Making sense of your home networking equipment
As most of us are aware, home network security is extremely important. If your Wi-Fi network is not properly secured, it leaves you vulnerable to a variety of security threats. Determined hackers can use your Internet service for free, introduce malware onto your devices, and steal your personal data. It’s even possible for a hacker to hijack your Wi-Fi router and use it, along with thousands of other hacked routers, to launch a large-scale cyberattack on a company, government agency or other organization.
Fortunately, these threats can usually be addressed with some simple measures, like using the right type of Wi-Fi security (the WPA2 security protocol), setting a strong Wi-Fi password and changing it every few months.
Fortunately, there’s a simple way to address this particular threat. Most Wi-Fi routers give you the ability to create what’s called a “guest Wi-Fi” network. Unlike your regular Wi-Fi network that you and your family members use, the guest Wi-Fi network restricts what your guests can do in your network. Specifically, it gives visitors access to your Internet connection and nothing else. They can’t see any of your devices on the network and they don’t have the ability to access them. Most importantly, they can’t accidentally introduce malware or compromise your devices or data in any other way.
Here’s how. Let’s say that you have two laptops, four smart phones and a tablet in your home, any of which could be connected to your Wi-Fi network at any given time. Let’s say you also have several smart home devices connected to Wi-Fi, and you have a portable USB hard drive plugged into your Wi-Fi router to share files with other family members. Whenever a guest logs into your primary Wi-Fi network, they will also have access to every one of these devices. While it’s unlikely any of your friends would intentionally sabotage your network, there’s a chance that the device they are using to connect to your network is infected with some sort of malware. If so, there’s a possibility that this malware could be spread to other devices connected to your network.
Sometimes both of these functions are combined in a single device, which is usually called a residential gateway. Not only does it bring the Internet connection into your home from your ISP’s network; it also provides a Wi-Fi signal throughout your home, so you can connect wirelessly to the Internet with your laptop, smart phone, or other device.
To set up your guest Wi-Fi network, you need to access the web interface for your Wi-Fi router. You log into the network, and follow the instructions provided by your router manufacturer to create and set up the guest Wi-Fi network. If you have a GigaCenter, you need to log in to the GigaCenter web interface to set up your guest Wi-Fi network. This involves three steps:
Before you can set up your guest network, you need to log in to your GigaCenter web interface. You do this on your personal computer using a browser like Chrome or Safari.
To access the web interface, you need the IP address of your GigaCenter and the user name (admin) and password. All of this information is printed on a label that is inside the box that your GigaCenter came in. The IP address is 192.168.1.1. The default user name is “admin” and the unique password for your GigaCenter is printed on the label, as shown in the example below.
Here’s how you log into the web interface:
You can set up two guest networks with the GigaCenter, one for the 2.4 GHz band and one for the 5 GHz band. These are already created in the web interface with a default name that you can change to a name of your choice. By default, the guest Wi-Fi networks are turned off, so you have to turn them on using the web interface.
Here’s how to change the name of your guest Wi-Fi network:
Once you have renamed the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz guest Wi-Fi networks and turned
them on, here’s how to change the passwords:
Keep a record of your guest Wi-Fi password and make sure it’s the password you share with visitors to your home, rather than your primary Wi-Fi password. And don’t forget to change your primary and guest Wi-Fi passwords every few months.
If you have any problems changing the name of your guest Wi-Fi network or changing your password using the GigaCenter web interface, contact your service provider to get help.