Router Settings | How to access them & what to change

Making sure that you’ve got the right router settings for your home internet connection is definitely important. This can help to prevent any future problems you may have with security.

No-one wants to experience slow internet or pop ups, which are common router virus symptoms that can be avoided by having the right settings.

One problem is that in the UK, many of us aren’t actually using our own router. We typically use whatever Virgin, Sky or whoever else give us to use. These are typically hubs that are both a modem and a router in one. But, with these hubs, you should still be able to change the settings.

So, how can you do this, and what are some things to consider doing when you have access? Here’s how and why you should check your router settings to make sure they’re right for you.

How to access your router settings

If you want to change your router settings, then you simply need to type in the IP address of your router into the URL bar within your Chrome or Safari browser. This will take you to the settings page, and you’ll need to get the password from the bottom of your router to gain access.

In the majority of cases, the router’s IP address is going to be the same. The default router IP address is probably going to be 192.168.0.1. This is the right IP address if you’re within Virgin Media or Sky.

If you’re with EE, or you’re with BT, then the most common IP address used is 192.168.1.254. For Talktalk users, the router IP address is 192.168. 1.1. With Vodafone, the default address is 192.168.2.1 instead.

The IP address varies from brand to brand and it depends on who’s router or hub you’re using. If you’re not sure what it is, you can usually find it labelled underneath the router itself, along with the password for the router settings too.

You can also find the router IP address within your settings. For example, on a Macbook you can find the router IP by going to Network, then Advanced, and then the TCP/IP tab.

router-ip-address

Once you’ve entered the IP address and password into your URL browser, you’ll then be able to change some of the settings currently used for your home wifi network.

Router settings to check and change

Though for the most part the default settings that your router comes with are okay, there are a few things you may want to tweak. Here’s the main considerations to take into account.

Changing your SSID and password

ssid

One of the first things that you do when you receive a new router is consider changing the default SSID and password that it uses. The SSID is simply the Service Set Identifier, which is how you identify your router from another.

Changing it from the default settings is considered to be best practice for keeping your network secure. Why? Well, the main reason is that the SSID that comes with your router will usually be able to identified with the brand.

This gives any potential hackers that extra bit of information that might make it easier for them to break into your wifi. It’s thought that if you know the SSID, then you may be able to work out the default password in some way.

Plus, just changing your network name shows that you’re capable of doing so. This can be a deterrent to hackers too, who are usually looking to target the vulnerable and non tech savvy.

Of course, you’re already aware that you should change your password for most things. Increasing the length of your password if it’s particularly shirt is definitely wise, as this can help protect you against brute force attacks.

All in all, for something that takes 20 seconds to do, changing your SSID and password is a good idea.

Parental Controls

parental-controls

Young kids in the house that won’t come off their Xbox at bedtime? Then you’ll definitely want to look through the parental control settings of your router.

It’s also a good way to make sure that no unsavoury websites are accessed too, as you can apply a filter that blocks them out completely. This can prove to be really useful for very young kids who are just getting to grips with the internet in general.

If you’re looking to set timings for specific devices, then you may need to get a certain router for this function. Your average router probably won’t be able to give you the ability to set certain times that devices will and won’t be able to connect to the wifi.

For example, I know with Virgin Media that their older Hubs aren’t clever enough to restrict connection based on a timeframe (and even their newer ones can be buggy). But, you can download the Virgin app which allows you to set time limits on specific devices in your home. There’s equivalents for Sky and other internet providers, too.

Having the ability to block devices or websites is essential for most parents. So, it’s something to consider when looking at routers in general.

Guest Network

guest-wifi

If you’re the kind of person that has people over to visit a lot, then it may be worth setting up a guest network. This will give you a separate network to use with anyone that isn’t a permanent resident in your household, and means that they won’t have access to your main internet connection.

The key reason that people typically want to do this is to protect their own data. If any guests don’t have access to your primary network, then there’s no way that they can gain access to any of your personal data either.

This is definitely true if your guest has a device that may already have a virus or malware on it – you don’t really want that devices connecting to your main home network.

It can also be a good idea to connect to the easily hacked devices in your home to a guest network instead of your main one. Certain smart devices are vulnerable to this, so it’s worth thinking about.

Other settings worth looking at

These are the main things that you can do with a basic router or hub. There are a few more features that some routers have, with the passwords, parental controls and adding a guest network being the first settings you’re going to want to take a look at.

As well as these router settings, you can also think about changing a few more, which I’ll run through briefly now.

MAC/Device filtering – One of the best ways to limit internet access is to use the MAC or device filtering within your router’s settings. Test it out, and it should allow you to restrict access at certain hours of the day.
Firewall settings – Making sure that your firewall is toggled on within your settings is always a good idea if you want to be extra cautious.
Splitting wifi bands – If you have a device that you’re using far away from the router, then it may make sense to use the 2.4 GHz band instead of the 5.0 GHz. Splitting your wifi bands out will allow you to do this (although your router should really do this automatically, so check).
Modem mode – As mentioned earlier, in the UK we usually use our internet supplier’s hubs, which are a modem and router in one. For better performance and more customization, you can switch the hub into modem mode, and then use your router with it.
QoS settings – One of the reasons I like using my own router as opposed to the one provided by my supplier is the Quality of Service settings. They allow me to set preferential devices on my network, which means that you can set your work devices above your kids gaming consoles, for example.

Conclusion

In conclusion, choosing the right settings for your router are definitely important. They can help to keep your home network secure, and ensure that there are no vulnerabilities in your security setup.

As well as this, it’s very useful for placing restrictions on certain variables on your network, like the devices. It’s always worth spending 10 minutes having a browse through how you can customize your home wifi to see how it can work for you.

About Steve

Hi, I'm Steve. I've worked for the past 8 years in a major furniture retailer in the UK, so I know my way around a desk or two. On the weekends, I spend time with my kids or I'm probably outside in the garden doing something or other!

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