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Restricting Wireless Access by MAC Address

When a Wireless Card Access List is configured and enabled, the router checks the MAC address of any wireless device attempting a connection and allows only connections to computers identified on the trusted computers list.

The Wireless Card Access List displays a list of wireless computers that you allow to connect to the router based on their MAC addresses. These wireless computers must also have the correct SSID and wireless security settings to access the wireless router.

The MAC address is a network device's unique 12-character physical address, containing the hexadecimal characters 0-9, a-f, or A-F only, and separated by colons (for example, 00:09:AB:CD:EF:01). It can usually be found on the bottom of the wireless card or network interface device. If you do not have access to the physical label, you can display the MAC address using the network configuration utilities of the computer. In WindowsXP, for example, typing the ipconfig/all command in an MSDOS command prompt window displays the MAC address as Physical Address. You might also find the MAC addresses in the router's Attached Devices screen.

To restrict access based on MAC addresses:

  1. Select Wireless Settings under Advanced in the main menu.
  2. In the Advanced Wireless Settings screen, click Setup Access List to display the Wireless Card Access List.

    Figure 2-11

  3. Click Add to add a wireless device to the wireless access control list. The Wireless Card Access Setup screen opens and displays a list of currently active wireless cards and their Ethernet MAC addresses.
  4. Figure 2-12

  5. If the computer you want appears in the Available Wireless Cards list, you can select the radio button of that computer to capture its MAC address; otherwise, you can manually enter a name and the MAC address of the authorized computer. You can usually find the MAC address on the bottom of the wireless device.

    Tip: You can copy and paste the MAC addresses from the router's Attached Devices screen into the MAC Address field of this screen. To do this, configure each wireless computer to obtain a wireless link to the router. The computer should then appear in the Attached Devices screen.
  6. Click Add to add this wireless device to the Wireless Card Access List. The screen changes back to the list screen.
  7. Repeat 3. through 5. for each additional device you want to add to the list.
  8. Select the Turn Access Control On check box

    Note: When configuring the router from a wireless computer whose MAC address is not in the Trusted PC list, if you select Turn Access Control On, you lose your wireless connection when you click Apply. You must then access the wireless router from a wired computer or from a wireless computer that is on the access control list to make any further changes.
  9. Click Apply to save your Wireless Card Access List settings.
  10. Now, only devices on this list can wirelessly connect to the WNR2000 router.

    Warning: MAC address filtering adds an obstacle against unwanted access to your network by the general public. However, because your trusted MAC addresses appear in your wireless transmissions, an intruder can read them and impersonate them. Do not rely on MAC address filtering alone to secure your network.

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