How Can I Tell If the Neighbors Are Using My Wireless Internet?

By Tommy Charles

Wireless networks in the home allow us the freedom of using our portable devices where we please, but they can also present a security risk if the passwords that secure them are known to others. Unfortunately, a router will allow anyone access to a network who knows this password. Your router is only capable of transmitting a limited amount of data at one time, and the more people that are using it, the slower the Internet will seem to everyone.

Step 1

Click "Start," type "Network Map" into the search bar and then click "Manage wireless networks."

Step 2

Click the tab entitled "Network and Sharing Center" located in the upper right-hand side of the window that appears.

Step 3

Click the small blue link entitled "See full map."

Step 4

Peruse the list of connected devices, taking note of those that you can identify and those that you cannot.

Tips & Warnings

  • Each device connected to your network will have a name. This will make it easy to discern between devices in your home and those outside of it.
  • Typical wireless routers are not capable of transmitting a usable signal more than a few hundred feet. Anyone connected to your network is either someone in your home, a neighbor or someone very close outside.
  • You can deal with any unauthorized access very easily by changing your router's password. Think about using a password that is a minimum of 8 characters and that is made up of both letters and numbers. Consult your router's documentation or online support for more information.
  • Change your password often.
  • After resetting your password, distributing it to those allowed to have it and reinitializing your network, you should find that only names that you recognize in the network map.
  • Avoid using passwords that mean something to you. Do not use the name of pets or children, and do not use dates such as anniversaries.
  • Secure any compromised networks immediately. A neighbor stealing Internet bandwidth may seem a small offence, but their intrusion can pave the way to more serious intrusions by cyber-criminals should their own systems be compromised.

References & Resources