How to Password Protect a Wireless Router

by Spanner Spencer
Your wireless devices will need the password to connect once it's setup on your router.

Your wireless devices will need the password to connect once it's setup on your router.

Adding a password to your wireless network is an essential security precaution. Without it, any computers or devices connected to your Wi-Fi router are vulnerable to unauthorized access. Activating the security option in your router's settings and applying a strong password is the first step toward securing your wireless networks. Although your router most likely includes an option for using WEP security, this protocol is outdated and should not be used. WPA2 with a strong password is the most secure option, as of September 2012.

Press "Win-R" on the keyboard and type "cmd." Type "ipconfig" without quotation marks and locate the Default Gateway entry. It typically starts with "192.168." Note this number. If you cannot find it, check your router's instruction manual for details, or contact your network administrator.

Launch your computer's Web browser and navigate to your router admin panel's IP address, which you previously determined using the IPConfig command.

Enter the admin username and password to access your router's settings. Check the manual for the default username and password.

Select "WPA2" from the router's security protocol options to activate the option to enter a new network key.

Select a strong password for your WPA2 network key. Include capital letters, numbers and a minimum of six characters. For increased security, use at least 10 characters and include punctuation symbols as well as alphanumeric characters.

Enter the password you have chosen in the router's "Network Key" option; wireless devices will require this password to gain access to your Wi-Fi network and the Internet.

Click the "Save" button to apply the security protocol and password to your router and network.

Tips

  • Locate the SSID (Service Set Identifier) option within the router's settings pages and enter a unique name for your wireless network. This allows you to identify your network from your wireless devices, and helps with security by removing the router's default SSID, which hackers can find more easily.
  • Avoid using spaces in your password as this can lead to confusion when distributing the network key to authorized users.
  • Random passwords add extra strength to your network, but should be carefully and securely recorded to ensure they aren't lost.
  • Connect a computer to your router using an Ethernet cable if you need to change your network key and do not have the current one, and log in to the router's settings from the computer's Web browser. Hard-wiring to the router does not require you to have the network key; only the router's admin username and password.

About the Author

Spanner Spencer has been writing since 2005 for a variety of print and online publications. Focusing on entertainment, gaming and technology, his work has been published by Eurogamer.net, "The Escapist," "GamesTM," "Retro Gamer," "Empire," "Total PC Gaming" "The Guardian," among others. Spencer is a qualified medical electronics engineer with a Business and Technology Education Council certificate in technical writing from Huddersfield Technical College.

Photo Credits

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