length of Cat 5 cable into the other end.  Plug the other end of the Cat 5 cable into the back of the newly located PC.  Another solution is go with a wireless network (NIC) card.


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