Wireless access, also known as WiFi, has become one of the chief methods used for accessing internet content of all types. According to recent studies performed by Pew, around 56 percent of Americans have used a wireless connection to access online content. This compares to the 24 percent that use the internet, but have never used a wireless connection. The final 20 percent of those surveyed did not use the internet at all.
If you are one of the majority that does use this type of access, you may run into situations that involve sharing access with a friend, neighbor or even a total stranger. Is this something you should do? What kind of dangers does this pose? How do I set it up to ensue the most protection for my personal information and files? These are all important questions that need to be addressed before doling out your access to outside parties.
The first question, whether or not to do it, is ultimately a personal decision. If the person requesting access is a trusted neighbor or friend, the decision is usually pretty easy. However, if you are looking to make your access open to everyone within range, some important considerations need to be made.
This brings us to the dangers involved with sharing your connection. The primary pitfalls are unauthorized access to your personal data, reduction of your bandwidth due to others using it and possible illegal activity that would be traced back too your wireless device.
The ultimate rule in bypassing many of these pitfalls is to make sure that the account people can use on your router is a guest account. Guest accounts allow for an outside party to use the router as a connection to the internet, all while bypassing your important personal information.
Bandwidth allocation, however, can still be a problem even when third parties are using a guest account. Most internet-connection packages have a specific amount of bandwidth allocated to each customer. If someone is using your guest account while you are trying to stream a movie, some delays may be experienced.
Finally, a guest account will shield you from the possibility of your being blamed if anything untoward is performed by someone else. Because they are accessing the internet from a completely separate user account, internal documentation will confirm that the activities were not performed from your device.
Opening your internet access to the outside world requires some adjustments in your router’s configuration. As this process is highly specialized to each brand and model, listing the steps for each here would be impossible. For clear instructions for most major brands and models, visit this website.
Ultimately, it will be up for you to decide if you truly want to share the wealth of your internet access with those less fortunate. What is your take on this activity, do you prefer sharing or restriction? Let us know in the Comments section below!