How to Make My Wi-Fi Private

by Ruri Ranbe

A public hot spot enables you to connect to the network without requiring authentication, and a private hot spot restricts access to the network unless you enter the password correctly. Some routers ship with a password already configured, and when you insert the installation disc for the device into your computer, the software provides instructions for connecting to the private hot spot -- but most are open to the public. To protect your hot spot and prevent strangers from logging in to your network, set up wireless security on your router.

Linksys

1

Navigate to "http://192.168.1.1" (without quotation marks) from your browser and log in to the Linksys router using "admin" (without quotation marks here and throughout) as the username and password.

2

Select "Wireless" from the main menu and then choose "Wireless Security" from the submenu. Change the Configuration View setting to "Manual."

3

Choose "WPA2 Personal" or "WPA2/WPA Mixed Mode" from the Security Mode drop-down menu.

4

Type a password consisting of eight to 63 characters into the Passphrase field and click "Save Settings."

Netgear

1

Navigate to http://192.168.0.1 or http://192.168.1.1 in your Web browser -- the address varies, depending on your particular router model. Then, log in to the Netgear router using "admin" as the username and "password" as the password.

2

Select "Wireless" or "Wireless Settings" from the left pane; then choose "WPA2-PSK [AES]" or "WPA-PSK [TKIP] + WPA2-PSK [AES]" from under Security Options.

3

Enter a password consisting of eight to 63 characters into the Passphrase field, and then click "Apply."

Belkin

1

Navigate to http://192.168.2.1 in your Web browser to access the Belkin router.

2

Click "Log In," and then click "Submit." You do not need to enter any information to log in to the router unless you've previously set up a custom password.

3

Select "Security" from under the Wireless heading in the left pane, then choose "WPA/WPA2-Personal (PSK)" from the Security Mode options and click "Apply Changes."

4

Choose "WPA2-PSK" or "WPA-PSK+WPA2-PSK" from the Encryption Technique drop-down menu.

5

Type a password consisting of eight to 63 characters into the "Pre-Shared Key (PSK)" field and click "Apply Changes."

Tips

  • If you've customized your username and password, log in to your router using your administrative credentials instead of the defaults.
  • Protect your network with Wi-Fi Protected Access and WPA2 mixed mode if your computer runs Windows XP or earlier.
  • Your router might disconnect you from the network after you change the security settings. To reconnect, select your hot spot from the Network pane and then enter your new passphrase into the appropriate field.

About the Author

Ruri Ranbe has been working as a writer since 2008. She received an A.A. in English literature from Valencia College and is completing a B.S. in computer science at the University of Central Florida. Ranbe also has more than six years of professional information-technology experience, specializing in computer architecture, operating systems, networking, server administration, virtualization and Web design.

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