Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Linksys WRT160N / Cisco E1000 Setup on Mac Mini running Snow Leopard 10.6.4

-Hook modem's ethernet cable to "internet" port on 160N and then hook the mac mini's ethernet cable to any one of the four ports of 160N.
-Turn the power on for both modem and Linksys. Push the "reset" pin on Linksys for 30 seconds, then release.
-Open the network preferences and wait for the "Linksys WRT160N" to be displayed in Location. It might take a while. If it does not come, reboot the system. It should also detect following settings under Ethernet:
IP address: 192.168.1.100
Subnet mask: 255.255.255.0
Router: 192.168.1.1
Sometimes, it does not show these and keeps showing local host IP of 169.x.x.x. Well try forcing the above mentioned settings manually (with "Configure iPv4" as manually). But ideally it should show these automatically.
-Open and browser (anything other than safari.. as it has some settings saving issues as seen later) and type URL: 192.168.1.1
-You will now be prompted for Username and password for admin (linksys admin). Type the user name "admin" (without quotes) and password "admin" (without quotes).
-It will open the Linksys configuration page.
-Goto "Setup" tab. Under this tab, choose the sub-tab of "Mac address clone". It should be displaying the Mac address of your network card. Click "Enabled" and click "Clone my PC's MAC". Then click "Save settings". (if you are on safari...you might see broken page at this stage. The only known antidote.. use chrome or FF for Linksys configuration). You are done with "Setup"
-Now click the tab "Wireless". It will open the default sub-tab of "Basic Wireless settings". If you see some other sub-tab opened, open "Basic wireless settings". Choose a network name (SSID) and write it where prompted. Make sure the other fields are:
Configuration View: Manual
Network Mode: Mixed
Channel Width: 20MHz only
SSID Broadcast: Enabled
(for those who do not want their SSID broadcasted, can disable it but will have to remember their Network Name as it will never show up under show networks on iPod, iPhone, iMac etc)
Then click on "save settings". You are done with "basic wireless settings".
-Now click the "Wireless Security" sub-tab under "Wireless" tab. Choose following settings:
Security Mode: WPA personal (or whatever you choose)
Passphrase: . Should be minimum 8 characters and max 63.
Key Renewal: 3600 seconds (or whatever you choose)

"Save Settings" and you are done with "Wireless Security"
- Now click the tab "Security" and sub-tab "Firewall". Have following settings:
SPI Firewall Protection: Enabled
Filter Anonymous Internet Requests: UNCHECKED (its checked by default). Please note that this setting might be ISP (internet service provider) dependent. Keeping it unchecked worked for me.
Filter IDENT (port 113): Checked
Web Filter: Nothing checked (you can later check whatever you want. This is initial router setup to get it working).
"Save Settings" and you are done installing the router.

You should now upgrade the router firmware.
-Goto linksys site http://homesupport.cisco.com/en-us/wireless/linksys
Enter model number (wrt160N). And then goto Downloads
Enter your hardware version.. mine was "version 3.0" as3 it had "wrt160N v3" written next to the model name at the bottom of my router.
Click on "Download" under "Firmware".
Please remember, this binary that we just downloaded is Windows/mac/Linux agnostic as its going to be installed on the Router and not on the PC/Mac.
- Again type this url in the browser" 192.168.1.1
- Click "Administration" tab and select "Firmware upgrade" subtab. Then just follow the instructions on this page and you are done installing the router.

Setting up Static IPs to always hardwired machines
Ok, so the world isn't perfect. Even though Linksys claims that any device connecting to its wifi network will be given a unique autogenerated DHCP IP address, I have personally ended in so many instances where I randomly see IP address conflicts between two devices like iPod-Touch and my Mac mini (especially true for devices like iPod touch which keep connecting/disconnecting from network as they sleep/awake). So what's the way out: Static IP address allocation. Well its not the most elegant solution but for my home network, where I have tight control over which devices are permanently hardwired and which are not, it works out perfect. Also, if you are doing this for something exotic like a nuclear missile silo, please think twice before putting a machine that fires a nuke onto a static IP. As this means all the hackers in the world can leisurely attack it once they have found it. In case of DHCP, there is a bit of solace(but not much) that it might get reassigned a new IP after each disconnection-reconnection from network.

Strategy: Ok, so the strategy is move the always hardwired machines to static ip addresses. Keep the devices needing wifi connectivity like macBookPro, anyother laptops, iPods, iPads, iPhones etc on DHCP.

Approach: So, this brings us to the obvious questions.
  • 1) What are the range of available Static IP addresses to choose from.
  • Ans1) Choose from the range of 192.168.1.2 through 192.168.1.99. Then from 192.168.1.150 through 192.168.254

  • 2)Is there a range of IP addresses that I should stay away from as it will be used by DHCP to generate
  • Ans2) The range that is used by DHCP to auto-generate IP addresses for devices connecting to the network is : 192.168.1.100 through 1.192.168.49
  • Please note that this range is the default setting, that allows some 50 devices to connect and get autogenerated DHCP addresses. You can change the default setting by going to 192.168.1.1 and the clicking Administration. Of course, any change in default settings also means you the Static IP available range also changes proportionally.

Parting Shot: This tutorial does not explain how to set static ip addresses for OSX. Google will help here.

Setting Up Mac Address Filtering
OK, I admit, I am bit paranoid when it comes to security. Now I am no expert but I try to do my bit and at least not leave the door open to intruders if not fortify and barricade it (thats squarely the domain of experts). Setting up Mac address filtering enables only the devices with particular mac address to be connected to the network. This is great for home networks.
Goto 192.168.1.1 -> Wireless -> Wireless Mac Filter
Choose Enabled. Then choose "Permit PCs listed below to access the wireless network".
Then enter the MAc addresses of the devices that will be accessing the network.

Happy Browsing :)





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