Do you know who is connected to your router’s Wi-Fi network? Check the list of devices connected to your Wi-Fi network from your router or computer to find out.
Keep in mind that there are many devices connecting to your Wi-Fi these days. The list will include laptops, smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, set-top boxes, game consoles, Wi-Fi printers and more.
Use GlassWire Pro to see who’s connected (and get notified when a new device joins your Wi-Fi)
We’re big fans of the GlassWire firewall and security system, and one of the cool features they have in the Pro version is a quick and easy network view that shows you all the devices connected to your Wi-Fi network.
GlassWire isn’t just a firewall, it also has beautiful graphs that show bandwidth usage, showing what apps are connecting to what and exactly how much bandwidth each app is using. You can receive notifications when the application changes something or when the installer tries to install a new system driver. There are tons of features, too many to list here.
But what makes GlassWire even better for today’s topic is that if you go to the Settings panel, you can actually enable notifications whenever a new device tries to connect to your Wi-Fi. Now that’s a cool feature!
GlassWire is free for basic use, but network device monitoring is only included in paid versions ($39 per computer).
Use your router’s web interface
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The best way to find out this information will be to check your router’s web interface. Your router hosts your Wi-Fi network, so it has the most accurate information about which devices are connected to it. Most of the best routers offer a way to view a list of connected devices, although some may not.
Standard tips for accessing the router’s web interface apply. If you are not sure of its IP address, you can generally find your computer’s gateway IP address through Control Panel. You can also run ipconfig /all in a command prompt window.
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Next, plug this IP address into the address bar of your web browser and press Enter. This should usually bring up your router’s interface. If it doesn’t, check your router’s documentation – or search the web for its model number and “web interface” to find out how to access it. If you haven’t set your own password and passphrase, you may need to search or refer to your documentation to find the default passwords for your router model.
Search the list of connected devices
Now you’ll have to look for the option somewhere in your router’s web interface. Look for a link or button with a name such as “connected devices”, “connected devices”, or “DHCP clients”. You can find it on the Wi-Fi configuration page or you can find it on some status page. Some routers may print a list of connected devices on the main status page to save you a few clicks.
On many D-Link routers, a list of connected devices is available under Status > Wireless.
On many Netgear routers, you’ll find a list under “Connected Devices” in the sidebar.
On many Linksys routers, you’ll find this option under Status > Local Network > DHCP Client Table.
On Comcast Xfinity routers, you can find the list under Connected Devices in the sidebar.
Understanding the List
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Many routers simply provide a list of devices connected via DHCP. This means that if the device is configured with a static IP configuration, it will not appear in the list. Remember it!
When you open the list, you will generally see similar information on each router. The interface will likely show you a table listing the connected devices, their network “hostnames” and their MAC addresses.
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If the list does not provide meaningful enough names, you may want to change the hostnames (also known as “computer names” or “device names”) on your computer or device’s operating systems. The host name will be visible here. Unfortunately, there is no way to change the hostname on some devices – for example, we don’t know of a way to change the hostname of an Android device to something more meaningful without rooting it.
When in doubt, you can always compare the MAC address shown on this page (or the IP address shown) with the MAC address of the device you are using to check which device is which.
This list is not reliable
Of course, this list is not completely perfect. Anyone can set any hostname they want and it is also possible to change your MAC address to spoof other devices. However, this would mean that your device would not be able to connect to the network while another device with a spoofed MAC address takes its place, as routers usually block two devices with the same MAC address from connecting at the same time. . And someone who gained access to your router could set the static IP configuration to be secret.
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Ultimately, this is not the most powerful security feature, nor is it a reliable way to notice people connected to your network. It’s not something you should check regularly. If there are devices you don’t recognize, you can change your Wi-Fi passcode—hopefully using WPA3 encryption—and this will shut down all devices until they can provide a new passcode.
However, even devices you don’t recognize may be something you own that you didn’t remember. For example, an unknown device could be a Wi-Fi-enabled printer, a Wi-Fi-connected speaker system, or the built-in Wi-Fi of your smart TV that you never use.
Scan your Wi-Fi network using the software on your computer
The ideal way to check connected devices is generally to use the router’s web interface. However, some routers don’t offer this feature, so you can try a scan tool instead. This is software running on your computer that will find and display active devices on the Wi-Fi network you are connected to. Unlike router web interface tools, these scan tools have no way to list devices that have been connected but are currently offline. You will only see online devices.
There are many tools to do this, but we like NirSoft’s Wireless Network Watcher. Like other NirSoft software, it is a convenient little tool without any adware or nag screens. It is also not necessary to install it on your computer. Download the tool, run it, and it will monitor active devices on your Wi-Fi network, displaying their device names, MAC addresses, and their Wi-Fi hardware manufacturer. The manufacturer name is very useful for identifying specific devices without a device name – especially Android devices.
This tool may not work properly until you specify a Wi-Fi network adapter. On our Windows machine, we had to click Options > Advanced in Wireless Network Watcher, check “Use the following network adapter” and select our physical Wi-Fi adapter before running the scan.
Again, this isn’t something you really need to worry about all the time. If you use WPA2-PSK encryption, or even better WPA3, and have a good passphrase, you can feel pretty safe. It is unlikely that anyone will connect to your Wi-Fi without your permission. If you’re worried that this is happening for some reason, you can always change your Wi-Fi passphrase – you’ll have to re-enter it on all approved devices, of course. Make sure WPS is disabled before doing this, as WPS is vulnerable and could potentially be used by attackers to reconnect to your network without a passphrase.
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Changing your Wi-Fi passphrase might also be a good idea if you’ve shared your Wi-Fi password—for example, with visiting neighbors—and want to make sure they don’t use it for years.