Is your internet acting funny? Have your connections slowed down? Or are you just worried that someone may have access to your WiFi network? These are all excellent reasons to check your WiFi connections quickly and, if necessary, beef up security to keep unknown entities from hogging your bandwidth.
While sharing your WiFi with a stranger may seem unlikely, harmless or both, doing so can drain your bandwidth, slow your connections and if you have multiple devices set up to share access on your network, it is even possible that your secret guest could access that information too. This leads to a common question: “How do I see who is on my WiFi?”
In most cases, it is probably just someone who needs a WiFi connection. It might even be someone with whom you shared your password in the past. Still, it is good to know how to check for yourself.
The simplest way to remove unwanted WiFi users is to change your password and not share the new one. But if you want to take things a step further and find out exactly who is on your network, there are several ways to access a list of the devices currently using your WiFi.
How to Access a List of Connected Devices
The most accurate way to access a list of connected devices is to log into your router’s settings page. If your internet service provided your router, you might be able to log into your account to find this information easily. If you provided your own router, you could access the router settings by using the access information typically found on the back of the router. You may also be able to use a phone-related app like Netgear’s Nighthawk and Orbi apps, designed to help you manage your router settings for those specific devices.
To check your router settings and connected devices, remain connected to the WiFi and open your router settings page. Type the prescribed IP address into a browser and it will bring you to a page where you can access your router settings. When you put the IP into a browser connected to your home WiFi, it brings you to a login page. This login information is usually found on the back of your router in the form of an IP address in numbers. Often, the default login is listed on the back of the router.
Once logged in, you can change the network name and password and see which devices are connected. Some more sophisticated devices will list the specific equipment by name: Samsung TV, MacBook Pro, etc. But others might only give you the device MAC address, which means you will need to look up the MAC address on each of your devices to confirm a match. The MAC address for your device is listed along with the serial number, usually as part of the sticker or plate that lists the serial number and other identifying information. It is also listed in the settings section.
How to Help Prevent Future WiFi Intruders
So what do you do now? Well, you may be surprised by how many devices are actually connected to your WiFi. If you find devices that you know are not yours, there is not much you can do to identify who they belong to but you can immediately disconnect them by changing your password and keeping it a secret.
Not sure how to change your password? This is usually done on the same router settings page we discussed before but some providers or manufacturers allow you to make changes via their app or website.
Some tips on keeping the code secure: don’t use your name or address as a password. Don’t use a password that matches a network name. And don’t share your password with your neighbors, who might then share it with their neighbors and so on until everyone is connected to your WiFi.
Let us know in the comment section if you ever had someone connected to your WiFi without your knowledge.