When it comes to Wi-Fi configuration and maintenance the Wi-Fi device manufacturers want to make your life a lot easier. That’s why they deliver routers and repeaters with numerous pre-configured parameters so that you don’t have to fumble through the configuration process while setting up your home network.
But this auto-configuration – sort of bells and whistles, brings about undesired consequences. For example, preset passwords can compromise the security of your network and the inadequate placement of routers and repeaters may resist the fast data transfer in your Wi-Fi network.
Hence totally relying on the pre-configured setup is not the best option and even the best devices can’t help you. That’s why you shouldn’t always rely on the convenient automatic setup, but instead try to reconfigure security and performance parameters of your Wi-Fi yourself. Of course, you should be well-familiar about what you’re going to do while configuring your router. This article will elaborate about how to do this.
The Router Menu Access Password is Kept Unchanged
First off, make sure that the access to the router menu is also secured. This is because the basic settings for network security are usually defined there and they can be overridden by a third party if they get into the menu. Nevertheless, many manufacturers do not protect the menu access in an efficient manner. Either they use a standard password for all devices, which can be figured out quickly with an internet search or even directly from the manufacturer’s website. Even if they assign an individual access password for each device, this is usually written somewhere on the router housing, just like the Wi-Fi password. This way, anyone in your home can access the router’s menu and change settings.
So in order to ensure sufficient security, this is very much wise that you change the preset access password for the router menu. Consider changing the user name as well because in many cases it is pretty simple like “admin”. Now a days many router models recommend you to take this measure when you first set it up.
The Wi-Fi Password is Kept Unchanged For a Long Time
With many routers, you’re not forced to rely on your memory for the Wi-Fi password. Manufacturers sell them with a pre-configured, individual password that is often written on one side of the package box. Often there is also a password card in the box, which is then placed somewhere near the PC or some suitable place.
This way, everyone in your home can find out the Wi-Fi password: your guests, acquaintances, or children from neighborhood take a note of the password. They then have access to your Wi-Fi and your home network, even outside your home, depending on the range of your Wi-Fi signals.
Initially you, as the connection owner, are likely to be held responsible for everything that these people may commit using your internet access. For example, access to prohibited web resources or unauthorized downloads. Even worse, the unwelcome guests can access devices on your home network such as IP camera, printer and NAS, depending upon your security setup.
To prevent such threat from happening you should first of all change the default Wi-Fi password of the router. If you change the password later, you will have to enter the new password again for all Wi-Fi clients that were already connected to the router, and that will be somewhat tedious.
Avoid keeping your password easily accessible and viewable by everybdy – such as on the router, pinning it to the wall, or alike. For friends and legitimate visitors, it is best to activate the guest Wi-Fi in the router, through which they can access the internet, but not your home network. This additional wireless network should be kept secured with a different password.
The WPS Feature of the Router Remains Unnecessarily Active for All the Time
WPS is the easiest way to connect a Wi-Fi client to the router. But this isn’t confined to entertain just your devices. Anyone who has physical access to your route can use it to get into your home network in a few seconds if they got a chance to press the WPS button on your router.
As a precaution, only use the practical WPS function when setting up the router in order to conveniently connect all of your WPS-enabled Wi-Fi clients to the router. After you’re done, switch off WPS in the router settings. If you want to integrate a new Wi-Fi client, you can temporarily switch WPS back on in the router if necessary. This may seem awkward, but it ensures substantial network security, especially in households with several people. Especially since it does not happen too often that you integrate a new Wi-Fi device into the home network.
It’s important to note that while WPS was designed to simplify the process of connecting devices to Wi-Fi networks, it has been criticized for security vulnerabilities. Some implementations of WPS have been found to be prone to get brute-force attacked, potentially exposing the Wi-Fi network’s password.
Your Wi-Fi is Open to Friends and Visitors
Now a days providing Wi-Fi access is not limited to restaurants, hotels, airports and other public facilities. It has become a tradition to provide Wi-Fi to the visitors at home. Usually incoming guests expect this when they come to your home, for example, to present trip photos on their smartphone, to watch a funny YouTube video, or to play their new favorite songs. However, if you share your password with them, a person with hidden motives can not only take a look at the picture collection on your NAS, but quite likely inject malware or spyware into your network for their disgusting purpose.
Again, there’s a precautionary measure available in the form of guest Wi-Fi account. Every Wi-Fi router provides this function. This way the devices using the guest Wi-Fi can access the internet, but cannot access your home network because both networks have a different IP address range.
To do this, activate the guest Wi-Fi in the router menu and give it a simple but meaningful name like “Guest-Wi-Fi”
Of course you’ll want to prevent people outside your home from using this Wi-Fi because your wireless network extends to your neighborhood, encrypt it using the WPA2 standard with a password different from that of your home network Wi-Fi.
Some routers provide additional security feature for the guest Wi-Fi. For example, you can specify how long it should remain switched on or set it to automatically deactivate when no devices are connected to it.
The Wi-Fi router is in the Cupboard or behind the Shelf
Apparently there’s no reason that you place your Wi-Fi router on a prominent place, visible to everybody, just to get admired. Therefore, it is a common practice of hiding them from sight. However, The Wi-Fi router’s ability to transmit and receive signals is notably reduced when the device is positioned within an enclosed space like a cabinet, desk, or box, or concealed behind a fully stocked bookshelf.
A Wi-Fi router should instead be placed on an open, elevated place. In this manner, its radio signals can propagate freely in all directions within the environment, ensuring unobstructed transmission to the connected Wi-Fi devices. If you don’t find this optimal location, try to find a place where there should at least be no major obstacles in the way of the radio wave signals from the router. Some routers can also be mounted higher up on the inside of a wall using a suitable wall mount.
Many router manufacturers also offer their own smartphone app for setting up the device or for Wi-Fi signals analysis, which can be used to assess the location of the router.
The Router Treats All Wi-Fi Clients Equally
A router normally supplies each active client with the best currently available internet bandwidth. This becomes a problem when many clients transmit data via the router to the internet at the same time. It can happen, for example, that a client that starts an extensive upload or download occupies most of the bandwidth of the internet connection for quite a bit of time, so that other clients are put on a wait state.
If you are surfing the internet casually or writing an email to a client, you may not notice this at first. However, if you are taking part in a video conference, this may lead to poorer picture and sound quality or even to the termination of the connection.
As a Wi-Fi network owner at your home you, or may be somebody else have the right to enjoy more faster and uninterrupted transmission performance than others who’re using the same network. The priorities for the person(s) are higher may be because of engaging in telecommuting job at home or using a game console for online gaming.
To enhance the speed of data transmission for crucial Wi-Fi clients, use the QoS (Quality of Service) feature, commonly labelled as “prioritization” in many router menus. Depending on the router manufacturer, you can set up certain devices here that the router should prioritize, or specify applications such as video conferencing, internet telephony or streaming that should have more priority. To do this. It is recommended to create a priority rule in the router menu. Note that the prioritization of this type is only possible if the router functions in primary router mode and not as a repeater, an access point, or the so-called IP client.
Signal Interference from Other Electronic Devices
Wireless interference can significantly impact the performance and reliability of your Wi-Fi network. It occurs when other electronic devices like cordless phones or neighboring Wi-Fi networks operate at the same frequencies as your router.
Here are some key aspects to consider
Frequency Bands: Wi-Fi networks typically operate on two primary frequency bands: 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. Many other devices, such as cordless phones, Bluetooth devices, and microwave ovens, also use the 2.4 GHz band, leading to potential interference. The 5 GHz band is generally less crowded and offers higher speeds but has slightly shorter range.
Neighboring Wi-Fi Networks: If you live in a densely populated area, there may be multiple Wi-Fi networks nearby, especially on the 2.4 GHz band, which has a limited number of non-overlapping channels. If several neighboring networks are on the same or overlapping channels, it can lead to interference and reduced performance.
Electromagnetic Interference: Certain electronic devices, such as cordless phones, baby monitors, and microwave ovens, can emit electromagnetic interference that disrupts Wi-Fi signals, particularly in the 2.4 GHz band.
Bluetooth Devices: Bluetooth devices, especially older ones, can interfere with Wi-Fi signals in the 2.4 GHz band. Newer Bluetooth devices are designed to coexist in a friendly manner with Wi-Fi.
To mitigate interference and improve your Wi-Fi experience
Choose the Right Channel: Use your router’s admin panel to select the best Wi-Fi channel. You can use tools like Wi-Fi analyzer apps to identify which channels are less congested in your area. Again exercise caution while doing this because wrong configuration may lead to malfunctioning or unavailability of the Wi-Fie signals.
Switch to 5 GHz: If your router and devices support it, consider using the 5 GHz band, as it offers more available channels and is generally less crowded.
Update Router Firmware: Keep your router’s firmware up to date. Manufacturers may release updates that improve the router’s ability to manage interference.
Upgrade Devices: If older devices are causing interference (e.g., old cordless phones), consider upgrading to newer, more interference-resistant models.
Above are some of the major key-mistakes or issues you may commit or come across. You may want to gain insights into them to overcome or mitigate their impact and to get the best performance of your Wi-Fi device.