How to Password Protect a Wireless Router

By Shea Laverty

By password-protecting your wireless router, you protect your network from intrusion by unauthorized users. In most cases, these uninvited guests are mere nuisance, stealing your bandwidth so they can use the Internet for free. Sometimes, however, network intruders use your network to try and steal information from connected computers. Password-protecting your network is done entirely through your router's administration panel.

Getting Your Router IP Address

To sign in to your router's administration panel, you need the router's IP address. Typically, routers use 192.168.1.* or as the IP address. In cases where they don't use this address, however, the Command Prompt's **ipconfig** command reveals it.For Windows 8, press **Windows-X** to open the Power User menu, then select **Command Prompt**. For Windows 7, press **Windows-R**, enter **cmd** in the Run field and click **OK**.In the Command Prompt, type **ipconfig** and press **Enter**. The heading you need depends on how you're connected to the router: **Wireless LAN Adapter Wi-Fi** if you're using Wi-Fi, **Ethernet Adapter Ethernet** if you're using a wired connection. The number listed as the **Default Gateway** is the router's IP address.

Logging in to Router Administration

Open your preferred browser and enter the router's IP address in the address bar. The router administration panel's login screen varies on two conditions: The router's make and whether a custom login has already been set up. Typically the default login and password will both be **admin**, but check your owner's manual to make sure. If you set up a custom login, then use the credentials you created. If you don't remember the credentials, the only way to access administrative controls is to reset the router to factory defaults. Consult your owner's manual for instructions on resetting your router.

Enabling Wireless Security

To enable a password on your wireless connection, click the **Wireless** heading. While the exact menu used varies from one router manufacturer to the next, typically the option for encrypting the wireless connection is listed under *Wireless Security*, *Security* or *Primary Network*.Look for the security options and select to enable **WPA-PSK** or **WPA-PSK2** encryption. Enter a custom password in the appropriate field, typically marked *Password*, *WPA Key* or *Passphrase*. Make sure the password is a mix of upper and lower-case letters, numbers and symbols to increase its strength. If necessary, jot down the password so you have a reference when adding new devices.

Renaming and Hiding SSID

Renaming and hiding your SSID reduces the risk of unauthorized users discovering and connecting to your router.On the Wireless menus, look for the *Network Name*, or *SSID* text field and enter a custom name that is easy to remember. This option alternatively can be found on the *Wireless Security*, *Primary Network* or *Setup* pages.Find the setting marked *Wireless SSID Broadcasting* or *SSID Broadcast* and set it to **Off** or **Disabled**. The SSID no longer appears in network lists, unless manually entered during connection setup.