You know it's important to change your password on your computer and all your accounts, but have you changed the password on your Wi-Fi router? Your Wi-Fi router is the weak link in many personal networks. That's why it is imperative for you to change your router's password regularly. If you've never changed your Wi-Fi router's password, chances are it is a default password and login, thus making it simple for someone to steal your data and for your neighbors to use your bandwidth. Changing your password is easy, but it varies for different routers.
You can access your router by entering its address in a browser on a computer that's connected to the same network. The router will have a local address and will usually be either 192.168.0.1, 192.168.1.1, 192.168.2.1, 10.0.0.1 (Xfinity), or 10.0.1.1 (Apple). If the router has a different address, you can find it when you connect with it through a Windows cmd window (press the Windows key and "R" key simultaneously). Enter ipconfig in the cmd window and look for the "default gateway" address. That will be your router.
When you log in to your router, assuming you have never changed the login name or password, the login name is usually admin or useradmin, and the login is usually password or admin. You may have to look up your router's default login and password with the manufacturer to get the exact login and password for your router's model.
If the router's password has been changed and isn't the default password, you can sometimes login using an ethernet cable wired directly to the router. Otherwise, you will have to reset the router to the factory settings. To do this, hold down the reset button for 30 seconds. This will, however, remove all the router's current settings.
Once you are logged into the router, you need to look for the tab or button that says "Wireless," "Wireless setup," or "Wireless settings" in a setup menu. Select that setting or button. Be aware that it might be part of a menu. If the wireless tab is a menu, look for a menu item that says "wireless security" or something similar.
You should be able to find a selection that allows you to change your password, passphrase, or shared key. At this point, you need to enter your new password. Some routers require that you re-enter your password to ensure that you didn't make a typo when you entered your password the first time.
You've probably heard a thousand times to create a strong password that isn't easy to guess. With your Internet router, this is even more important. Strong passwords should be at least eight characters long, should have capital and lowercase letters, should have numbers, and should have special characters such as #, $, and ! in it.
While you are in the wireless setup, you'll need to change your wireless encryption to something stronger if it isn't already changed. The best encryption is WPA2, but it may not work with older machines, which means you may have to stick with WPA or WPA/WPA2. Don't use WEP as it uses a weak encryption methodology.
While you're in the wireless setup, change the name of your router to something other than the default value. Why? Because routers with their name changed shows that the router has been edited, so any hackers will most likely decide it isn't an easy mark to hack -- and doesn't have the default password.
After you're done making changes, you'll need to save what you've done so the changes may take effect. The save button may be on the top or bottom of the window. Once you save your work, your router will update itself. The router may reset itself. Your computer and other network devices will go offline.
At this point, all your Internet devices will have to reconnect with your router using your new password. You'll typically have to enter the password in the network or wireless section of the device once it makes a connection to the router. Remember that your router has a new name, so look for it when you do a search for networks.
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