Internet and Networking

How to Kick People off Your Wi-Fi

The convenience of a Wi-Fi connection is indispensable, and continues to be contemporaneous to other advantages & innovations it can provide, such as IoT, a rather annoying characteristic it brings along is when people simply refuse to get off of your Wi-Fi. Being a victim of such an atrocious act is never fun because you’re prone to being taken undue advantages of, OR you just have a bad actor or a bad neighborhood filled with leechers, trying to gain access to free internet — so to speak. Whatever your situation may be, it’s always beneficial to know how to kick people off your Wi-Fi.

Although, in some delicate circumstances, you may not want to kick them off (say an irritating cousin or a friend, but prevent them from snooping around). Whatever you’re dealing with, this post will cover three unique & easy action items you can take to protect your precious Wi-Fi from the prying eyes — by directly logging into your router.

How to Log Into Your Wi-Fi Router

Typically, your ISP should have instructions for it. Most commonly, that information (IP address, username, and password), should be provided on your router. If you’re struggling to find that information, you could potentially bypass all of that by simply logging into your account with your ISP.

This (having an account with your ISP) is not an uncommon scenario, as most of the folks will likely have a cell phone plan as well. For example, having a data plan and a home Wi-Fi plan with Verizon.

If you’re still roadblocked, as a last resort, you can always call customer service. However, we all know how time-consuming that can be.

Also, there might be a plot-twist — where you have the router admin username and password, but aren’t really sure which IP address to go to — to log-in in the first place. If so, you can leverage the network information your operating system stores for you. I will cover how to get that information on Windows OS, but I am certain that the process will be somewhat similar for Apple users.

In any case, to fetch that information, you’d need to navigate to “view your network properties.” To go there, you can search the same in your start menu. Then, scroll down to the area where the “Default Gateway” IP address is displayed.

view your network properties
First, search for view your network properties.
viewing default gateway
Then, look for the default gateway IP address. That’s where you’d go to log-into your router.

You should also know: If you’re using a VPN, chances are the default gateway info would be incorrect. In that situation, all you’d have to do is make sure you’re looking at the default network adapter.

When everything is said and done on this end, you can start acting on either, or all three action items that follow.

Action Item 1: Changing Your Wi-Fi Password

To kick people off your Wi-Fi, this is one of the straightforward things you can do. Technically, you won’t be kicking them off, but they won’t be able to connect to your Wi-Fi anymore as your password has updated.

The easiest manner, by which you can change your password is by going into your router. As an example, when I log into my router, I get the following choices. (Partial screenshot below; it should be similar for you as well).

how to kick people off your wi-fi - changing password into an AT&T router
As you can see, I get an option to view my password details. From there, I can also change it. Take note that you should probably do it for both the frequencies: 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. Lastly, if you have a separate guest Wi-Fi, ensure you’re changing the password for that as well. You can have guest accounts for either frequency (something else to note).

Action Item 2: Blocking Devices or Mac Addresses From Your Router — To Kick Unwanted People Off

Each device is unique, or rather, every device’s uniqueness is represented by a alphanumeric identifier called the ‘MAC Address.’ Similar to an IMEI number for your phone, every laptop, desktop, etc., will have a MAC address.

Within your router, there should be a section for blocking or for network access/restriction. The exact verbiage will depend on your router obviously, point being, you’d need to head over there. Now, if you’re 100% sure that you don’t have that setting, there might be an associated app for it. For instance, AT&T has a “Smart Home Manager,” through which, you can control device access. With just a few clicks, you can block and unblock devices. As a temporary option, you can also pause the internet for that device. (Screenshots to follow)

Blocking Wi-Fi Access Via AT&T Smart Home Manager
Blocked Device inside the AT&T ‘Smart Home Manager.’
Pausing Wi-Fi Access Via AT&T Smart Home Manager
Paused Device inside the AT&T ‘Smart Home Manager.’

In all honesty, if you’re truly a victim of a Wi-Fi hack, this isn’t the most efficient method because hackers can just buy another device, or tweak their existing MAC Addresses, to get back on. The best solution is to prevent them from connecting in the first place.

Action Item 3: Enabling Guest Access

A Guest Wi-Fi access has several limitations. It won’t disallow someone from connecting to your Wi-Fi, but the restrictions will come in the form of access, and what privileged information they can see. Say, you have an exasperating relative who has the propensity to snoop around, granting that person the password for a Guest Wi-Fi can work in your favor. This way, you don’t become that guy who gets talked about at every family gathering, and at the same time, you’re less precarious to being hacked by your own relative.

Note that this feature may or may not be allowed by your ISP. So, always check first before buying a plan, if it’s something you want to invest in. I believe most commonly used ISPs have this option, but check nevertheless.

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Kicking someone off your Wi-Fi isn’t as difficult as one might think. The only overwhelming aspect to all of this is if you’ve never logged into your router, or it’s your first time delving into anything like this.

Worse case, and for more drastic measures, you can always reach out to your ISP to see what other stringent action items you can take on your end.

Under the normal state of affairs though, acting on either of these action items should help you out — especially number 2.