How to Stop Others From Using My Wireless Internet
With more and more Internet Service Providers (ISPs) beginning to cap or limit bandwidth with broadband connections, protecting your bandwidth is more important than ever. With an unsecure wireless router in your home or office, you risk allowing those near your network to use or "piggyback" your Internet connection. If you allow your network to remain open and unsecure, savvy bandwidth thieves can easily access your wireless network and use it to download files, stream media or even potentially access private files on your PC.
Things You'll Need
- Router user guide or manual
Setup the Router
Launch a Web browser. Enter the IP address of the router configuration page in the address bar and press the "Enter" key. For many routers, the IP address is 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.1.1. However, the IP address for your router may differ. If you do not know the IP address for your router, refer to the user guide or manual for the device.
Enter the administrator username and password for the router and click the "Login" or "Enter" button. Click the "Security" or "Privacy" link on the router configuration page.
Click the "Enable WEP," "Enable Security" or other similarly named link. Select a channel number for your private wireless network from the drop-down box. Select 64-bit, 128-bit or 256-bit (if your router supports it) for the encryption protocol.
Enter a descriptive name for the private wireless network in the "SSID" field. Avoid using a name that identifies you or your location in the field. Instead of using "Johnson Residence" or "123 Main Street," enter something like "Apple," "River" or another word that does not reveal information about you or your location.
Enter a password for the wireless network in the "WEP Key" or "Password" field. Save the new security settings and click the "Reboot" or "Restart" button on the configuration page.
Configure Windows to Access the Private Network
Click "Start" and then "Control Panel." Click "Network and Sharing Center." In the "Network and Sharing Center" window, click the "Set up a new connection or network" link.
Click "Manually connect to a wireless network" and enter the SSID name for the wireless network in the "Network name:" field. Select "WEP" from the security type drop-down box. Enter the password or security key in the "Security Key:" field. Enable the "Hide characters" and "Start this connection automatically" options. Click the "Next" button.
Click "Change connection settings" and then the "Security" tab. Select "Shared" from the "Security type:" drop-down box. Click the "OK" button. Windows connects to the router using the new security key information. You can now browse the wireless network and surf the Internet. Outsiders without the wireless key or password can no longer piggyback your connection.
References & Resources
- New York Times: "Hey Neighbor, Stop Piggybacking on My Wireless"; Michel Marriott; March 5, 2006
- PCStats: Securing a Router and Wireless Connection
- Microsoft Safety & Security Center: Help Secure Your Wireless Network
- Online Tech Tips: "Prevent someone else from using your wireless Internet connection"; Aseem Kishore; December 4, 2008