What is guest Wi-Fi and do I need to set it up?

Virginia Brown
Virginia Brown

Oct 17, 2019 — 3 min read

Considering setting up guest Wi-Fi to protect your home network? Here’s what you need to know.

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Hotels, gyms, workplaces — you name it — guest networks have become an expected prerequisite for most businesses these days. But they’ve also become increasingly popular in home networks, too. Here’s why.

Think of your home network like the engine of your car. To look under the hood, you have to have access to the key. Only then can you pop the hood and take a peek. Just like you’d think twice before giving anyone access to your car keys, the same is true when it comes to the password for your network.

So, explain again, what is guest Wi-Fi?

Whether you know them (read: trust them) or not, guests who have access to your home’s Wi-Fi password have access to data stored in the devices on your network — access to look under the hood, if you will.

To give your guests easy access to the internet and keep your data secure, there’s an easy option: guest Wi-Fi. Guest Wi-Fi gives your friends, visiting family, business partners and others — anyone stepping on your home turf — access to the internet with little to no setup.

Depending on how the guest network is configured, everyone from your next-door neighbor and aunt Sally to dog walkers and babysitters can access the internet without the freedom to peek at or tweak your personal information.

Another perk of Guest Wi-Fi: It thwarts malware, viruses and other invaders that look to jump from a guest’s device, even without them knowing, to yours.

How do I get started setting up guest Wi-Fi?

A good place to start is with your internet service provider (ISP). With some ISPs, you simply need to download a home management app, find your network settings, set up a guest password and activate guest Wi-Fi.

From that point on, anytime a newcomer needs access to the internet, someone in the household with access to the password provides it, along with the network name, so your guests know which one to use.

This network name and password are still secure through your router, which gives your guests access to the internet, but it provides a separate access point so guests cannot change your household modem settings, block devices or change passwords.

If you plan to use your own router, know that not all are created equally. Selecting the right router is important. Routers that support guest networks have varying degrees of user functionality. Some offer “bandwidth throttling,” a perk that, when activated, allows you to define the level of bandwidth your guests can use.

Others offer scheduling options. For example, if you wanted to make your guest network visible only from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., you can. Then, outside of your selected parameters, your guest Wi-Fi wouldn’t even be visible to others.

Whichever route you go, before creating a guest Wi-Fi for your home, check to make sure your router offers a secure, encrypted network. That way, guests stay in touch with the online world and you can rest assured that your data won’t be compromised.

For more tips and tricks on guest Wi-Fi or how to set up the Wi-Fi in your home, keep connected to our experts on Facebook and Twitter and bookmark our Resource Center.