Got a shiny new Wi-Fi router to help you with all your internet activities at home? You̵
Every new router, Wi-Fi or otherwise, comes with a preset SSID (Service Set Identifier) and password. It’s tempting to just go through with that, as you don’t have to fumble around in admin settings to update anything. But you do a lot more about yourself. Switching routers and keeping the new SSID and password combination means updating every Wi-Fi device in your house.
That’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 don’t have to go through that. Make your life easier by changing the SSID and password on the new router to match the SSID and password of your old router.
When your Wi-Fi devices try to connect to your network, they will first look for a network that matches the SSID you told them to use earlier. It won’t know that the router hardware has changed, just that the address is correct. Then it will provide the password to match and connect automatically. You don’t need to do anything to reconnect all your devices; they connect automatically.
It’s a bit like your extended family coming to visit your home. You could have pulled down the old place, built a new one, and reused the locks. As long as your address and locks are the same they can find the place and come in with the keys you provided.
Life isn’t always easy, of course, so there are two exceptions to this advice that we should mention. First, this may not work if you are upgrading from an old router that uses an outdated security protocol such as WEP. Even if you use the same password, it will not look the same for the affected machines.
Essentially, the encryption encrypts your password differently so there is no match. It doesn’t matter that the plain text is the same; the final result is not. Just like you cannot decrypt an encrypted message sent with an old digit, and you only have the new digit.
But you better have made the switch anyway; outdated protocols are easy to hack and put your home at risk. And in the near future you can use this advice during your upgrade.
The other exception is if you are using a very weak network password or worse, no password. If your current WiFi password is ‘Password’ or you don’t have one at all, stop it. You ask someone to use your network for whatever they want. If your Wi-Fi already feels slow then that might be the problem you are facing.
But for everyone else, save a lot of time and effort and rename your SSID and password. If you’re using a new MESH router, you can probably download an app to make that happen. It’s a lot easier than the admin settings of the older routers. Even some new non-mesh routers use apps, so check that first. You will thank yourself later.