When you're trying to connect your phone or another device to the internet, you’ll want to make use of your Wi-Fi connection rather than use up mobile data on your phone.
But, how can you tell which is your Wi-Fi network and what password do you need to be able to log on? These are the simple steps needed to discern your Wi-Fi network from any of your neighbours.
How can I find my Wi-Fi network?
There are a couple of ways to work out which network is your home one. The first, and the most reliable, is to go to your router and look for the card that identifies your network name and password. This may just be a sticker on the router itself that has this information printed on it, just in case the removable card gets lost (BT routers and powerline adapters have these, for example). Sometimes the Network will be called an SSID instead, but it means the same thing.
In our example we show a picture of the back of a BT Smart Hub, one of the most popular routers used in the UK, but you’ll find the same network information on the back of any router, no matter which internet service provider you use.
As you can see, the Wireless Network is listed at the top with the name underneath (the one that starts BTHub6). Under this you’ll see the password or network key. When entering that code, note that it’s all case-sensitive, so be sure to use upper- and lower-case letters to match those on the sticker. We’ve blurred some of the letters on our example as a security precaution, but yours should all be legible.
Now, open the Settings app on whichever device you want to connect to the internet and look for a section called something like Connections, Network or Wi-Fi. In here you’ll see a list of the available Wi-Fi networks. Simply tap on the one that matches the name on the back of the router, then enter the password when prompted. Within seconds you should be connected to your home Wi-Fi network and going forward your device should automatically connect whenever it is in range.
Which is my Wi-Fi network?
If you’re not able to access the router easily, you can still use another technique to work out which one is your network. Essentially, the strongest signal in your house is always usually the one coming from your router. So, even if the person who deals with all the technology in your home has put the router out of reach, you’ll be able to track it down by walking around your house with your device showing the available networks.
On an Android phone this is achieved by swiping down from the top of the screen to open the Notifications pane. You’ll see a Wi-Fi icon which you’ll need to tap and hold. This will then open the Wi-Fi section. iPhone and iPad users can go to Settings > Wi-Fi.
Now, look for the signal that is the strongest. If you find it at an adjoining wall to your neighbour then it’s possible that you’re picking up theirs from the other side of the wall, so maybe keep going until you’ve explored the various rooms and can judge which network remains the most potent for the majority of locations.
Of course, you’ll need to know the password if you want to connect, so you may still need to access the router to find out. Or speak to whoever looks after the IT in your household to provide you with the help otherwise the only option (for smartphone users) is to turn off the Wi-Fi setting and rely on your mobile data plan until they can provide the necessary details.
If the password on the router doesn't work, it might've been changed. If so you may be able to find out what it has been changed to by accessing your router's settings via a web browser, or by completely resetting your router - you'll have to Google how to do that for your specific model.
For more ways to improve your home network, read How to extend your Wi-Fi and make it faster and How to change your router channel for the best Wi-Fi.