Ever Wondered What is IP? An In-Depth Expert Guide

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Hey there! Let‘s dive deep and get informed about this IP address and learn best practices for utmost security.

As your friendly neighborhood technology geek, I want to provide you with a comprehensive guide covering everything you need to know about

Every internet-connected device, whether it‘s your smartphone, laptop, or smart TV, needs an identity – better known as an IP address. There are two main types of IP addresses:

  • Public IP Address: This unique address identifies your device on the public internet. It‘s like your home address that the postal service uses to deliver mail.

  • Private IP Address: This is used for communication within a private network, like your home WiFi network. It‘s internal and not exposed to the wider internet.

Private IP addresses are commonly used by your WiFi router to create a private home network and assign addresses to all your connected devices like phones, laptops, etc.

The Significance of

Now you must be wondering, what‘s so special about Well, this specific private IP address has become the default gateway for most WiFi routers today.

It‘s like a front door to your router‘s internal settings and configurations. When you enter into your web browser, you‘re greeted by your router‘s admin login page.

According to Statista, over 40% of WiFi routers worldwide use as the default gateway IP address. However, there are other common defaults as well:

Default Gateway IP % of Routers Using It 42.86% 14.29% 14.29% 9.52% 4.76%

As you can see, holds a commanding lead among the common default configurations. This address lets you access your router‘s administrative settings and customize things like WiFi name, password, security settings, and more.

So in summary, is like the "front door" to your router that opens up all the tweaking capabilities. While you can certainly leave the default settings as they are, some customization can better secure your home network.

Securing Your Home Network

You don‘t want hackers snooping around your home network right? Well, your WiFi router is the first line of defense. Since it‘s the gateway to your private network, any security lapse can expose all your connected devices.

But not to worry! Here are some best practices recommended by cybersecurity experts to turn your WiFi fortress into an impenetrable vault:

Change the Default Admin Password

This is Cybersecurity 101 – change default passwords immediately! Most routers have basic admin credentials like:

  • Username: admin
  • Password: admin or password

Not very secure, is it? A checklist to make your router credentials hacker-proof:

✅ Use a strong password that‘s at least 12 characters long

✅ Include upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols

✅ Don‘t use personal info or dictionary words

✅ Change both admin username and password

For example, instead of admin/password, go for something like Kj6!EcwJ$17q#921.

Here are the steps to change your router login credentials:

  1. Open web browser and go to

  2. Enter default username and password if prompted

  3. Find the section to change admin username/password

  4. Enter new strong credentials and save settings

If you don‘t remember the default password, try common ones like ‘password‘ or ‘admin‘ or look for it printed on your router. Or you can simply do a password reset by pressing the reset button on the back of the router.

Pro Tip: Use a password manager like LastPass to generate and store your complex router password.

Enable WPA2 or WPA3 Encryption

Your WiFi network may be password protected, but the data can still be intercepted if it‘s unencrypted. Encryption scrambles and secures data during transmission.

For home networks, you should use the latest WPA encryption standard supported by your router:

  • WPA2 (AES) – Offered on most modern WiFi routers
  • WPA3 – Latest standard, but may not be available on older routers

Avoid outdated protocols like WEP or WPA (without AES). And NEVER use an open network with no encryption, despite the convenience. It completely exposes your traffic to eavesdropping.

To check your router‘s encryption method:

  1. Login to

  2. Find the Wireless or WiFi Security section

  3. Ensure the latest WPA version is enabled like WPA2-PSK or WPA3

  4. Select AES encryption if you have the option (more secure than TKIP)

  5. Use a unique pre-shared key (WiFi password)

  6. Disable or delete older WEP/WPA profiles if present

  7. Save settings

Enabling robust WPA2 or WPA3 encryption keeps your WiFi traffic private, preventing nearby sneaks from spying on you.

Hide Your Wireless Network Name (SSID)

Ever noticed your WiFi network name (SSID) being broadcast openly? This allows any device in proximity to easily spot your network.

Although SSID broadcasting is enabled by default, you can hide your network for better security:

  1. Login to your router dashboard

  2. Find the option to disable SSID broadcast

  3. Switch it off and save changes

This stops your WiFi name from being publicly visible during network scans. But you‘ll need to manually add the SSID on your devices to connect.

A hidden SSID makes it a tad harder for hackers to target your network since it won‘t be out in the open. But don‘t rely on this alone for security.

Note: When travelling, look for generic WiFi network names without exact addresses or unit numbers mentioned. This offers more privacy.

Enable the Firewall

Your router likely has a basic firewall that provides some protection against attacks and intrusions. This acts as the first line of defense against malicious traffic.

  1. Log in to your router interface

  2. Find the Firewall section in the settings

  3. Ensure the firewall is enabled

  4. Allow only safe protocols like HTTP, HTTPS, SSH, etc.

  5. Block unused risky ports using port filtering

  6. Save firewall settings

Home routers don‘t offer advanced firewall customization. But even basic firewall capabilities can help block unauthorized access attempts targeting your network resources.

Set Up Access Control

Want to restrict which devices can join your network? Router access control to the rescue!

This allows you to limit network availability to only approved devices via:

MAC address filtering – permitting only devices with specified MAC addresses to connect. Every device has a unique MAC address hard-coded into its network interface.

Client list – whitelisting a custom list of hostnames/IP addresses to grant or deny network access

Here‘s how to configure access control:

  1. Log in to your router admin interface

  2. Navigate to the Access Control, Client List, or MAC Filtering section

  3. Enable MAC address filtering or add clients to your access control list

  4. Click Save when finished adding allowed devices

  5. Ensure unauthorized devices are blocked or not on the list

This shields your network from random devices trying to sneak onto your WiFi. But it also means you must update the access list whenever adding new devices.

Disable Remote Admin Access

Many routers allow you to manage settings and configurations remotely over the internet. But this can be risky if a hacker finds and exploits the built-in vulnerabilities.

To avoid getting hacked through remote access:

  1. Log in to your router admin panel

  2. Find the Remote Management section

  3. Disable or uncheck the Remote Admin option

  4. Don‘t forward port 80 or use port triggering

  5. Save the changes

With remote admin disabled, you can only access the dashboard on your local network by connecting a device directly to the router. This minimizes the risk of getting compromised externally.

Beyond Default Settings

Phew, those were some key tips to secure your basic router settings. But we can crank up the protection even more through advanced customizations:

Set Up a Guest Network

Got friends or family visiting who need WiFi access? Instead of giving them your main password, you can set up a separate guest network.

This keeps your primary network private while allowing visitors temporary internet connectivity.

Guest networks provide added controls like:

  • Separate SSID and password

  • Bandwidth restrictions to limit speeds

  • Access schedules to turn on or off as needed

To start, check if your router firmware supports guest networking. If so:

  1. Log in to the router backend

  2. Find Guest Network settings

  3. Enable guest network and create an SSID

  4. Generate a temporary password

  5. Set bandwidth limits and access schedule as desired

  6. Save configurations

Now you can share the guest network credentials with visitors without compromising your main WiFi security. Pretty neat!

Use VPN for Added Security

Want bulletproof protection? Consider installing custom firmware like DD-WRT to set up a Virtual Private Network (VPN) on your router.

This encrypts all traffic leaving your network to the internet. So your online activities become anonymous and secured from prying eyes, including ISPs.

Some popular router firmware choices for VPN setup:

I recommend VPN services like NordVPN or ExpressVPN that offer router-specific apps and guides.

Configuring VPN at the router-level provides always-on protection for all connected devices with minimal hassle. It‘s my personal favorite set-and-forget privacy solution.

Change the Default LAN IP Address

The default gateway IP address on most routers is To make things even more secure, you can change this to something custom like:

This enhances security through obscurity, making it tougher for hackers to guess your router‘s address.

Here are the steps to change the default LAN IP:

  1. Log in to your router interface
  2. Navigate to LAN or Network settings
  3. Enter a new IP like
  4. Adjust DHCP IP range if needed
  5. Save settings

Just make sure to choose an IP that doesn‘t conflict with your ISP-assigned subnet.

You‘ll also need to update any hardcoded IP reservations and forwardings based on the new scheme. But it provides an extra layer of security.

Automatically Update Firmware

Router vulnerabilities are constantly being discovered. Failure to patch these gaps promptly can lead to disastrous outcomes.

That‘s why I highly recommend enabling automatic firmware updates on your router if the option is available:

  1. Log in to the router configuration screen

  2. Find Firmware or Administration settings

  3. Enable Auto Update or Scheduled Update if available

  4. Choose update frequency – monthly, bi-weekly etc

  5. Save configuration

This ensures you stay on top of the latest firmware releases with all critical security patches already applied. No more manually checking for outdated versions.

Beef Up with Third-Party Firmware

If your OEM router firmware is limiting, consider upgrading to open-source options like DD-WRT, OpenWRT, AsusWRT or Tomato for superior performance and security.

These add-on firmware replace the stock OS with tons of extra features including:

  • Granular firewall customization
  • Advanced VPN capabilities
  • Performance monitoring/tuning
  • SD-WAN support
  • Package manager for installing tools like PiHole ad-blocking
  • Multi-SSID and VLAN for network segmentation
  • Industry-leading wireless range and speeds
  • Bug fixes and timely security updates

Just double check your router model supports third-party firmware before flashing. The installation process requires resetting your router to factory settings.

But the hours invested is worth the massive upgrade over stock firmware. Your home network turns into a versatile workhorse!

Final Thoughts

Phew, that was a detailed tour of how to turn your WiFi router into Fort Knox with tweaks!

Here are some key takeaways as a quick recap:

  • is the most common default IP for accessing your router admin console. But don‘t leave it unchanged!

  • Start with the basics – change default admin credentials and enable modern WPA2 or WPA3 wireless encryption.

  • Hide your SSID, enable the firewall, and disable remote admin access for better security.

  • Filter device access, use VPN, and change default LAN IP address for advanced protection.

  • Upgrade stock firmware, enable auto-updates, and set up guest network for optimal performance.

While an out-of-the-box router provides convenience, a customized one brings peace of mind. I hope these tips help you safeguard your home network without losing simplicity.

Stay safe and secure!


Written by Alexis Kestler

A female web designer and programmer - Now is a 36-year IT professional with over 15 years of experience living in NorCal. I enjoy keeping my feet wet in the world of technology through reading, working, and researching topics that pique my interest.