How to Set Up a Guest Wi-Fi Network


Published on June 07, 2021

A guest Wi-Fi network lets you share your internet connection without making your home network vulnerable. Small business owners can use one to offer complimentary Wi-Fi to customers. Airbnb hosts can use one to prevent guests from using too much data or bandwidth, and you can even set up a guest network to keep your roommate’s sketchy friends off your primary network. Let’s walk through the steps to setting up your own guest network.

  1. Check your app
  2. Log in to your router
  3. Navigate to guest settings
  4. Enable guest network
  5. Set guest network name and password
  6. Configure other settings

Why set up a guest Wi-Fi network?

The most compelling reason for setting up a guest Wi-Fi network is security. Your main network handles all your data, including any shared network storage, passwords, and personal information. It’s best practice to keep too many people from having access to that. Guest networks also keep your main network safe if a visitor accidentally connects a malware-infected device.

Another reason to set up a guest network is to have more control over your guest’s internet use in your home. Many guest network settings allow you to limit the number of devices connected to the network or how much bandwidth the network can use.

Both these reasons make guest Wi-Fi networks great for small businesses, homes with visitors, and homes with renters. It keeps your networks safe, and it prevents others from running over your data cap and costing you a fortune in overage fees.

Check your mobile app

If you have a router management app, try setting up your guest network there first. It’ll likely be easier than going through your router’s web interface. For example, the TP-Link Tether app has a guest networking tab on your router’s home page, and you can enable and configure a guest network right from there.

Log in to your router

Here are the basic steps of logging in to your router, but if you need more detailed instructions, head on over to our step-by-step guide of how to log in to your router.

  1. Make sure you’re connected to your router via Wi-Fi or Ethernet.
  2. Find your router’s default IP address.
  3. Type the default IP into the address bar of any web browser, like Safari or Chrome.
  4. Log in using either default admin credentials or your own log in credentials (if you’ve previously set them up).

Navigate to guest network settings

Your guest network settings might be called different things in different user interfaces, but the option should be apparent when you look around.

Pro tip
Location

Not all routers are set up for guest Wi-Fi. If you can’t find an option to enable guest networking in your app or user interface, you probably can’t create one. If that’s the case, it might be time to upgrade to a better router.

Enable guest network

Most routers have guest networking turned off by default, so you’ll have to enable it.

You may be able to choose which wireless frequency to use for your guest network if you’re using a dual-band router. The 2.4 GHz band is slower but has better range, and the 5 GHz band is faster. Either will work for most situations, but you can turn on both as well.

Set guest network name and password

Now you just need to choose your guest network name and password. Make sure to protect your guest Wi-Fi with a password to protect your visitor’s data. Use WPA2 or WPA3 encryption when available.

We recommend naming your guest Wi-Fi network something easily identifiable—something like “Smith_Guest” if your last name is Smith, for example. And make sure you choose a password for your guest network that is different from the password for your main network. Otherwise it defeats the purpose of having the guest network.

Configure other settings

Some routers let you limit the amount of bandwidth or number of users on your guest Wi-Fi so visitors don’t wreak havoc on your internet speeds or data cap. Consider enabling these if you want to limit your guests’ access to your internet connection.

Rebecca Lee Armstrong
Written by
Rebecca Lee Armstrong
Rebecca is a natural techie and the friend you turn to when your Wi-Fi randomly stops working. Since graduating from the University of Evansville with a degree in creative writing, Rebecca has leveraged her tech savvy to write hundreds of data-driven tech product and service reviews. In addition to HighSpeedInternet.com, her work has been featured on Top Ten Reviews, MacSources, Windows Central, Android Central, Best Company, TechnoFAQ and iMore.