IS your Wi-Fi connection suspiciously slow, even when you're home alone?
It's understandable to have a lagging browser when there's family and friends also using the internet.
But if this is a persistent problem, you might not be surfing the web alone.
Here's three key signs that there is a freeloader on your Wi-Fi network – and what you can do about it.
What are the signs?
The biggest tell tale sign is if your Wi-Fi is slow without reason.
If you're home alone, you're not downloading a new game or trying to stream a movie – there's little reason for your internet connection to falter.
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If you're suspicious, check your Wi-Fi router's status lights.
However, this only works if all wireless devices are offline completely, and detaching all devices from the network could be tricky if you have a lot.
When no devices are connected to the Wi-Fi, the lights should not be flickering or flashing.
If they are, it's likely someone else is connected to your network.
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Modern routers are often accompanied by a mobile app, which can be used to scan your network for devices.
But if you have an older router, there are other apps to help detect freeloaders.
One reliable app is Wi-Fi Guard, which is available for both Android and iOS devices like iPhones and iPads.
The app gives users a list of all connected devices, so they can spot the ones they don't recognise.
The trickiest way of checking if you're not inadvertently paying for someone else's WiFi use, is to login in to the Wi-Fi admin control panel.
You can do this by searching your IP address in a web browser.
Your IP address will look something like this: http://192.168.0.1/
Then you'll need to type in the admin username, which can often be 'admin', and the admin password.
From there you can look for a network map, user log, or client list.
How do I boot them off?
If you see an unauthorised device in the router's app or admin control panel, there is usually an option to block, ban, or disconnect the device.
Should you spot them using Wi-Fi Guard, you won't be able to boot them off via the app.
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However, you can instead change the router's password.
Although, this means that every one of your devices will need to login in again with the new password.
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