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I set up a Guest wifi on my new router. It has no password.

For some reason, I cannot see who joins it on my router's settings at 192.168.1.1. The other connections I have do show connected devices, however.

Is this a settings problem? Or are Guests usually invisible to me? I am curious, since I can see if it is used rarely (and so worth providing), or instead is used by multiple unknown people continuously, and so bringing down the capacity.

Also: Is this wise? Can someone easily hack my usual connection if I provide free guest wifi without a password?

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In general this depends on the router. All WiFi routers know the WiFi Mac addresses of all associated devices, but whether you can login and see that data depends on how “manageable” the WiFi router is. But the MAC address is not necessarily a useful device name.

Whether the WiFi threatens your devices on your secured SSID also depends on the vendor. I would expect a guest WiFi to not allow users on that net to access each other (p2p blocking) and definitely not access your secured wired/wireless nets.

The only way to know for sure is to try it. Associate to the guest net and try to access your secure net devices.

The other problem with a wide open guest WiFi network is that it is probably accessible from your neighbors houses, and they may use the network to access ...inappropriate... content that may result in a law enforcement visit or your ISP threatening to turn you off.

I personally like guest WiFi. It minimizes the cases where I give out my internal WiFi password to guests. But letting the neighbors or pedestrians use my WiFi to download possibly awful content is a real showstopper. Setting your DNS server to openDNS (and turning on appropriate DNS filtering) can minimize this risk for non-technical neighbors. Technical neighbors can statically set their own DNS of course.

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  • So if people use it, I can get in trouble, even though it is a guest wifi? The ISP essentially doesn't know? – apkg Nov 4 '19 at 5:10
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    Yes. Worst case someone uses it to access or serve kiddie porn, the FBI shows up with a search warrant and confiscates every computing device in your house (including your smartphones). Since you did not access/serve the kiddie porn you are not guilty, and will probably get your electronic devices back in a year (unless they find something else incriminating while searching). – Darrell Root Nov 4 '19 at 5:14
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    And yes, the ISP has no idea whether the users are on your guest net. It all looks like it comes from your IP address. IP addresses are always logged on webservers. – Darrell Root Nov 4 '19 at 5:16

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