How to Hide Your Modem and Router

Keep your network connections hidden

What to Know

  • To hide your Wi-Fi connection, access your modem or router settings and hide the SSID.
  • Some routers don’t let you hide the connection.
  • If you can’t hide the connection, enable strong encryption and keep an eye on connected devices to stay secure.

This article explains how to hide your modem and router Wi-Fi signals, so that nobody can see it.

Why Can Strangers See My Modem and Router Wi-Fi Network?

Every Wi-Fi network has something called a service set identifier (SSID), which other devices can use to find your Wi-Fi network. In plain terms, the SSID is often referred to as the Wi-Fi network name.

During normal operation, your router or Wi-Fi modem broadcasts something called a beacon frame which contains important information about your Wi-Fi network. The information included in the beacon frame includes the SSID by default, which is why strangers can see your network, and why you can see your neighbors’ networks if they are close enough.

If you check your phone’s Wi-Fi connections while walking around a densely populated area, you’re likely to see a lot of networks pop up as your phone reads their beacon frames and sees their SSIDs.

How Can I Hide My Wi-Fi Router?

If you want to hide your Wi-Fi network so that nobody can see it, then you need to prevent it from broadcasting its SSID. When you do that, only people who know the SSID will be able to connect.

Hiding an SSID is done through your router management portal or app, and every router manufacturer uses a slightly different system. The basic process is to log into your router or Wi-Fi modem management portal or app, locate network settings, and choose the option to hide the network or stop broadcasting the SSID.

Here’s what the process looks like with a TP-Link router:

Your portal won't necessarily look exactly like the following example. Look for wireless settings and the hide SSID option. If you can't find it, contact your router manufacturer for assistance. It may or may not be available for your router.

  1. Navigate to 192.168.0.1 using the web browser of your choice, or open your router’s management app on your phone.

  2. Enter your admin password and click Log In.

    Log In highlighted in a router management portal.
  3. Click Wireless.

    Wireless highlighted in the left-hand menu of a router portal.

    Your admin portal may have a networking, wireless networking, or similar page or tab. You’re looking for the Wi-Fi network management tools.

  4. Click the Hide SSID check boxes.

    Hide SSID highlighted in router wireless settings.

    Your portal may show a different number of networks. It may also have a Hide Network or Hide Wi-Fi Network option instead of Hide SSID.

  5. Click Save.

    Save highlighted in router wireless settings.
  6. Your wireless network is now hidden.

Should You Hide Your Internet?

While hiding your SSID may make you feel secure, it isn’t actually as secure as it seems. While it prevents the casual user from seeing and connecting to your network, it won’t prevent someone from intercepting your wireless data if they have the required knowledge and a reason to do so.

The problem is even if nobody can see your SSID, your router still sends wireless data to your computer or phone, and your devices still send wireless data back to the router. If that data isn’t encrypted, someone could theoretically intercept and read it.

Aside from not actually protecting you from having your data intercepted, hiding your Wi-Fi internet connection is also inconvenient for you and anyone else who uses your network. You need to remember the exact name of your network and, instead of just selecting it from a list, enter it in manually whenever you want to connect a device.

How to Secure Your Wireless Network

If your goal is to secure your wireless network, then there are a lot of steps you can take to prevent people from connecting to your network or accessing your data. Even if you do hide your network, it’s a good idea to take these additional measures to secure your network.

Here are some good ways to secure your Wi-Fi network:

  • Use WPA2 encryption: This is a secure encryption method that can prevent people from accessing your network or data. If your router supports this method of encryption, use it.
  • Use a secure password: Don’t use a password that’s easy to guess. For example, don’t use your name or address.
  • Don’t use the default SSID: If you use the default SSID, a malicious party will be able to tell what kind of router you have, which will help them in their efforts to break in.
  • Change your router admin password: Never leave your router with the default password. If you do, anyone will be able to log in by looking up the default password on the internet. They can then make any changes to your router and network that they want. If your router supports changing the admin login name, change that as well.
  • Enable the firewall if one is available: If your router includes a built-in firewall, make sure to set it up and activate it for additional protection.

If you have a standalone modem you don't have worry about hiding its signal since it doesn't broadcast anything over the airwaves. If you have the option of changing the password of the modem, you should.

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