Your wireless router will almost always come with a pre-set password to let you connect your devices over wi-fi. However, these passwords can sometimes be generic to that ISP, or else so nonsensical that you have to double check it every time you want to connect a friend's smartphone.
Help is at hand though, as it is possible to change your password with just a few simple steps. Read on as we explain how to change your wi-fi password - including specific steps for BT, Sky or Virgin Media routers.
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Change a router's security settings and password
Each router is different, so refer to the manual that came with the router for security settings. We have specific advice for Virgin Media, BT and Sky routers below. If you use a third-party router or one from another ISP, try the following steps:
Launch your preferred web browser and enter the address of your router into the browser’s address bar.
This is a number listed in your router instruction manual. For many brands, the number you need to enter is 192.168.1.1. Press Enter. You may be asked for an administrator password - also printed on the router label.
You’ll see a page that looks like a webpage, which is hosted in the router. From here, you can make changes to the router.
To change the default password, click the Administration tab (this may vary between routers). Some older routers come with weak passwords such as ‘admin’ that are easy to guess, so it's important to use a good one.
Prefer to speak to one of our friendly Which? tech advisers to guide you through changing your router password? Our friendly team are on hand to help you with one-to-one support. Find out more.
Encrypting a wireless network
Finally, you need to encrypt your network. Your router instruction manual should show you how.
There are two main kinds of encryption: WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) or WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access). Both use a system that prevents any wireless device without the correct authentication key from accessing the network.
WPA is newer and slightly stronger, as it scrambles the encryption key, but check first that all the devices on your network can use it before choosing this option.
The first step is to turn on encryption on your wireless router by going to the configuration utility, locating the security settings and following the instructions there.
Once you’ve done this, make a note of the authorisation key, and type this in when asked to during the setup for each of your other wireless devices.
Virgin Media Super Hub - wireless password
To access your wireless router's settings, connect to the router via an ethernet cable or wi-fi. Next, open a web browser and type in its IP address: 192.168.0.1
This should open the router's hub where you can log on using your username and password - usually found on the base of your router.
Click Wireless Network Settings, then set the Security Mode drop-down menu to WPA Auto. Enter your password into the Passphrase box and click Save Settings.
All of your wireless devices will now disconnect, but you cna quickly reconnect them by entering your freshly created password.
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BT Home Hub - wireless password
Open your web browser and type http://bthomehub.home to open the Hub Manager, then click the Settings tab.
You will be asked to enter a username and password which should be printed on the base of your router. Once typed in, click on Advanced Settings followed by Continue to Advanced Settings and then browse to Wireless, then Security.
From here you can see the type of of wireless encryption used by your router and edit the password to one of your choosing.
Sky Hub - wireless password
As usual, the first thing to do is open a new web browser window. In the address bar, type 192.168.0.1 and press Enter.
By default the username should be admin and the password sky (all in lowercase). If this doesn't work, check the base of your router for these details.
From the Useful settings menu on the right hand side of the screen, select Change Wireless Password. Enter your username and password again if prompted and type the new wireless password you want to use. Next, select Apply to save your new settings.