Do you have a feeling someone is having it off with your Wi-Fi connection? I am almost certain my neighbours were having it away with my signal. If you do suspect your wireless router is being interfered with, the good news is there are ways of dealing with internet pests – and some of them can even be a giggle.
How do I know someone is freeloading?
A sudden overall drop in your internet connection speed or performance can point to a Wi-Fi ‘thief’ – especially if it happens at similar times each day.
Note: for best performance always keep your router and devices up to date. If you think a new router might be in order, there’s a host of wireless internet providers such as mobi-data.co.uk that can hook you up with a sim only contact.
If you suspect you have an internet squatter, the quickest low-tech confirmation is to turn off every device in your house that uses the connection; computers, phones, TVs. Unplug them at the wall. Are the lights on your router still showing active connections? If so, you’ve got yourself a freeloader.
For a more conclusive method you can check the devices that connect to your router. It’s pretty simple, but if you’re not that tech, take a look at this lifehacker.com guide.
Should I care?
Yes. If you have a limited bandwidth your freeloader will mostly likely run up some hefty bills. But worse than that, your freeloader may not be a cheapskate – they may be a criminal. It is not unheard of for freeloaders to steal your personal information and if anybody is getting up to naughty business on your network, you might even find the police knocking at your door.
So what can I do about it?
There are plenty of ways to deal with unwanted Wi-Fi intruders, but how far you go depend on how tech you want to get and how much fun you feel like having.
- Get secure
The logical solution is to beef up your router’s security settings. It’s something everyone should do anyway,but many of us don’t. If you don’t know your WEPs from your WPAs try this handy guide at techradar.com.
This is probably the most obvious part of step one but it’s important enough to merit its own mention. Determined hackers will have all kinds of tricks at their disposal, but your average Wi-Fi squatter will be kept out with a cunning password.
- Switch off SSID
You’ll need to check your router’s manual for this one. Find out how to access your router settings and find the section for SSID broadcasting. Turn this function off and your network will become invisible. It’s not fool proof, but it’s a good trick.
- Get hi-tech
If you really want to have some fun, check out the incredible action taken by one frustrated networker on ex-parrot.com that includes flipping web pages upside down, blurring the freeloader’s screen and redirecting them to kittenwar. It’s a bit tech but a blinding way to screw with leeches!
Got any other tips for keeping out uninvited guests? Get in touch or leave a comment.