If you have been experimenting with the various features and functionalities of your wireless network, you may wonder what is a guest network on a router. The best routers, after all, typically enable the use of a guest network. What is this guest network and when is it useful? Keep reading to find out.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • A guest Wi-Fi network is a separate wireless network instituted by your primary router that is intended to be used by guests.
  • This guest Wi-Fi network helps boost security, as you will limit the number of people that have access to your primary network.
  • Setting up one of these guest Wi-Fi networks is usually done via the admin panel’s router settings, which is accessed on a web browser or on firmware.

What is a Guest Network?

A guest Wi-Fi network is a separate network from your primary network, yet still accessed by your primary router. It works similarly to your primary network, in that it allows people to access the Internet via a wide variety of connected devices. However, there are certain limitations you can impose that differentiate a guest network from your main network, so guests won’t be able to, say, learn how to change DNS settings on a router or do related damage to your network.

Insider Tip

Internet of Things devices, otherwise known as smart home devices, truly excel on a guest network.

Benefits of a Guest WiFi Network

The primary benefit of a guest network option is to create a space for visitors to your home, so they can access the Internet via your wireless network without having to ask for your primary password. This increases your network’s overall security, as visitors could accidentally download and disseminate a virus or download movies or television shows illegally. Plus, it is always a good idea to limit the number of people that have your wireless password, so they can’t do anything permanent, such as learning how to cascade routers.

Setting Up a Guest WiFi Network

The process here differs depending on the make and model of your router, but setting up a guest network is typically simple enough for beginners. Head to your router’s administration panel, which can be accessed via a web browser address bar or via dedicated firmware software. Once there, look for settings to institute a guest network and follow the prompts. Remember, even though it is a guest network, it should still be protected by a password, but feel free to use an easy-to-remember and shareable Wi-Fi password.

Customization

You’ll be able to customize the additional network to suit your needs, limiting bandwidth, downloads, and even sites that can be visited. This will further increase your security as guests go about using your Internet connection. The admin panel or firmware will once again be the location to change up these settings.

F.A.Q.S

Why it’s better to connect IoT devices to a guest network?

Internet of Things devices should be relegated to guest access because they do not need a steady Internet connection, unlike a network printer, a laptop, and other devices.


Does your router support guest networking?

Most modern routers support this feature, but you should still consult the instructions or YouTube tutorials for further and specific information.


How to see what devices are connected to my WiFi?

Hit up the admin panel for a list of connected devices delineated by IP address. This includes smart home devices, mobile devices, and just about any guest device.



STAT: Guest WiFi is the safest way to give your visitors access to the internet through your existing network. If your guests log on to the primary network with a compromised or malware-infected device, the virus can spread to your home devices connected to WiFi. (source)

Lawrence Bonk

Lawrence Bonk is a copywriter with a decade of experience in the tech space, with columns appearing in Engadget, Huffington Post and CBS, among others. He has a cat named Cinnamon.

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