Keeping your Wi-Fi secure from unauthorised access is important. The most basic and vital step is to make sure that users have to enter a password to connect to the network. Most modern routers have password protection on WiFi as standard, but if you aren’t sure, check to see if you need to enter a password when connecting a device for the first time. If not, you should read the router manual or speak to your internet provider to find out how to enable password protection as a matter of high priority.

 

Choosing a password

If you need to choose a new password, try and use a mixture of lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers and symbols. An alternative way of creating a secure password is to use three random words – see this advice from the National Cyber Security Centre and our own guidance for more information on setting passwords and other ways to improve your online security.

 

A secure location for your router

It is best if you prevent visitors and residents from having physical access to the router, as it is possible to connect to the internet without a password directly using a cable, which could enable someone to reset passwords.

 

Install anti-virus software on your devices 

For more about this topic, see our guide to keeping your anti-virus software up-to-date.

 

Extra security and professional security advice

There are extra steps beyond password protection that offer additional security to your network, such as disabling SSID (Service Set Identifier) broadcast, enabling MAC (Media Access Control) filtering to block unauthorised devices, and setting up ‘firewalls’ – adding these features add extra steps to your WiFi setup.

For these more detailed aspects of security, it may be worth asking the advice of IT specialists, either from your own IT team if you have one, or from an IT support company. Try contacting your commissioner to find out if they have a recommended list of IT support providers or search for local IT support companies online. We have more information in our Buyer’s Guide for External IT Support.

 

How do I manage my Wi-Fi network?

There are a few tasks that will need to be carried out from time to time in order to keep your Wi-Fi network working as well as it should. You can either do these yourself or use the services of an IT specialist or IT support company for the more complex tasks. Try contacting your service commissioner to find out if they have a recommended list of IT support providers or search for local IT support companies online. We have more information in our Buyer’s Guide for External IT Support.

 

Connection and removal of new devices

Connecting new devices should usually be as simple as finding the Wi-Fi network on the device and entering the password. If ‘MAC filtering’ has been enabled, only an allowed list of devices will be permitted to join – so the device will have to be added to the list using the software that controls the router’s settings. Devices that are no longer going to be used on-site should be removed from the WiFi network and any ‘MAC filtering’ lists.

 

Device troubleshooting

If devices aren’t working properly – for example, the internet connection is much slower than it should be –  switching the router off and restarting it can often solve the problem. Otherwise, refer to the user manual which will usually have a troubleshooting section, contact your internet provider for advice, or speak to your chosen supplier of IT support, if you have one.

 

Updating firmware and operating system

Firmware is the set of basic software instructions that directly control a hardware device, whilst the operating system is the software that provides the user functionality, such as Microsoft Windows, Android or Apple iOS – from time to time it may be necessary to update these. The product should offer instructions on how to do this, or contact your chosen IT support provider.