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How to Tell if Someone is Freeloading on your Wi-Fi


Wi-Fi is one of the greatest things in our lives. Until it isn’t. Think: slow speeds, spotty connection. There’s no doubt that we get frustrated by slow speeds and poor connections in a world where many of us are conditioned to expect reliable Wi-Fi. Especially when we are the ones paying for it. If you’ve ever noticed that suddenly your Wi-Fi network seems slow, there’s a chance that someone might be trying to tap into your network to use your internet connection for free.

Do you think someone is trying to freeload your Wi-Fi? Here’s how to check and see:

First thing’s first: this is a lot less of a problem today than it was a few years ago. Today, more routers come configured with security features. But, if you buy a consumer router instead of using a rented router from a provider, then you need to manually set the Wi-Fi password, otherwise it can be easy for someone to hack into.

Regardless, even if you think you are protected, people have ways of finding their way in. Just in case, here are some methods to see if someone else is using your Wi-Fi network:

Method one: Reboot your router

Sometimes the reason there’s a dip in Wi-Fi speed is simply because your router needs to be rebooted. If you still think someone is on your network, here’s what you should do:

  1. Turn off all Wi-Fi devices in your home for a few minutes.
  2. Check the Wi-Fi activity LED light on your router.
  3. If it is flickering (meaning that there is activity) then it is likely someone else is using your network, too.

While this method can work, it’s not the most practical. Turning off every connected item can be a lot of work, especially if you have a fully connected home. So, here are some other ways.

Method two: Use Managed Wi-Fi

Managed Wi-Fi services, such as OptimTM from Actiontec, allow you to actively monitor your network, get notified of any suspicious activity, enable advanced security settings, and connect directly with your Internet service provider for comprehensive troubleshooting. Managed Wi-Fi will help you to identify unwanted devices connected to your home network, as well as allow you to disconnect those devices. demystifies network security, making it both accessible and actionable from an easy-to-use dashboard. 

Method three: Change the pre-shared key

Lastly, check into your router’s wireless or security settings and look for the pre-shared key. Change the pre-shared key and then reboot your router. This will kick of all connected devices. You will have to give the new key to all of your devices, but this will ensure unwanted connected devices are booted off of your Wi-Fi network. 

Final thoughts:

Always have a strong Wi-Fi password. Make sure that it is WPA2 encryption because it is the hardest to hack. Also, make sure to change all of your login information for your router so that no one else has this information.

OptimTM Managed Wi-Fi solution is available through reputable Service Providers.  You can learn more about home networking and Wi-Fi security with Actiontec’s Complete Guide to WiFi Networking. For the latest news in technology, check out Actiontec’s blog.

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