We go to great lengths to secure our home networks, yet it’s common practice to share our WiFi password with every guest that enters our home. Unfortunately, even well-meaning guests can compromise the security of your home network. Luckily, there is one simple solution – guest WiFi. It’s pretty easy to set up a guest WiFi connection. Let’s walk through the five simple steps on how to make one.
- It takes just five simple steps to set up a guest WiFi network on most routers.
- The safest route is to set up a second WiFi router for a guest network.
- Make sure to set a strong WiFi password for your guests to use.
Setting Up Your Guest WiFi
All routers work essentially the same. Your model may have minor differences, like clicking on a tab versus a menu, but our directions should get you there. And if you get stuck, the user manual for your router should also include detailed instructions for setting up your guest WiFi.
1. Get your router’s IP address
First, you’ll need your router’s IP address. This unique string of characters identifies your router’s connection to the internet network. The IP address is static, so you should be able to find it in the user manual or on a label on the router. But if those fail, you can try using a connected device to locate the information. From your computer, go to System Preferences > Network > Wifi > Advanced > Router’s IP Address TCIP/IP.
2. Log into the router administrative account
Next, you need to login into the admin account for your router. To access this page, simply open a web browser on your computer and type the router’s IP address into the URL bar. As soon as you navigate to the IP address, you’ll be presented with a landing page usually hosted by your internet service provider (ISP) and requires credentials to log in. This is little more than a formality, though, because most routers use a generic login like “admin” and “password.”
3. Enable the guest WiFi access
Once you log into your router’s admin account, you’ll see a few options or tabs that allow you to do different things. Here, we are looking for something called “Guest Access.” You’ll need to enable access, which creates a separate shadow network that uses the same internet service that’s not connected to your home network.
4. Create a Unique Guest WiFi Network Name and Password
Now it’s time to create a unique network name and password for your guest WiFi. Aim for a username and password that’s moderate in terms of difficulty. You don’t want it to be so easy that it allows your neighbors to leach service off you, but you want it to be memorable enough since you’ll be relaying the logins to your guests often. At a minimum, you’ll be asked to set up a unique network ID. This can be something as simple as “Smith Family Guests.” You will also need to set up a password for the guest network.
Setting Up a Second Router as a Guest WiFi
If you’re still on the fence about your home network’s security, there is an alternative to enabling a guest WiFi connection. Instead, you can set up a second WiFi router. This option is beneficial if you want to extend the range of your WiFi in a larger home or if the signal from your main router is weak in the guest bedroom.
A second router is a good idea if your existing network already handles a lot of devices. If bandwidth is an issue, a second router is best. But, a second router can be a bit complicated to set up. Here’s a quick overview of the steps you should take.
- Purchase and connect a second router to the primary unit with an ethernet cable.
- Open the router’s IP address using a web browser and log in.
- Configure the second router using a repeater mode or bridge mode.
- Update the IP configuration for the second router to avoid interference.
- Set the DHCP address.
- Save Settings.
Sharing Your New Guest WiFi Password
We’ve seen dozens of clever ways to show guests your WiFi password. You can choose any way that works for you. On a superficial level, make your password something easy to remember but difficult to guess, like HuskyFinch! or NerdyByrd44, so you can share that password upon request without having to look it up.
Or, level up your hospitality with a QR Code or custom WiFi password sign for your guest bedroom. If you use an Android phone, you can create a QR code directly from your phone and share it when needed. Apple users have an even more straightforward workaround with network sharing features. All you need to do is join your guest network and make sure your devices are near each other.
Protect Your Network and Your Guests
It might be convenient and even hospitable to set up a guest network. But beyond that, taking the time to do so offers an extra layer of protection for you and your guests. It’s an easy way to know that you’re not swapping viruses or accessing protected data on each other’s devices. If you’re ready to take the next step, there are a few ways to go about it. Simply enabling the guest network feature on your existing router is the easiest.
But there are some situations where you may want to use a second router and add additional administrative controls. The level of control and security ultimately depends on how you use your home network. If the extent of your online activity is streaming Netflix and checking the weather, your needs are a little more basic than a computer developer and high-level video gamer.