How to Tell If Someone Is Stealing Your WiFi

Mohammed Emran /
shutterstock 1406063195

It’s always frustrating when your WiFi acts slow. But, have you ever stopped to wonder why it’s acting slow in the first place? 

If you live in a remote part of the country and you have satellite Internet, it’s possible that the connection might get a little spotty when there’s a storm or when it’s very windy outside. Satellite Internet, after all, depends on a satellite’s clear connection to space. 

However, if you live in a city with reliable Internet connection and your home WiFi is still acting slower than normal, then it’s worth considering that someone might be stealing your WiFi. 

Wireless networks can be fragile when they’re not protected correctly. Using a strong password, for example, can really help defend your home WiFi against stealing. 

You work hard for your money and you deserve a fast and reliable Internet connection to use when you’re home. It’s important to know what you can do to help secure your WiFi and how to have a better password-protected system to ward off WiFi thieves. 

What Is WiFi?

Before figuring out if someone is stealing your home WiFi, it is important to understand what exactly WiFi is. 

When you go to a public place, like a cafe or book store, one of the first things you’ll find yourself asking is whether they have WiFi that you can connect to while there. The term “WiFi” is thrown around in conversation often, but you probably haven’t given much thought to how it works. 

“WiFi” is short for “wireless fidelity.” In simple terms, WiFi is a way of connecting to the Internet by utilizing radio waves instead of having to connect through a cable, such as with a traditional connection. 

Why Do You Need WiFi?

WiFi is a convenient way to stay connected. These days, everyone is on their phone utilizing mobile apps, social media, and other platforms that allow their day to run smoothly. WiFi makes it possible for all of the connected devices to be able to use the Internet from anywhere within the range of your home network. 

Technically, you can still connect to the Internet without having to use WiFi. However, this would mean that you’d have to be tethered to the computer that is connected to the router or modem you use at home. 

If you are worried about the list of connected devices making your home WiFi slow, you don’t have to be. Most wireless routers are capable of allowing simultaneous connections of up to 45 devices. As long as each device is not downloading or uploading large amounts of data, all the devices being used within your home network should work effortlessly at the same time.

WiFi Tips to Remember:

  1. Your home WiFi gives you a limited range to use for it to work well. This is why, as soon as you get in the car and drive away from home, your home WiFi connection will no longer work.
  2. Just because you have Internet access at home does not mean you also have WiFi capability. Always contact your provider to make sure you have the equipment you need to set up home WiFI.
  3. It is extremely important to set up complicated passwords for your home networks. A password-protected home is a safe home. Strong passwords can help keep sensitive information safe and also prevent others from stealing your WiFi if they are within the range of your personal WiFi network.

Is Someone Stealing Your WiFi?

If you suspect someone is stealing your WiFi, it’s probably because you’ve started to notice your Internet connection acting a little funny. When someone is stealing your WiFi, they’re essentially eating up your bandwidth, which is the maximum rate of data that can be transferred across a given path. 

Common Signs That Someone Is Stealing Your WiFi

  • Slower file transfers
  • Pixelations
  • Streaming that pauses often
  • Emails not being downloaded 

However, if you really want to be sure whether someone might be piggybacking off your connection, one way of figuring it out is by checking the settings of your wireless router. 

Every device in your household has a unique IP address and MAC address that is assigned when they are connected to the WiFi. By checking the settings of your wireless router, you can see which devices are connected. 

So, if you see a device connected that you don’t recognize or that clearly belongs to a person you don’t know, then someone is likely using your WiFi without your consent. 

How to Better Secure Your Home WiFi

The best way to secure your home networks is to set up strong passwords so that it’s more difficult for anyone outside of your household to connect to your WiFi. 

Nowadays, your device can help you come up with a strong password that is complicated enough to be secure. Just make sure you keep the password in a safe place or use a password manager because a good password will be too complicated for you to remember on your own. 

Remember: WiFi security is importantnot only so that no one steals your WiFi but also so that you can protect personal information. A lot of times, when someone is piggybacking off your connection, they have access to more than just your Internet. A strong WiFi password can protect more than just your connection; it can protect your family from the dark web.