There are a lot of disadvantages to keeping the default password on your home Wi-Fi, both in regards to security and convenience. However, a lot of people don’t know where to even start with changing this. Then their home guests have to enter in a 20 digit number with a mixture of complex characters, and it becomes A THING. While we can’t offer you exact step by step instructions, as it does vary by manufacturer, this article will guide you through the general procedure.
Finding your router’s IP
Most people won’t have their router’s IP address documented and fewer would have it memorized. There are a few steps you can take to find the IP of your router. You will have to be connected to the router for this process. So, if you cannot get on the Wi-Fi because you don’t know the password, simply plug into the router directly with an ethernet cable to gain access to the network.
- Open the command prompt. The easiest way to do this is to search for it using the task bar.
- Alternative you can use windows + r to open the run dialogue. Then, in the space provided, type “cmd” and click okay. This will open the black and white command prompt.
- Your cursor will already be in the correct spot. Type “ipconfig” and hit enter. This will output a lot of information on your network. The address you are looking for will be the numbers following “default gateway”.
- Copy that number to your clipboard for the next stage.
- Alternatively, if you’ve never changed the default router configuration, a quick internet search of the router model can usually provide the correct address.
- You can also reset the system to its factory default, and skip right to this option.
Access the Wi-Fi configuration dashboard
This dashboard is purpose-built to allow you to change settings on your router.
- Start by opening a web browser typing the address you obtained earlier into the address bar.
- The page will ask you to enter your user name and password. If you never made any changes to these credentials, they should be your router’s default.
- Check the back of your router to see if the password is there.
- Possible default credentials to try are “admin” or “administrator” for the user name and “password” or the default Wi-Fi password for the password (found on the bottom or back of your device).
- If that doesn’t work, perform a web search for your router. The default credentials may be available online. (Another reason to change it!)
Change that password
Now that you have access, let’s change that password.
- There will likely be a few tabs or widgets available on this dashboard. Go to the “wireless” one.
- From this screen, you will be able to change your SSID (the name of your network) and the password. Feel free to make the name something clever. Some of my favorites are “Tell my Wi-Fi love her” and “Bill Wi the Science Fi”.
- Be sure to make your new password complex enough to be secure, but convenient enough to remember and share. For more tips on password security, check out our security best practices training video.
Call and ask for help
This is one situation that calling Valiant is not the answer. If you are having any issues with the instructions above, or if your network dashboard looks too different from the steps provided, call the manufacturer of the router. If your router is provided by your Internet Service Provider, even better. Trust us; they get this type of call all the time. A customer service representative (or maybe an artificially intelligent bot, if you get online chat help), will be able to walk you through the process step by step.
Change that password again and again
Congratulations! You’ve successfully changed your Wi-Fi password. However, this usually isn’t a one and done thing. You may need to change it again if there is a need. Roommate move out? Kids won’t get off their devices? Even if everything is hunky-dory, we recommend changing your password with some regularity just to be on the safe side. Luckily, you now have the know-how (and the KB article) to make the next change a snap. We hope you feel empowered to make this change to increase your security and improve your hosting prowess.
Interesting in learning about the latest in Wi-Fi tech? Check out our webinar: https://thevaliantway.com/meraki-wifi6-webinar/
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