Jul 17, 2023

How to Access and Change Your Wi

Your router stores the settings for your home Wi-Fi network. To change something on your network, you have to log into your router's software, also known as firmware. From there, you can rename your network, change the password, adjust the security level, and set up or alter a variety of other options.

But before you can do all that, you first need to gain access to your router. The process for logging into your router should be the same whether you use your internet provider's router or you purchased your own router. It should also be the same whether you use a dedicated router or a combination modem/router supplied by your provider.

You log into your router's firmware through a browser. At the address field, type the IP address of your router. Most routers use an address of, but that's not always the case, so you may first want to confirm the address of your router.

To find your router's IP address, type cmd in the Windows search bar to open the Command Prompt. Type ipconfig at the prompt and press the Enter key on your keyboard. Scroll through the information until you see a setting for Default Gateway under Ethernet adapter or Wireless LAN adapter. That's your router, and the number next to it is your router's IP address.

You can also find your router’s IP address in Windows. In Windows 10, go to Settings > Network & Internet > Status > View hardware and connection properties. In Windows 11, go to Settings > Network & internet > Advanced network settings > Hardware and connection properties.

Details regarding your network connections are displayed. Look for the entry named Ethernet or Wi-Fi, then find the Default Gateway setting to locate your router’s IP address. Once you have the correct address, type it into your browser's address field and press Enter.

After you type the IP address, you're asked for a username and password to access your router's firmware. This is either the default username and password for your router, or unique credentials that you may have created when you set up the router. If you don't remember your login credentials, signing in becomes a bit trickier.

Some routers offer a password-recovery feature. If this is true of your router, this option should appear after you enter the wrong username and password a certain number of times. Typically, this window will ask for your router's serial number, which you can find on the bottom or side of the router.

If you never changed the router's login credentials, many use the default username admin and the default password password. Try that combination to see if it works. Otherwise, your best bet is to run a web search for the default username and password for your router brand, such as Netgear, Linksys, Asus, or TP-Link.

Another option is to visit the Router Passwords website, where you can select the manufacturer of your router to get a list of default usernames and passwords. Try each of the suggestions to see if one of them works.

If you still can't log into your router's firmware, you’ll need to reset the device to revert all settings back to their defaults. You'll usually find a small reset button on your router. Using a pointed object, like a pen or paper clip, push in and hold the reset button for around 10 seconds. You should now be able to log into your router using the default username and password.

After you gain access to your router's firmware, you’ll be free to change whatever elements you think should be modified. These include the router name and password, the security level, and the Wi-Fi password. You can also set up parental controls, create a guest network, and manage attached devices. Just remember to apply any changes before you move on to the next screen.

While we can't walk you through every process for your specific device, manufacturer documentation and built-in help should be available to assist you with the different options if you're not sure how to set them. Most current or recent routers also have setup wizards that can take care of some of this labor for you.

You should change your router's username and password if they’re still set to the default values. Look for an option usually nested under the Administration tab. The screen will likely ask for your current router password before letting you change it. Note that some routers only let you change the password, not the username.

As you create the new password, remember the usual recommendations for creating a secure password—not so difficult that you can't remember it but complex enough that it’s not easy to guess. A passphrase with a combination of easy-to-remember words is also a good option.

Be sure to remember the new password so you don't have to reset the router in the future. Your router’s firmware may also ask you to set up security questions and answers, another handy way to prove your identity. You’ll then have to apply the settings and log back into your router.

You should also review your Wi-Fi password and username to make sure it’s strong and secure. To do this, look for a Wireless or Wi-Fi section in the router's firmware. You’ll see your current Wi-Fi name and password listed.

Create a more secure password if you feel the current one is too weak. Again, keep the usual password recommendations in mind as you do this. You may also want to change the default Wi-Fi name if it’s still using the brand name of the router. Try to come up with a unique name to distinguish it.

Checking your security settings is another item on the to-do list. Under Security Options, or a similar section, make sure the security for your network is set to at least WPA2-PSK [AES], which will be the strongest level available for most home routers.

Newer routers with the latest Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E technology will offer the more secure WPA3 option. If your router has it, use that option. Apply your new settings and close the browser window when finished.