If you have a Vista laptop connecting to a DLink DIR-300 wireless router, you have an option of preventing the router from broadcasting your home network name. This option is called hidden wireless or SSID broadcast in your router's lingo. Enabling hidden wireless in your router provides an added layer of protection from people who might otherwise use your wireless network to connect to the Internet or eavesdrop on computers that you're using at home.
When hidden broadcast is not enabled, your home computers are able to find and get all the information needed to join your home network. You need enter only the network password and the computer and the router automatically set up how they are going to communicate with each other. But when your wireless router operates on a hidden wireless mode, your home computers are not going to receive those information from your wireless router. This is how your home network is made more secure. Someone needs to provide these information to your home computers manually so that they can be saved and used the next time the computers are turned on.
You should note that by changing this security setting, all computers being used by your family members will have to be manually set up to connect to your newly configured wireless router again for the first time. However you can set up the connection to be automatically run whenever the laptop computer is turned on.
Before setting up your wireless router for hidden wireless, you should preferably work with two computers, one being directly connected to the router through a LAN Cable. This is to ensure that you can still connect to your router to change any of its settings if you find it difficult to connect your laptop manually after setting this security option. You might want to revert back the router to its previous settings if you find the configuration task a bit tedious and not worth the effort.
Setup the Router for Hidden Wireless
You can setup your DLink DIR-300 to stop broadcasting your network name by accessing the router from the computer directly connected to the router. In the Internet browser of the computer, type the Internet Protocol (IP) address of the router and enter the router's administrator name and password. Click on the Setup button at the upper part of the DLink configuration page and on the left hand portion, click on the Wireless Setup. At the bottom part of the page, click on the Manual Wireless Connection Setup. Look for the checkbox beside Enable Hidden Wireless and put a check mark on it by clicking it with your mouse. Click on the Save Setting button either on the upper or lower part of the configuration page and wait for the page to come back. Make note of the security mode, the type of encryption, and the network key that are shown.
Set up the Vista Laptop
Go the Vista laptop that is to be set up and open its control panel window. Click on Network and Internet, and then click on Network and Sharing Center which are both on the right panes of the window. On the left pane, click on Setup a connection or network. Click on manually connect to a wireless network, and then click on the next button at the bottom of the window.
On the next window that will come up, enter all the information that you made note of in the earlier step. Be sure to enter all the information correctly and double check if the data are all correct. Click on the Display characters checkbox to make sure that you enter the network password correctly. Click back on the button again to hide the characters once you're sure that the password is correct.
Click also in the checkbox labelled Start this connection automatically so the owner of the laptop will not have to enter the wireless settings again when he turns his computer on later. Click on the next button and finish your connection setup work. If you encounter a problem, go back to the manual connection window and correct any mistake on the data entered. Check if the laptop is able to connect to the Internet by opening its browser and accessing a web page.
All Future Computers to be Manually Set Up
From now on, all computers that need to access the Internet will have to be manually set up first before they are able to join your wireless home network. However, if access control is also set up in your router, you have to make the necessary configuration for the access control first on the Vista laptop before you manually configure its wireless connection settings.
This mode of operation is a bit of a hassle because of the tedious configuration work that needs to be made on every computer that wants to access your wireless network. You should do this only if your wireless network is under a serious security threat. If you have set up access control in your network and you're still not satisfied with the security protection that it affords, then maybe this option can make your network more impervious to threats from outside.
Read my other article on using DHCP reservation to minimize unauthorized connections to your DLink DIR-300 wireless router at: http://publishtoweb.blogspot.com/2012/01/use-dhcp-reservation-to-minimize.html.
Read my other article on troubleshooting Vista connection problems in wireless home environment at: http://publishtoweb.blogspot.com/2012/01/troubleshooting-vista-connection.html.
Read another article on setting up access control in your DLink DIR-300 wireless router at: http://sites.google.com/site/thetechnicaljournal/how-to-set-up-access-control-in-your-dir-300-d-link-wireless-router.
Read an article on tips on how to stay safe on the Internet at: http://sites.google.com/site/thetechnicaljournal/tips-for-staying-safe-on-the-internet.
Read my other article on surfing the Internet faster by using OpenDNS on your DLink DIR-300 wireless at: http://publishtoweb.blogspot.com/2011/12/surf-internet-faster-by-using-opendns.html.