Wi-Fi Network Security FAQs
What features should I look for in a secure wireless router?
Most consumer routers include some security features, but these are the ones that are most important:
- WPA2 encryption
- Built-in firewall
- Guest access
If you have kids in the house, you may also want parental controls and time limit controls that let you block access during certain times.
How do I keep neighbors from using my internet connection?
The best way to prevent people from leeching off your wireless connection is to secure the network. Make the network private and require a password to join. You can also turn off the “Broadcast SSID” feature on your router or another access point. This keeps your network from showing up in searches and limits access to those who already have the network name. Another trick is to place your router in the center of your home. This can keep the signal from reaching your neighbor’s realm.
How can I find out what devices are connected to my Wi-Fi network?
Your router should have come with instructions about how to view a list of connected devices. But in general, the easiest way to see what devices are connected to your home network is to use your router’s web interface.
To access the web interface, you’ll need your router’s IP address. All you have to do is enter that address into your web browser. That should pull up the router’s interface. Once you’re in, look for a button or link that will pull up the list of connected devices. Look for names like attached devices, DHCP clients, or connected devices. Click the button, and your list of connected devices will appear.
After the list populates, you may or may not recognize the names of the devices listed. Names can be as obscure as an IP or MAC address, or more specific, referring to an individually-named computer or tablet. (Thanks to my kids, my phone shows up as “Momma’s iPhone.”)
Is it safe to pay bills or shop online over my home Wi-Fi network?
The short answer is yes. Shopping online is a convenience (and hobby) that has become a hallmark of the internet age. Yet it can be a risky proposition. Most people feel safe using their financial data online when they’re at home. If you regularly pay bills or purchase household items online, it starts to feel like you’re just using the checkbooks and filing cabinets of old.
But it’s important not to get too comfortable. First, make sure you only use sites that start with HTTPS (the “S” is for secure) for shopping and paying bills. Next, verify that you’ve secured your router, and if you want extra protection, use a VPN for all financial transactions. And never store your financial information in your internet browser—no matter how convenient it seems.