Your Wi-Fi router comes with a default network name and password, and both are often printed on the router itself. But you can change the name and password to anything you want in just a few clicks.
Changing your default network name gives you a chance to use something more personalized than “NETGEAR30” or “Linksys.” You could also use a password that’s easier to remember.
Find Your Router’s IP Address
This setting is controlled on your wireless router, so you’ll need to change it on your router.
Typically, this will involve accessing the router’s web interface in a web browser and changing it there. But this depends on your router. For example, if you have an Apple Airport router, you can use the “Airport Utility” on your Mac to change its settings. Some router manufacturers offer smartphone apps for changing settings, while some more expensive routers are even beginning to include built-in touchscreens for this.
But all this doesn’t really matter for most people. Typically, you’ll need to access the web interface. You could look up instructions specific to your model of router online, but the below instructions will work for the vast majority of routers.
(You should probably do this from a computer. Many routers don’t have a mobile-optimized website that will work well on your smartphone.)
On a Windows PC, the quickest way to find this information is in the Command Prompt. To open it, press Windows Key + R, type “cmd” without the quotes, and press Enter.
Type “ipconfig” without the quotes into the Command Prompt window and press Enter. You’ll see the router’s IP address displayed to the right of “Default Gateway” under the network connection you’re currently using.
This works on Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10, and even older versions of Windows.
On a Mac, click the Apple menu and select “System Preferences”. Click the “Network” icon, select your Wi-Fi or wired Ethernet conneciton, and click “Advanced”.
Click over to the “TCP/IP” tab and look for the router’s address to the right of “Router”.
Access the Web Interface
Take that IP address you found earlier, type it into your web browser’s address bar, and press Enter.
You’ll be asked to enter the router’s username and password to log in. If you’ve changed the username and password to custom ones, enter your custom login information.
If you haven’t, you’ll need to use the default login information. Often, the default password is either “admin” or just blank. On some routers, you may need to enter “admin” as the username and a blank password, “admin” as both the username and password, or “admin” as just the password with a blank username.
To find out the username and password for your router, perform a web search for “default password” and the name of your model of router, or check your router’s documentation. This page offers a list of default usernames and passwords for many different routers.
If you’ve set a custom password but can’t remember it, you’ll need to reset your router to its default settings.
Change the Wi-Fi Network Name and Password
After logging in, look for the Wi-Fi settings. Depending on your router, these may be right up-front on the first page you see, or they may be buried in a section named something like “Wi-Fi”, “Wireless”, or “Wireless Networks”. Click around and you should find it.
You may see a field named either “SSID” or “Network name”. These are the same thing — the name of your wireless network.
The “password” and “passphrase” fields are also the same. It’s recommended to choose a fairly long wireless password, and you may want to use a phrase — a series of words — rather than a single word. This field may also be named the wireless “key,” WPA-PSK key, or something similar.
Once you’ve entered your new Wi-Fi network name and passphrase, you’ll need to click “Apply”, “Save”, or a similarly named button to save your settings.
If you’re connected to your router’s web interface over Wi-Fi, your device will disconnect as the router shuts down its old Wi-Fi network and brings up a new one. On every device you use, you’ll need to open the Wi-Fi settings, choose your new Wi-Fi network name, and enter its new passphrase to reconnect. All devices currently on the network will need the new details before they can connect again.
Depending on your router, you may actually have multiple Wi-Fi networks you can change — a separate 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz network, for example, or a separate guest network. Examine your router’s settings screens for more information about the available options.