Why Creating a Guest Network at Home Is a Good Idea
When your friends or family gather at your place, Internet access becomes as important as a well-stocked fridge.
However, you can make the whole experience a lot less tedious and a lot more secure all thanks to a home guest network.
Here, we’ll show you how to create a guest Wi-Fi network at home, how it interacts with your IoT devices and the tips and tricks of this approach.
How do I set up guest Wi-Fi at home?
A guest Wi-Fi network is an excellent way to secure your home Wi-Fi connection. All you have to do is provide dedicated bandwidth for your guests that doesn’t interfere with any gadgets you may have.
Now, to set up a guest Wi-Fi network, you’ll need a Wi-Fi router. You know, that small box with antennas and colorful lights that shoots Internet connection left and right (but never to the bathroom)? Many routers allow you to create guest Wi-Fi at home, and the process is surprisingly straightforward:
1. Look for an IP address and admin credentials on your router
They’re usually printed somewhere on the case or in the manual. If you can’t find them, try typing 192.168.0.1. in your browser address bar and using admin/admin as login/password, unless you changed the password to your Wi-Fi for home. If that doesn’t work, Router Passwords helps find access details for all router models.
2. Set a secure and memorable password
Once logged in to the admin dashboard, change your password to a more secure and memorable one. Just don’t use your date of birth, pet’s nickname or mom’s maiden name as all of these can be guessed. You never know if someone you invite in might decide to mess with your network settings.
3. Look for the guest network settings
They are usually located on the Wi-Fi Settings tab. Some routers even have a special tab dedicated to guest network management.
4. Simple little things...
Before you let your guests connect to your network, there are a few final steps to take.
- First off, make sure to disable the option to connect the guest network to your main network. Keep them seperate, otherwise, this will make the whole guest Wi-Fi network thing pointless.
- Choose a name (SSID) for your network: it can be as simple as “Johny_GUESTMAN” or as cool as “MATRIXTIGER99!”. Up to you... Bottom line is it must differ from your main network SSID.
- Finally, set up a reliable and memorable password your guests will have no trouble using - especially Karen.
Access to the whole home Wi-Fi guest network can be shared in more simple ways, though. For starters, you can put your iPhone close to your friend’s and select the network access you want to share with another device.
If you prefer Android devices, use QiFi to generate a QR code your guests will only have to scan. No lame password typing required. Android 10 supports this feature by default.
Tips to secure my home Wi-Fi network
Once you create the guest network, you’ll want to know how to secure a home Wi-Fi network from malware. First of all, an in-depth scan of your gadgets for viruses might well be due. It’s also a wise move to update router drivers to the latest version, as it will provide both security patches and improved performance when many guests start using your guest Wi-Fi network at once.
On top of that, you should check which devices actually use your bandwidth. Remember when your neighbor asked to use your Wi-Fi for a day while his router was glitching? Or when you gave your uncle Joe the password to your network last year (a decision you might still be regretting)? Well, it’s time to cut the metaphorical cord.
All routers can provide bandwidth usage statistics concerning the devices connected to them. Skim through the list to check if you recognize every device - and block access for the suspicious ones (sorry uncle Joe!).
It’s quite possible that one of your friends or relatives would need to use your Mac or want to manage your smart TV. If you don’t mind them doing this, it would be best to prepare guest accounts on all devices you might give access too, so nobody can change your settings or prowl your personal data. There are instructions aplenty on setting up guest accounts in various operating systems and various smart devices and you’ll have no difficulty googling them.
Finally, you might want to ensure that nephew Tim’s online gaming or chatting with his friends from his laptop does not impact mom and aunt Mary watching their favorite Netflix show in the living-room. Look for QoS or Traffic Priority settings in your router’s web interface and configure them to prioritize the most important kinds of traffic.
Google Home, Alexa, Siri and other IoT Tools
If you already live in a smart house and use Siri to switch on the lights, you’d probably expect your guests to do the same. However, if all your IoT devices are connected to your master Wi-Fi, providing unrestricted access to it might be tricky. Luckily enough, manufacturers have foreseen the need for a guest mode in most popular IoT ecosystems.
For example, if you enable Google Home guest mode, all your guests within the same room with Google Home will be able to use it from their devices without even connecting to your master Wi-Fi. You can also create Google Home guest Wi-Fi from the convenience of your Google Home app. Just tap Wi-Fi, tap Set Up, select the guest network name and password, and voila! You can edit this network or shut it down just as easily.
Amazon is already providing Alexa DLink Wi-Fi, allowing you to create and manage your guest network just by using your voice. Siri owners only have to bring their iPhones close to their guests and confirm settings sharing, and Siri will add these devices to your guest Wi-Fi network automatically. Piece of cake.
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Now that you know how to set up a guest Wi-Fi network at home, your friends and relatives can stay online without interfering with sensitive data in your master network. The guest-only home Wi-Fi network is very convenient for providing smooth and instant access to the Internet during a party or a family visit. If it’s configured correctly, that is...