You use SMC Networks’ AP Manager utility to configure security and encryption settings on the SMC2655W EZ Connect 11Mbps Wireless Access Point. Each of the SMC devices lets you select no encryption, or 64-bit or 128-bit Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) encryption. You can enter a passphrase and let the software generate an encryption key at each node for you or manually enter the key in hexadecimal format. In conjunction, you can specify a list of up to 20 media access control (MAC) addresses that can communicate with your SMC Access Point (AP), explicitly denying access by any other devices.

To configure security settings on Linksys’s WAP11 Instant Wireless Network Access Point, you use Linksys’s GUI Setup Wizard or Web-based browser utility. You can select 256-bit, 128-bit, or 64-bit WEP encryption, or leave the default setting of none. Similar to the SMC security settings, you use a passphrase to generate the encryption key. To enable MAC address filtering capabilities, you open the Web-based utility and select the Advanced tab. The Advanced tab also lets you configure advanced wireless communication settings such as the beacon interval and fragmentation threshold. You can list up to 50 MAC addresses and specify whether the Linksys AP allows or denies access by those devices.

I used D-Link System’s SNMP Management Utility to configure WEP encryption and MAC address filtering on D-Link System’s D-LinkAir DWL-900AP wireless Access Point. You can select 64-bit or 128-bit encryption on the AP, but you must use hex digits (0 through 9 and A through F) to enter the encryption keys. To create a list of MAC addresses authorized to communicate with the D-Link AP, you must create a simple text file and use the SNMP management utility to download the file to the AP. This approach provides a simple way to manage an unlimited number of client connections, but the list only allows access—you can’t deny access to a given MAC address.

NETGEAR’s ME102 802.11b Wireless Access Point supports only 40-bit WEP encryption—you must use hex digits to manually enter an encryption key—and doesn’t offer MAC address filtering. You must use the USB utility or SNMP utility to configure the encryption settings.

You must use the Web-based configuration utility to configure either 64-bit or 128-bit WEP encryption for Siemens Efficient Networks’ SpeedStream SS2623 Wireless DSL/Cable Router AP, and you can use a passphrase to automatically or manually generate an encryption key. You can specify a maximum of 32 MAC addresses as either allowed or denied access, and additional client filtering options are available as part of the router functionality.

To configure security settings on SOHOware’s CableFREE II Wireless Hub access point, I opened the NetBlaster II utility and clicked the Wireless Hub Properties icon to open the configuration window. From there, I could choose 40-bit or 128-bit WEP encryption, or I could select Quick encryption (i.e., a simpler encryption method that offers some security without degrading data throughput) from the Method drop-down box, then use a passphrase to generate an encryption key. MAC address filtering isn’t available on the SOHOware AP.