Having a secure home network today is vital to protecting your personal, family, and home business information. At the very least you want to have your wireless network be secured with WPA, or greater encryption, and change the default passwords associated with whatever device you are using. If you are curious as to why it matters so much, READ THIS for a quick explanation of why.
So here are 3 quick steps to get that accomplished as soon as possible but before we get started, I recommend you connect a physical cable from your computer to your wireless router to prevent a few extra annoyances. However, this is not required to complete the steps.
- To get started you need to connect to the admin console of your wireless router. Your wireless router admin consel can be accessed by the "Gateway IP Address" of your computer. For most home use routers it's address is 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.0.1 and you just type that into your browsers address bar. To find out for sure, On Windowsyou can run Command Prompt (searching your start menu will find it) and typing: ipconfig /all. That will list the gateway for your computer. On MAC you run Terminal and the command is ifconfig. Once you type that into your browser, the username is usually 'admin' - no quotes and the password is usually the same as your default wi-fi password. That is if your service provider never changed it. The password may just be 'password' or 'admin' if they didn’t. A list of logon information for most devices can be found HERE.
- Once logged into your router you are looking for 'wireless settings' or 'wireless security' to change the SSID (the name of your wireless network). You can change it to whatever you want but once you do, if you are not connected to your router with a cable, you will have to reconnect to the new network with the new SSID you set and the same old password you always had. After you regain connection or after you save the new SSID name, you will want tochange the password. Again, you may need to reconnect; this time with the new SSID and new password you just set.
- The last step that is just as important, if not more than changing the SSID and Password, is to change the default login to the router itself. As you saw from the link I posted above, it is very easy to get the default username and password for logging into the devices. You can do so by finding the 'administration' section in your router and configuring it there. The reason this is important; once someone is connected to your network and they know this information, they can configure your network however they want, disconnecting all your devices and using your connection for whatever they want.
Now that you have changed the wireless network name, SSID, and password you will have to reconnect to the new network on all your devices. That process is the same but just connect to the new network using the new password.
For a more detailed set of instructions for configuring your home wireless network, you may visit these sites:
- 5 Ways to Secure You Wireless Router
- The six dumbest ways to secure a wireless LAN
- How Do I Change My Router, Switch, or Other Network Hardware Device Password
- Wire Router Manufacturer Support Sites
- 10 Tips for Wireless Home Network Security
- How To Set Up a Home Network Router
- Find your router password
Best of luck and happy surfing!