When you create a wireless network on your Netgear router, anyone can connect to it. Even if you hide the Service Set Identifier, other people can still connect to your router by using its IP address. To protect your wireless network, change the authentication settings on the router. If you protect your wireless network with a password, only people who know the password will be able to access the network. However, keep in mind that any password can theoretically be cracked, so never assume your data is 100 percent secure.

Step 1

Navigate to routerlogin.net, routerlogin.com, 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.0.1 in your Web browser to open the Web-based interface. The address depends on your router model. If you can't find the login information on a sticker on the bottom or back of the device, consult the documentation that came with the router for specific details.

Step 2

Type your username and password into the relevant fields. If you didn't change these values, they're usually "admin" for the username and "password" for the password -- though some older Netgear routers use "1234" as the default password. To make sure you're using the correct values, look for the default username and password on a sticker on the bottom or back of the device, or consult the documentations that came with the router.

Step 3

Click "Wireless" in the left navigation pane. On older routers, this option may be called "Wireless Settings."

Step 4

Click the "WPA2-PSK [AES]" radio button in the Security Options area to enable WPA2 authentication.

Step 5

Enter the password you want to use to protect your wireless network into the Passphrase field. The password must contain at least eight characters.

Step 6

Click the "Apply" button to apply the new settings and enable wireless authentication.

Warnings

  • The password cannot exceed 63 characters.

  • It's never a good idea to use words that can be found in the dictionary as your password. These passwords are easily cracked by using what is known as a "dictionary attack."

  • If you don't protect your wireless network, other people can connect to it. This, in turn, may cause your connection speed to decrease drastically.

Tips

  • You can select a different security standard from the Security Options area.

  • A strong password contains uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters. Strong passwords are very hard to crack.

  • To add an extra layer of security to your wireless network, uncheck the "Enable SSID Broadcast" box. If the SSID is hidden, your router doesn't broadcast the name of your network. You must use the IP address of the router to connect other devices to your network.

  • Don't forget to password-protect the router itself. If you are still using the default username and password, anyone can connect to the router and disable your security settings.