There are many reasons why you would want to check if an unauthorized party is using your own wireless network. Maybe you feel slower than usual Internet connection or you just do not want anyone gets a free ride while only you are paying the bill. Of course, there are security concerns, if this person can somehow gain access to files on the network, and even legal consequences if it uses its own channel for piracy or other illegal activities. In any case, it’s better to be on the safe side. I know many people may have already taken some basic safety measures when setting up your wireless network and know your way around these issues. This short guide is aimed primarily at novice users in need a hand to find out when, indeed, their Wi-Fi is theft.
Check If devices are connected to your router
1st of all you need to do is login to the router’s administrative console by typing its IP-address directly into the browser address bar – usually 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.1.1 depending on the router you have. If you do not know the address of the default router, just go to the command prompt (Start> Run / Search CMD) and then type IPCONFIG. Address that you have to be close to the Default Gateway under the Local Area Connection.
Once inside the administrative console to view your router for the section related to the connected devices and wireless status. In my old DIR-655 from D-Link is available under Status> Wireless but you will find it as “connected devices” in Netgear routers, under the Clients table DHCP on Linksys routers, “Device list” if you are using firmware Tomato, and so forth.
This should provide a table with IP, MAC-addresses and other details of each device is currently connected to the router. Check this list against your gear to find any intruders. You can find / IP-MAC address of your computer through clicking on the command line again and enter ‘IPCONFIG / all’. MAC-address is exposed as a substantial address. I’ll let you figure it out for mobile devices such as smart phones and media players, so I cannot list all the options.
The best and easiest solution is to create a tough password using WPA2 or WPA – WEP is easy to crack and should be avoided, if possible. There are also other ways you can use to enhance security as disable broadcast SSID or filter settings to enable or disable devices by MAC-address. It will not stop the most determined intruder, but it will slow it down.