This is the next blog in the continuing series of interviews with leading professionals. In this series of blogs, I have an exclusive interview with Barb Bowman. Barb is an internationally acknowledged home networking and device authority; Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) – Windows Networking and Windows XP Media Center.
Stephen: Describe your role as an MVP and your areas of expertise.
Barb: I consider myself a “Connected Home” MVP. My award is for Windows Networking and my area is wireless and devices. I’m also a “secondary” in Media Center, MS Hardware, and at one point was asked to be a Smart Display (RDP technology over wireless) MVP. The Smart Display technology actually morphed into Media Center Extender technology and I’m active in the Media Center networking area as well as CableCARD/Digital Cable Tuner setup. I’ve been writing columns on various technologies under these umbrellas for Microsoft’s Expert Zone and Vista Community as well as presenting webcasts for Microsoft covering these residential technologies.
Stephen: What top five, highly desired tips can you share from your areas of MVP specialty?
- While in airports, be on the lookout for spoofed public providers. Never, never connect to an Ad Hoc network (turn off ad hoc networking if possible) and be wary of SSID’s that look similar to national public providers. For example, Wayport vs. _Wayport_ where the latter could be a spoofed AP.
- Don’t use personally identifiable information as WPA/WPA2 Personal passphrases and don’t use easy to guess words. Use something random that includes alpha-numeric-characters. The only way to hack WPA/2 Personal is by dictionary attack.
- Change the default SSID on your wireless router. Don’t use Linksys/Default/Netgear and don’t use anything personally identifiable. Be sure to setup a strong password for your wireless router.
- If possible, turn off the ability to configure your home wireless router using wireless. Force any changes to be done using a computer connected via wired Ethernet to that router.
- Many people are having connectivity issues with wireless routers and Vista. Use the IGD tool at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/using/tools/igd/default.mspx to test your router. And check with your vendor for the most recent firmware and apply it before running the test.