Try This Instead of Revealing Your Wi-Fi Password to Friends

by Barrett

If you feel like you’re divulging something secret when a guest asks for your home Wi-Fi password, well… you are. You may think you only have two choices in how to respond, but, in fact, there is a third option…

How many times has a guest in your home asked you for the password to your Wi-Fi network? And how many times have you coughed it up? If you’re like me, that’s usually a one-to-one relationship, right?

And when I haven’t, let me tell you, the response always creates an awkward moment.

I call it the ‘Wi-Fi Faux Pas.’

It’s simply a little rude to refuse someone access to your internet connection for their smartphone. What are they really going to do with it that’s so nefarious?

The answer is… probably nothing, but you don’t really know what could come from the password travelling forever on that mobile device. And over time, and depending how many friends and acquaintances come to visit, your private Wi-Fi password will get entered into more and more smartphones that you don’t control.

How does that feel?

One choice in trying to stem that flow is to simply say that you forgot your Wi-Fi password. I must admit I’ve done that. The irony, of course, is that I actually do sometimes forget the password… especially when I need to log into my own network.
(Don’t worry. I’ve got it written down on a fraying piece of paper.)

The Solution to Keep Your Party Happy
So, why have I really become the ‘Wi-Fi Grinch…?’

Inviting in an ever-growing number of mobile devices to feed off of your Wi-Fi bubble must carry its risks. I don’t really know the cumulative negative effect on my Wi-Fi network security. And yes, I worry about it. There’s a lot of scary news out there about internet security.

And changing my Wi-Fi password every so often as a precaution is time consuming with so much tech in my ‘connected home.’
(In fact, it’s a major project, even to remember all of my hungry IoT devices that will need reconnecting!)

There’s got to be another way to address this issue.
Well, there is!

…Create a guest Wi-Fi network.

Guest Wi-Fi for Your Visitors!
I was so excited when I upgraded my old Apple Airport Extreme to the Netgear Orbi RBK50 mesh Wi-Fi router ($298.97 on Amazon) and then realized I had the option to create a guest Wi-Fi network. My guest Wi-Fi would live right alongside my main web bubble.

That sounds useful, right?

Being able to create another access point with a different login password that I could easily change (once and done) was the perfect solution to my ‘Wi-Fi Grinchness.’

So, I quickly set up my guest network on the Orbi app on my iPhone, and I was in business and ready to handle “the question.”

I’ve got to admit it does feel a bit like I’m running my own B&B, but I certainly feel much more comfortable now sharing my guest network password along with crudités.

Etiquette problem solved.

No More ‘Wi-Fi Faux Pas’
At the end of the day, I’m not so sure my home Wi-Fi network is technically any more or less secure with the addition of my guest Wi-Fi.

My online research turned up several heated Orbi conversations about the guest network option led by clearly knowledgeable IT types. They all expressed different concerns… all of which included geeky details I couldn’t follow.
(The essence of the threads question how ‘separate’ the guest network is from the main network.)

For me, the giant leap forward is to simply hand out a separate password to my guests. I know that’s just scratching the surface when it comes to truly maintaining a secure network, but it’s an important start.

And for now, I’m also avoiding the ‘Wi-Fi Faux Pas’ with my family and friends.

My visitors are happy.
I’m less nervous.

Let the party continue…