How to Implement Guest Access to a Wireless Network

Instructor: Toya Stiger
In this lesson we will discuss why you should implement a guest access network at home and at a business and why it is import to have this kind of network access as part of your network. We will also discuss some steps on how to enable this feature in your home and in a business.

Why Implement Guest Access at Home

Many homeowners have visitors coming and going out of their house and the first thing guests want is to connect to the Wi-Fi. Many homeowners do not think twice and give their guests the password to their Wi-Fi not realizing they are opening their internal network up to vulnerabilities. There is a much easier way for guests to connect to your internet without affecting your internal network. It is called guest access.

The greatest advantage of setting up a guest access network on your router is that this network is completely separate from your internal network. This means that guests cannot access other computers you have on your network or any other networked devices such as printers or security systems. Another advantage is that you can set restrictions on the guest access, such as restricting the amount of bandwidth used, you can block guests from visiting certain sites, and you can even set a time limit on how long they can access the internet for.

Setting up the guest access feature depends on the type of router you have, not all routers have this feature. You can perform a simple Google search to see if your router has this feature. If it does not then you can purchase a router that has this feature and connect it to your router. Some companies that produce these routers are Linksys, Asus, and D-Link.

How to Set Up a Guest Access at Home

The type of router will depend on how you setup your guest access. The first step is to access your routers console management interface. This can be done through the web, by typing in the routers default IP address. This can be found in two ways, from the bottom of the router or you can open a command prompt windows and type in ipconfig. From here look for the Default Gateway, this is the default IP address of your router.

Once you type in the IP address in your browser, you will be prompted for login credentials. If you do not know what the default login for your router is, you can sometimes find it on the router itself, or you can perform a simple Google search by typing the router make and model number. Once you have successfully logged into your routers interface, look for the Guest Network settings. Typically they can be found under the 'Wireless' menu, but it will differ depending on your router.

The next step is to name your guest access network by creating an SSID name and password. An SSID, service set identifier, is the unique name set for a local wireless network, also known as the 'network name'. Most routers create a default SSID for both the local and guest networks, but you can rename both of these networks based on your own preferences. Each router comes with two bandwidth options, 2.4GHz and 5GH, you can set an SSID for both bandwidth options for your guests to use. Finally, you should enable WPA2 security with a strong password. WPA2 is short for Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 and is the mode of securing your network.

How to Implement Guest Access at a Business

We are used to many cafés and public places having guest access Wi-Fi available for customers to use. Lately, many private sector businesses are offering guest access Wi-Fi as well. There are several ways a business can implement a guest access network and keep their internal network separate and safe. The reason businesses should separate guest access networks from their internal networks is to help prevent breaches and hacking. Here are three methods businesses can consider.

Create a Second Network

A business can use its existing network and hardware to setup a guest access network. Similar to that of a homeowner, you can log into the router and setup a guest access network and set the same restrictions as you would on a home router.

Some companies offer what is known as a business-class router. This type of router usually comes with multiple SSID features, broadcast and security levels. You can set up multiple guest networks on this router, if you choose, and still have it separate from your internal network.

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