Did you get a shiny new Wi-Fi router to help with all your stay-at-home internet activities? Youâ€™re likely not alone, thanks to the rise in video conferencing, streaming, and other internet-related activities across the home. But the worst part is updating all your devices with the new Wi-Fi name and password. That is unless you do the smart thing and reuse your SSID and Password.
Every new router, Wi-Fi or otherwise, comes with a preset SSIDÂ (Service Set Identifier) and password. Itâ€™s tempting to just roll with that because you donâ€™t have to fiddle around in admin settings to update anything. But youâ€™re putting a lot more work on yourself. If you swap out routers and keep the new SSID and password combo, that means you have to update every single Wi-Fi device in your home.
Thatâ€™s all your cell phones, tablets, laptops, smart speakers, smart TVs, and more. Modern homes have moved from half a dozen connected Wi-Fi devices to dozens of Wi-Fi devices. But you donâ€™t have to go through that. Make your life easier by changing the SSID and password on the new router to match your old routerâ€™s SSID and password.
When your Wi-Fi devices try to connect to your network, the first thing they do is look for a network that matches the SSID you previously told them to use. It wonâ€™t know that the router hardware changed, just that the address is right. Then it will provide the password, which matches, and automatically connect. You wonâ€™t have to do anything to reconnect all your devices; theyâ€™ll connect automatically.
Itâ€™s a bit like if your extended family comes to visit your home. You could have knocked down the old place, built a new one, and reused the locks. As long as your address and locks are the same, theyâ€™ll be able to find the place and come in with the keys you provided.
Of course, life isnâ€™t always simple, so there are two exceptions to this advice we have to mention. First, this may not work if youâ€™re upgrading from an ancient router that uses an outdated security protocol like WEP. Even if you use the same password, it wonâ€™t look the same to the machines involved.
Essentially, the encryption scrambles your password differently, so there wonâ€™t be a match. It doesnâ€™t matter that the plain text is the same; the final result isnâ€™t. Just like you canâ€™t decode an encrypted message sent out with an old cipher, and all you have is the new cipher.
But youâ€™re better off having made the switch anyway; outdated protocols are easy to hack and put your home at risk. And for the foreseeable future, youâ€™ll be able to use this advice as you upgrade.
The other exception is if youâ€™re using a very weak network password or worse, no password. If your current Wi-Fi password is â€œPasswordâ€� or you donâ€™t have one at all, stop that. Youâ€™re asking for someone to use your network for whatever they want. If your Wi-Fi already feels slow, that might be the very problem youâ€™re facing.
But for everyone else, save a lot of time and effort and rename your SSID and password. If youâ€™re using a new MESH router, you can probably download an app to make that happen. Itâ€™s a lot easier than the admin settings of the older routers. Even some new non-mesh routers use apps, so check for that first. Youâ€™ll thank yourself later.
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