Wi-Fi Pirates: Caught Red-Handed!
Curious about who’s using your network, and if they’re slowing it down? It’s possible that your internet provider is just lying about the speeds that you should really expect on your network, but it’s also possible that there’s someone other than you using your Wi-Fi network. The best way to resolve the question is to take a look at what’s going on with your network, and check whether the devices that are connected to it are ones you recognize. There are a couple of easy ways to determine who is using your Wi-Fi network.
1) Check Your Router’s Administrative Page
One way to see what devices are connected to your Wi-Fi network is to log on to your router’s administrative page and check the list of “Attached Devices”. From there, you’ll be able to see all of the computers, smartphones, tablets, and any other devices connected to your wireless router. The website of your router’s manufacturer should explain how to log in to your router. Usually all you have to do is type the router’s Internet Protocol (IP) address into your web browser, and logging into the page with the administrator name and password.
2) Use an App to Scan the Network
If you don’t want to bother with logging in to your router’s administrative page, you can download an app that will do the dirty work for you. There are a number of apps that will scan your network for connected devices. In fact, your router’s manufacturer may have its own app. View the list of the devices that are connected to your network, and determine which ones are yours, and see if there’s anything suspicious going on with your network. It’s possible that all of the devices on the list will be accounted for, but if you find a device connected to the network that doesn’t belong to you, you know that someone else is using your Wi-Fi. It’s possible that the unauthorized user is connecting to your network only sporadically, so you may need to perform checks a few times to determine if the device is responsible for slowing down your Wi-Fi.
It should go without saying that you should ensure that your network is appropriately secured, but if your network is already encrypted and someone is still connecting, then the least you should do is change your Wi-Fi password immediately. After that, you should check on the network periodically to ensure that the only devices on the network are yours. If an unauthorized user manages to connect to your network again, you should return your router to factory settings and configure it again from scratch.
On the other hand, if you determine that no unauthorized users are connecting to your Wi-Fi network, and you’re still experiencing problems with the speed of your network, you probably have other problems to troubleshoot. You should test the speed of your internet via both ethernet and Wi-Fi, and if your Wi-Fi speed is much slower than your wired connection speed, that may indicate that you need to replace your router. If the problem persists, you may want to get in touch with your internet provider and see if there’s a problem that the company can help you resolve.