The javascript used on this site for creative design effects is not supported by your browser. Please note that this will not affect access to the content on this web site.
Skip Navigation
H H S Department of Health and Human Services
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Health Information Technology and Quality
Improvement

A-Z Index  |  Questions?  |  Order Publications  |  HRSA Mobile

How do we make our wireless network secure?

Wireless networks are inherently susceptible to security breaches. Because wireless networks use the radio spectrum, it is fairly easy to locate and gain access to unsecured wireless networks. Fortunately, there are a number of simple methods to protect the wireless network from unauthorized users.

  1. Implement Encryption. Establish a VPN between the wireless device and network firewall.
  2. Require mutual authentication between wireless access points and authorized wireless devices. A Remote Access Server (RAS) should be placed on the perimeter of the network to ensure that only authorized devices are allowed network access.
  3. Place a firewall between wireless access device and the network containing sensitive resources. Due to their inherent mobility, wireless devices are less subject to network management and thereby less 'trustworthy'. A firewall permits only authorized and 'well behaved' traffic from entering the network.
  4. Allow access to identifiable MAC (media access control) addresses only. Every wireless device has a unique ID called a MAC address. Use the MAC address to restrict unknown and unauthorized wireless devices from accessing the network.
  5. Turn the broadcasting feature off. Most routers allow for active "broadcasting" of their existence so that anyone can easily join the network, and by default, many routers have this feature turned on.

Resources:

Developed by the Health Resources and Services Administration as a resource for health centers and other safety net and ambulatory care providers who are seeking to implement health IT.
About
Health Information Technology Toolboxes help health centers, safety net providers, and ambulatory care providers with electronic and online resources and technical assistance to improve patient care.  More>
Stay Informed