When users find unauthorized devices on their Wi-Fi, the first thought is how to kick them off. This is certainly an important first step, but you shouldn’t stop there.
It’s also important to think about how that device got access to the Wi-Fi in the first place and what further steps you can take to secure your Wi-Fi and ensure this doesn’t happen again.
As such, we’ve detailed various ways to kick people off your Wi-Fi, as well as what you should do afterward in this article.
Ways to Kick People Off Your Wi-Fi
Perhaps your Wi-Fi has gotten very slow because too many devices are connected at once, or perhaps some of the users aren’t supposed to have internet access. Regardless of why exactly you want to do it, kicking people off the Wi-Fi is very simple – provided you have router access.
We recommend looking at the back of your router for the IP address and default login details. If you changed these in the past and don’t remember them anymore, you can restore them back to default by resetting the router.
Change SSID / Passcode
Changing the Wi-Fi’s SSID or password causes all the devices to disconnect from the network. If the user you’re trying to kick off doesn’t know the password, changing the SSID should be enough, as they won’t be able to reconnect anyway. However, you’ll be better off setting a new password in other cases. Here’s how you can make these changes:
- Launch a web browser and enter the IP address into the URL bar.
- Enter the router username and password to log in. As mentioned earlier, you can check the back of the router if you don’t remember these. If logging in for the first time, some routers may directly prompt you to set a new password.
- Go to the Wi-Fi, Wireless Settings, or similar section on the Router settings page.
- Change the Wi-Fi SSID or password as appropriate for your scenario here. Make sure to use a strong password that’s not easy to guess.
- Once you’ve saved the changes here, all wireless devices should be kicked off from the Wi-Fi and will need to re-authenticate.
Reset the Router
If you can’t currently access the router dashboard, you won’t be able to manually change the SSID or password. The reset button on the router will be handy in such cases. As stated earlier, resetting your router restores it to a factory state. This means all personalized settings, such as your Wi-Fi configurations, are erased as well.
This will leave your Wi-Fi without a password or encryption, and your router will use the default creds. So, you’ll need to configure the router and Wi-Fi again to ensure they’re secure. Here’s how you can do this:
- Look for the Reset button on the router. You may be able to press this with your finger, or you might need a pin or a similar object, depending on the router.
- Press this Reset button for around 10 seconds.
- Once the router resets and restarts, log in to the router setup page
- Switch to Advanced mode if necessary. Then, click on the System Tools, Administration, or similar tab.
- Change the router username and password and save the changes.
- Now switch to the Wireless Settings, Wi-Fi, or similar tab.
- Set the new SSID, password, encryption type, and other settings here and save the changes.
- As earlier, users will need to enter the new password to connect to the Wi-Fi. Any unauthorized users should be kicked off, thanks to this.
Use Router / ISP App
If your router manufacturer or ISP provides programs that allow you to monitor and control devices, you can use those to kick people off the Wi-Fi without accessing the router dashboard. For instance, Netgear’s Nighthawk app allows you to do this. Here’s you can manage users on the Wi-Fi with such apps:
- Launch this app and log in to your account if necessary.
- Select the Manage Devices, Manage Internet, or similar option.
- Remove any unwanted users from the devices list and save the changes.
MAC Address Filtering
MAC Address Filtering allows you to control which wireless devices have network access using their MAC Address (unique hardware ID assigned to NICs). There are a couple of ways to set up MAC Filtering.
First, you can check the list of connected devices from your router. After noting the MAC Addresses of the devices you want to block, you can add them to the blacklist. However, this can be easily circumvented by faking a valid MAC Address (MAC Spoofing).
The second method, which is a bit more secure, is to only allow selected devices to access the network. This is once again done by changing the MAC Filtering mode, noting the MAC Addresses of the devices, and adding them to the whitelist.
With all this said, here are the general steps to set up MAC Address Filtering:
- Access the router dashboard as done before.
- You can check the list of connected devices from various tabs depending on the router. These include the default landing page or tabs like Connected Devices, Status, Network Map, DHCP Clients list, Access Control list, etc. The device name should help you recognize what device belongs to which user.
- Once you’ve noted the MAC Address of the device you want to blacklist or whitelist, go to the MAC Filtering tab. This may be located under sections like Security, Wireless, or Advanced.
- First, enable Wireless MAC Filtering. Specify the filtering rules to blacklist or whitelist the selected devices.
- Now add the MAC Address of the device you want to apply MAC Filtering to and save the changes.
Access Control / Parental Control / QoS
MAC Filtering is the most common way to manage network access, but other methods like Parental Controls, setting QOS Rules, or Bandwidth/Time Limits also work. Which methods are supported depends on the specific router in question, but most will support atleast one of these.
In terms of restricting network access to certain devices, all of these methods work similarly to MAC Filtering. They use the hardware ID of the device to limit bandwidth or restrict access based on time limits and so on. We have another article with step-by-step instructions for all these methods, but in this one, we’ll just use Parental Controls as an example:
- To start, log in to the router settings page, as done earlier.
- Switch to the Parental Controls tab. This should be accessible in both Basic and Advanced modes, assuming your router supports it.
- Here, press the Add button to create a new profile or the Modify button to edit an existing one.
- Next, click on the Add Devices button and pick the devices to apply the restrictions to.
- You can use the pause button to restrict internet access here. Alternatively, you can also set time limits, or restricted time periods from the Time Controls tab. Don’t forget to save the changes afterward.
- These will work according to the time set on the router, so make sure the router time is correct. You can check this via the System Tools, Administration, or similar tab.
Disable Specific Wi-Fi Band
Most routers these days can operate in both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. These bands have various pros and cons, but for now, we’ll just cover the ones most relevant to us.
Older smartphones can often only connect to the 2.4 GHz band. The same goes for Bluetooth devices and appliances like microwaves or cameras. 5 GHz supports higher bandwidths but has comparatively lower range, meaning users will generally use the 5 GHz Wi-Fi when close to the router.
And most importantly, if the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands are configured with different passwords, the user you want to kick off is likely only on one band. In such cases, disabling the problematic band can be an unorthodox but viable solution. Here’s how you can do this:
- Login to the router dashboard as done earlier.
- Go to the Wi-Fi Settings, Wireless, or similar tab.
- Toggle off the Wireless Radio checkbox for the band you want to disable and save the changes.
How to Improve / Secure Your Wi-Fi?
Kicking users off the Wi-Fi is often akin to treating the symptoms rather than the cause. The actual problem you’re trying to solve might be that of slow or insecure Wi-Fi, and simply kicking some people off might not solve those issues.
In order to fix slow Wi-Fi:
- First, if you aren’t sure what’s making the Wi-Fi slow, a ping test can be very useful. If you get high ping or packet loss when pinging the default gateway, this indicates that the connection between your device and router is facing some problems.
- Weak signal strength is the most common culprit. Ethernet is an easy fix for this, but in cases where that’s not applicable, adjusting the router’s positioning and taking other steps to boost the Wi-Fi signal will be helpful.
- In the case of 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi, interference from other appliances and routers is another potential cause.
- Malware on your device or router or faulty networking hardware are less common but still possible causes.
- The problem could also be stemming from the ISP’s end due to things like Bandwidth Sharing or Throttling, or on the server end of the specific website or service you’re trying to access. Either way, we recommend contacting your ISP for support if you aren’t able to get your Wi-Fi up to speed by yourself.
When it comes to securing your Wi-Fi, some of the stuff we’ve covered in this article, like configuring the router and Wi-Fi securely with strong passwords and encryption or using MAC Address Filtering, are excellent ways to start. Additionally, you should also:
- Disable known vulnerabilities like WPS PIN. In the same context, keeping your router in a physically secure location is also important.
- Set up guest networks. This allows you to give Wi-Fi access to people while keeping them isolated from your main network. No need to give away the main Wi-Fi’s password either, win-win!
- Ensure your router and device’s firewall are working and no unauthorized ports are open.
- Keep your router firmware updated, and ensure your device and router aren’t infected by malware.