Secure Your Homes Wifi – Avoid Those Overage Bills

Snow, there I said it. The inevitable has happened in Alberta, the summers heat has made an abrupt 180 degree about face and left us Albertans in a bit of a dazed state. Not to worry though, your favorite streaming media service provider will no doubt have enough content cached up to last you through the coldest of the months. But wait, what’s this, your monthly internet bill is showing a rather large usage increase over last month, what sort of evil is at work here? Perhaps it’s time for a refresher on how to ensure your homes Wi-Fi is secure against the digital devices of your neighbours teenagers.

A good place to start is to know what all you have for devices in your home that connect to your network.

Take an inventory, be sure to include things like: cell phones, Chromecast devices, smart TVs, game consoles, smart home devices such as thermostat, cameras, doorbells, smoke alarms, garage door openers, security system, etc. This list could literally go on for pages. (this is why we need IPv6, but we will leave that for another blog).

Okay, you’ve got your list of network devices, now to cross reference your list with stuff actually on your network. Locate your Telus router, on the side of the router is the default IP address and admin password. Using your favorite internet browser, go to the IP address listed on the router, usually 192.168.1.254, again assuming your router is default. Under devices, you will see all the gadgets connected to your network. Cross off known devices and look for anything rogue. If you have doubts about the devices connected, you can easily change your Wi-Fi security key to something new, or even change the SSID (the wireless name being broadcast by the router). Changing either of these will require you to update all your home devices with the new SSID and Key, but it could save your internet bill.

It is also wise to check the network security being used by your wi-fi router. An older security type is WEP (wired equivalent privacy) and I advise against using WEP as it can be easily reverse engineered allowing unauthorized access to the wireless and your network. Ensure your router supports at minimum WPA encryption, and if available use WPA2 personal or even the new WPA3 security standard.

If you have an old off the shelf router/access point, it might be time for an upgrade. There are several vendors that offer mesh access points. These mesh devices provide greater home coverage by packaging 2 or 3+ devices together. You simply hard wire the primary access point to your router and place the secondary access points around your house in strategic locations or dead spots. The secondary access points connect to the primary via wireless and broadcast the same wireless SSID network out to provide you with strong signal throughout your home.

Business wireless is a little more complicated and we recommend contacting a professional to assist with the proper planning and placement of wireless access points throughout your organization. Expert IT Solutions would be happy to assist you with your wireless network project. We offer a wide range of products for any size installation.