How to Set Up a Guest Network on Router?

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Old 03-22-17, 01:54 PM
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How to Set Up a Guest Network on Router?

Hi. i am going to be having a roommate. I want to give him access to the internet using my router. My Router is a Linksys EA6350 AC1200+. You can see it here- Linksys EA6350 AC1200+ Dual-Band Smart Wi-Fi Wireless Router

The Linksys EA6350 has a feature where you can set up a guest network. However, I have read that the guest network feature on this router is a security problem because it is not secured, but rather it is an open unencrypted network. So my question is, is there a way to create a separate network without using the guest network feature. Or is there some other way to provide my roommate with internet access but not provide access to my whole network? And can i do it without buying a different router or other supplies?

Thanks.
 
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Old 03-22-17, 02:27 PM
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I have the 6900, which is similar to yours and the guest network IS secure.
 
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Old 03-22-17, 02:53 PM
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hi shadeladie. here is what i read about the linksys routers and guest networks-

Why Guest Mode?
In theory, Guest Mode is a fine idea. Rather than having guests connect to your normal Wi-FI networks, a router with Guest Mode will host multiple Wi-Fi networks. Guests who visit your home can connect to the guest network, which can have a separate passphrase from your normal Wi-Fi network.

This allows you to keep your normal Wi-Fi network private. It also keeps guests from accessing your network file shares and other sensitive data. Even if they’re feeling snoopy or have malware installed, all those guest devices will be isolated from your normal Wi-Fi network.

Rather than gaining access to your entire network, devices connected to the Guest Network just get access to the Internet. Guest Mode settings may also allow you to limit the number of devices that can connect to the guest network. So far, this is fine.

How Some Routers Botch Guest Mode
The problems are immediately obvious when you enable guest mode, or when you connect to a network configured for Guest Mode. You’ll see that the separate guest network is likely an open Wi-Fi network. In other words, it’s not protected by the normal Wi-Fi encryption that secures your main network.

This means that any network traffic travelling over the guest network is sent “in the clear,” and is vulnerable to snooping. It’s just like connecting to a typical hotel’s Wi-Fi network. The connection is unencrypted, and anyone nearby can snoop. Modern operating systems will even warn you about this when you connect.

But there is a password that guards access to the Internet. After a device connects to the Guest Mode network, it sees a login page. The user has to provide a passphrase or the device doesn’t get Internet access.

This provides more protection than hosting a typical open Wi-Fi network, but not by much. The Wi-Fi login page is generally unencrypted — you can tell because there’s no HTTPS or lock icon on the address bar. If you connect to the guest network and provide the password, it’s also sent unencrypted to your router. Anyone snooping on Wi-Fi traffic nearby can clearly see the Guest Mode password every time it’s typed in, and they could use it to access your guest mode network without your permission.

The default Guest Mode password on Linksys routers seem to be “BeMyGuest”, which is also insecure — many people will use Guest Mode without changing this.
 
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Old 03-22-17, 02:57 PM
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options for multiple wireless networks

I assume you mean you want to have 2 wireless networks. What you want to achieve with that is the key problem. Are you trying to keep him off of your part of the network so that he can't see or access anything on your side? Are you hoping to keep your bandwidth separate so his movies won't slow down your download or games? Here are some items to note:

- Your router does appear to provide wireless security for its guest network

- Your router also offers something it calls "device priority" which allows you to set certain devices on the network at a higher priority for using the bandwidth. This means you can put your devices at a higher priority and prevent your roommate from hogging all the bandwidth.

So you have a couple of options without buying anything else:

A. give him your wireless password
pro: No headache with configuring anything. He gets what you get but you can configure the "device Priority" to prevent him from being a hog.
con: Roommate may have access to any files you are sharing on your computer/device as well as your printer. Giving him access to your wireless password may allow him to share that password with his guests and friends as well.

B. setup the guest network
pro: it is a separate network so those on the guest network cannot access anything on the main network. You basically have two networks but since you have the router password and he doesn't, you can give yourself a high device priority so you always get more access to the bandwidth than the roommate.
con: There is a second network to manage (more passwords to keep track of)

Neither option is a majorly better or worse but you have to decide what is important to you.

- Peter
 
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Old 03-22-17, 09:15 PM
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hi pjaffe. thank you for your insight. i was not aware of the device priority feature. but the screen that appears when someone attempts to log onto the guest network identifies the connection as unsecured. then the password is submitted unsecured. doesnt that mean that someone could readily obtain the guest network password?
 
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Old 03-23-17, 07:23 AM
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You are probably correct about the guest being unsecured but let's take a reality check on that. A word of caution - others may not agree with my approach.

This network is in your house/apartment. Is there any reason to suspect that someone wants to know what is going on inside your house on your network? Are you really afraid that some nefarious soul picked your house from all of the houses on all of the streets in your neighborhood to listen in on your wireless network just to get your roommate's passwords? Remember, your regular and guest networks are equally protected from the outside internet world by your router so your only exposure is on your side of the internet. I am not saying that open wireless networks are safe but I see a big difference between the one at your hotel or starbucks which are known and very public spaces and the one in your private house. I guess that if you lived in a mixed retail/residential space it might be different. You could even turn off the SSID broadcast so your router is not announcing itself. That way someone would actually have to listen in on wireless network traffic instead of trolling for unsecured networks.

Again, you have to consider what you are really offering your roommate and what you are willing to pay for that. Without any expenditure, you can share your own secure network or offer your roommate his own open network and assume that no one picked your house to spy on. Everything has some level of risk. Some are higher risks and some are lower. Sometimes it costs more to avoid those risks and sometimes you trade that cost against the probability of the risk occurring. You decide how you want it to work.

- Peter
 
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Old 03-23-17, 08:21 AM
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hey pjaffe. i understand what you are saying, that i need to do a risk/reward analysis on the two main alternatives that i have. i may turn off the ssid broadcast, and set up the separate guest network for my roommate. thank you for explaining things to me. i guess with all of the current hacking issues involving the US government, i have become ultra-sensitive to online security issues.

is there a way for me to check what my roommate would have access to if i just gave him the user name and password for my current network? i mean i have some personal data on the hard drive of my laptop, and sometimes i connect an external drive with personal information to my laptop. But just because he is using my network, he still couldn't access the user name/password for my online bank account, right? Is there an easy way in windows 10 to see what a user on my network would have access to?
 
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Old 03-23-17, 08:42 AM
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Stupid question. Why don't they get their own ISP and router?
 
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Old 03-23-17, 09:15 AM
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Something doesn't make sense. If you are going to trust him as a room mate, why wouldn't you trust him on your network? You still have your PC password protected. In other words, no automatic login.
 
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