Your Wireless Password: Tips for Naming, Saving and Sharing
You’ve already set the funniest or best Wi-Fi name for your home router (May I suggest, “BewareOfAttackCat” or “YouHadMeAtWifi”? You’re welcome), now you need to set your personalized password. As soon as you’ve learned how to change the wireless password, you can set it to anything you wish. But consider the delicate balance between a secure password and one you can easily remember.
How To Change Your Wi-Fi Password
In olden times called “last decade”, your wireless password came assigned to you and you were stuck with it. But luckily that’s no longer the case.
To change your Wi-Fi password, go to your network’s settings page on your browser. Open up a blank webpage and enter your IP address into the search bar. Don’t know it? Try these until one works: 192.168.0.1, 192.168.1.1, or 192.168.2.1. If you have an Apple router, your IP address is 10.0.1.1. If you’re on Comcast (Xfinity), it’s 10.0.0.1.
If none of these work, press Windows (or Apple) + R for the Command Prompt. Then type "ipconfig” and enter. Under “Active connections” you’ll find the “Default Gateway address”, which should be your router’s IP address.
Once you’re on your router’s management page, enter your default User Name (most likely “admin”) and your default password (usually “admin” again or “password”). If those do not work, look on the back of your router, or google the name of your router model and “default password”.
Now that you’re into your router’s administration page, simply look around for a tab or button that says “wireless” or similar name. Find the field to enter your new password and save.
Luckily, cable ISPs are making it increasingly easier to skip all the above steps. Comcast Xfinity, for example, has a Wi-Fi management app called “xFi” that allows you to manage your Wi-Fi on your phone, including changing the password. Check with your individual provider.
Good Password Security
Your Wi-Fi password is a key security feature because anyone that can access your network and password can also access nearly everything on any connected device. So what should your password be? Experts will tell you that your password should be a long string of letters, numbers, and symbols no one could guess.
But this is the real world and long strings are also passwords you’re never going to remember. Feel free to make your password memorable, but avoid anything simple (such as “password”, “qwerty”, or “abc123”) and anything a cyberthief could figure out such as your birthday or address or your kids name. Use a string of words and numbers that mean something to you but anyone else, such as your favorite song plus the uniform number of your favorite baseball player. Add a “@” or “!” at the end and you will thwart most hackers using lockpicking programs.
Giving Your Guests Wi-Fi Access
But your Wi-Fi isn’t always just for you. It’s routine for visitors to ask to log onto your network. But sharing your password regardless of your level of trust is never a good idea. Fortunately, you don’t have to, as there are alternative options.
Most routers contain a ‘guest network’. To find it, open your IP address page in your browser, per above, and find the “Guest Network” tab. Click ‘enable’ and follow the instructions. Then this is the network and password you give your guests.
For Android and Windows devices, you can also access your router’s WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) option. On the new device, go to ‘Wi-Fi’ in setup and click “WPS Push Button”. Then at the same time, press the “WPS” button on your router. Boom, your guests are in.
Apple devices running iOS 11 can share passwords with other iOS 11 or High Sierra devices anonymously. Just place your device next to your guests’ and a pop-up will appear. Click “Share” and your login info will be sent to them automatically, and privately. They will never see your actual password. The aforementioned Comcast xFi app has a similar function.