Computers / Buying Guide

Grant Your Holiday Guests Wi-Fi Access

1Share

Dad, can we get a dog?” and “Rich, what’s your Wi-Fi password?” are questions I always pretend I didn’t hear when first asked. I’ve gotten good at changing the topic or pretending to be deep in thought when presented with a question I have no intention of answering. I even have a go-to “deep in thought” expression; staring at the ceiling, hand under chin, one eyebrow raised—it’s awfully convincing. Unfortunately, my family and friends are on to me. I think the eyebrow was too much.

I’ve never been comfortable sharing my Wi-Fi password. I once had a neighbor, whom I barely knew at the time, ask to use my Wi-Fi because theirs was out of commission. His son needed to finish an assignment for school and my network was the nearest available (locked down, of course). Here I was with a real-life dilemma. Do I hold my ground and say “nah,” letting my Wi-Fi paranoia take hold, allowing little Bobby to flunk while my network security stays intact, or do I trust that my neighbor isn’t a hacker on the dark Web looking to steal my sneaker-shopping coupon codes? So, I relented, I shared my password, but changed it the following day to something I forgot after just two days, creating another issue. Trying to be too clever with passcodes usually works, because you can fool yourself, too.

An Easy Solution

It turns out the solution was built into my router’s software all along: The Guest Network setting. Often underused and overlooked, this configuration is available on most routers, which means you may not need new equipment to unlock this extra layer of security. With the holiday season upon us, you may find yourself hosting a multitude of family and friends, which means someone will inevitably ask to jump onto your Wi-Fi network. If you haven’t familiarized yourself with the Guest feature yet, now is the time. While easier on some than others, accessing your router’s software isn’t a difficult task. Some routers require you to log into their dedicated IP address via your web browser, while others, like the Linksys EA6900, offers convenient app-based control. Using an app like the one found on the EA6900, you can quickly enable or disable guest access and create an SSID and user password; ideally, one that differs from your routers main SSID(s). The EA6900 can even accommodate up to 50 guests—now that’s a Holiday party.

Linksys EA6900 Smart Wi-Fi Dual Band AC1900 Router

If you’re in the market for one of the newer Whole Home Wi-Fi Systems, and want to enjoy expanded range, speedy connectivity, and enhanced security, TP-Link’s Deco M5 offers easy guest access, built-in anti-virus protection, and up to 4,500 square feet of coverage when all three access points are configured. What does that mean for you and your guests? A wide coverage area that’s fast and safe. Thanks to TP-Link’s app, you’re always in control of your network. You can set up guest access, prioritize devices, view your device list (kick someone off—some guests never leave), and more. You can even view usage reports.

TP-Link Deco M5 AC1300 MU-MIMO Dual-Band Whole Home Wi-Fi System

The Gift of Wi-Fi

You’re busy, managing a household, burning holiday dinners, dodging Wi-Fi-borrowing neighbors, and you don’t need to add network administrator to your already long list of responsibilities. Thankfully, giving your friends and family access to your network isn’t an arduous task. It’s likely built into the router you’re already using, and if you’re in the market for a new one, even greater control may await you. Take the leap, give the gift of Wi-Fi this year, but feel free to take it back whenever you want.

Is your wireless network guest-friendly? Let us know in the Comments section, below.

Close

Close

Close