Most homes and offices today are connected to a Wi-Fi network. We connect our phones, computers, and other smart devices to the internet to work, play, and do other things. Depending on the plan you have, it might take more than a few devices before you start experiencing a significant reduction in your Wi-Fi connection speed. But, even the best routers can become sluggish when too many devices use the internet simultaneously.

Nevertheless, slow internet can be frustrating; plus, many internet users might also lead to going over your limit on metered plans. So, you want to know how to increase or bring your Wi-Fi speed back to normal as well as keep your usage low. One way to do this is to kick off unauthorized access from your wireless network.

Most of the time, someone gains access to your Wi-Fi network because you shared your password with them. These people could be your family, friends, or house guests. Other times, someone who is technologically savvy may hack into your internet connection. This unauthorized access not only slows down your network speed but also makes you vulnerable to major security risks. You definitely should remove their access to the internet in this case. Here are the steps or actions you can take to boot off intruders from your wireless network.

How to Know If Someone Is Connecting to Your Wi-Fi

While it’s easy to point fingers, the best thing to do is confirm your suspicions. There are three ways you can do this.

  • Turn off all devices connected to the internet.

The easiest way to find any unwanted internet users is to turn off every device that has access to your wireless network. Then look at your router to check if the online activity light is still blinking. However, take note that this light indicator might be blinking when your router is communicating with your ISP for regular maintenance or firmware updates, or it could just be pinging a known device on your network. Also this only works if you have a router with this light indicator. 

  • Log in to your router’s settings.

For a surer way to know if someone is using your Wif-Fi is by going to your router’s settings page (could be called a client list or access page). You can find this setting by accessing the settings page; it’s usually or Once in the settings page, go to the list of devices currently using your wireless network (Attached Devices, Network Map, or other). Compare the number of devices on the list versus the number of known devices in use. An extra device means your network has a guest. 

  • Verify MAC addresses of devices accessing your wireless network.

A more meticulous way is to compare MAC (media access control) addresses, which is a 12-digit hexadecimal number assigned to each device connected to a network. You can find a device’s MAC address in the settings menu. List this down and compare it with the MAC addresses listed on your router’s settings page.

How to Kick Off Unwanted Access to Your Wireless Network

First, let’s rule out the possibility that your internet provider might be having repair works, slowdowns, or other problems that are affecting your Wi-Fi speed. Call them to be sure. Second, check that you don’t have any upcoming bills. You might notice your internet becoming sluggish toward a due date. Once you’re sure it’s not an issue related to your internet provider and that you’re up to date with your payments, you can try these steps. 

  • Change your password.

Make sure it’s a strong one. You can do this by logging in to your router dashboard. Once you’ve changed your password, all devices will be disconnected and you’ll need to sign in again using the new password. In this way, unauthorized users will be booted off your wireless network. Experts say you should change your router’s password about every two months or more often if you are in the city or other urban areas. 

  • Change the network name and add encryption. 

As an added precaution, you can also change your Wi-Fi network’s name while you’re logged in to your router. Your network name is typically abbreviated as SSID. In addition, make sure to use encrypted network traffic, i.e., WPA or WPA2 encryption. Suppressing your SSID, i.e., non-broadcast SSID, allows your wireless network to appear offline to unauthorized users and is another good deterrent to kick off freeloading users.

  • Implement MAC address filtering.

Another step you can take is to filter MAC addresses on your router. This means only the MAC addresses you specify will be allowed to connect to your Wi-Fi network (whitelisting). You’re essentially blocking unwanted devices from being able to access your internet connection. You can also block specific MAC addresses that don’t belong to one of your devices to restrict their access to the internet (blacklisting). Just note that this isn’t a foolproof method, but it will take a tech-savvy person to spoof a different MAC address and bypass your MAC filtering settings. This tactic works best when combined with changing your password.

  • Factory reset your router.

Sometimes even if you set a new password or implement MAC address filtering, hackers can still create a backdoor in your router to access your wireless connection. When this happens, the best thing to do is reset your router to its default settings. Resetting your router erases whatever changes to the software hackers have made, but it also reverts your router’s settings to its factory default. So, make sure to record your preferences before hitting reset.

After the reset, log back in to your router using the default credentials, re-enter your preferences and change your password. It should be a strong password and something you haven’t used before.  

  • Use a guest network.

This is a preventative step that you can use on your kids or guests. A guest network is a separate access point in your router. This means all your devices are on the main network but your kids and others are in a guest network that you can enable or disable whenever you want. It’s a bit of a hassle since this has to be done manually. Setting up a guest network can be found in your router.

Granite Networks Managed Business IT