Do you know who is connected to your router’s Wi-Fi network? Take a look at the list of devices connected to your WiFi network from your router or PC. Remember that many devices connect to your Wi-Fi these days. The list will contain laptops, smartphones, smart TVs, tablets, set-top boxes, game consoles, Wi-Fi printers, etc.
Use GlassWire Pro to See Who’s Connected (And Get Alerts when a New Device Connects to Your WiFi)
We are big fans of the GlassWire firewall & security system. One of the incredible features they have in the Pro version is a rapid and easy Network view that shows you all the devices connected to your WiFi network.
GlassWire is not just a firewall. It even has beautiful graphs to show your bandwidth usage, see what apps are connecting to what, and exactly how much bandwidth each app is using. You can get alerts when an app changes something, or when an installer tries to install a new system driver. There are ample features to list here.
But what makes GlassWire even perfect for today’s topic is that if you go into the Settings panel, you can enable alerts whenever a new device tries to connect to your Wi-Fi. Now that’s a great feature!
GlassWire is free for necessary use, but the network device monitoring is merely included in the paid version ($49 for one computer).
Use Your Router’s Web Interface
The best way to find this info will be to check your router’s web interface. Your router hosts your WiFi network, so it has the most appropriate data about which devices are connected. Most routers provide a way to view a list of connected devices, though some may not.
The great tips for accessing your router’s web interface apply. If you are not sure of its IP address, you can generally look for your computer’s gateway IP address through the Control Panel. You could even run the ipconfig /all command in a Command Prompt window.
Afterward, plug this IP address into your web browser’s address bar and press Enter. It should usually bring up your router’s interface. If it does not, check your router’s documentation, or perform a web search for its model number & “web interface” to determine how to access it. If you have not set a custom password and passphrase, you may require a search or check the documentation to find the default ones for your router model.
Finding the List of Connected Devices
You will now be required to look for the option in your router’s web interface somewhere. Look for a link or button named “attached devices,” “connected devices,” or “DHCP clients.” You probably find this on the Wi-Fi configuration page, or you may find it on some status page. On a few routers, the list of connected devices probably printed on the main status page to save you some clicks.
On numerous D-Link routers, a list of connected devices is obtainable under Status > Wireless.
On many Netgear routers, you will find the list under “Attached Devices” in the sidebar.
On many Linksys routers, you will find this option under Status > Local Network > DHCP Clients Table.
On Comcast Xfinity routers, you will find the list under Connected Devices in the sidebar.
Understanding the List
Many routers provide a list of devices connected via DHCP. It means that if a device is configured with a static IP configuration, it won’t appear. Remember that!
When you get the list open, you will generally see similar info on every router. The interface probably displays a table with a list of connected devices, their “hostnames” on the network, & their MAC addresses.
If the list does not offer meaningful enough names, you probably want to change the hostnames (also known as “computer names” or “device names”) on your PC or device’s operating systems. The hostname will be visible here. Unluckily, there is no way to change the hostname on some devices; for example, we are not aware of how to change an Android device’s hostname to a more meaningful one without rooting it.
Moreover, when in doubt, you could always compare the MAC address is seen on this page (or the IP address displayed) to the MAC address of a device you are using to check which device is which.
This List Isn’t Foolproof.
Of course, this list is not entirely perfect. Anyone can set any hostname they want, & it’s also feasible to change your MAC address to spoof other devices. Although, this would mean that a device of yours would not be able to connect to the network while another device with a spoofed MAC address was taking its place, as routers generally block two devices with the same MAC address from connecting simultaneously. Additionally, someone who gained access to your router could set up a static IP configuration to be stealthy.
Ultimately, this is not the most robust security feature or a foolproof way to notice folks connected to your network. It’s not something you require to check regularly. If there are devices you do not recognize, you can change your Wi-Fi passphrase — you’re hopefully using WPA2-PSK encryption — and that will kick all the tools off until they can offer the new passphrase.
Although, even devices, you do not recognize may be something you own that you did not remember. For instance, an unknown device could be a Wi-Fi-enabled printer, a Wi-Fi-connected speaker system, or your smart TV’s built-in WiFi that you never use.
Scan Your WiFi Network With Software On Your PC
The easy way to check for connected devices will generally be to use your router’s web interface. Although some routers may not offer this feature, so you may want to try a scanning tool instead. It is a piece of software running on your PC that will scan the Wi-Fi network you are connected to for active devices & list them. Unlike router web interface tools, such scanning tools haven’t any way of listing devices that are connected, but which are currently offline. You’ll merely see online devices.
There are ample tools for doing this, but we like NirSoft’s Wireless Network Watcher. Similar to other NirSoft software, it’s a convenient little tool without any adware or nag screens. It also does not even need to be installed on your computer. Download the tool, launch it, watch your Wi-Fi network for active devices, and display their device names, MAC addresses, and the manufacturer of their Wi-FI network hardware. The manufacturer name is beneficial for identifying specific devices without device names — especially Android devices.
This tool may not work correctly until you specify your WiFi network adapter. On our Windows PC, we had to tap Options > Advanced Options in Wireless Network Watcher, check “Use the following network adapter,” & choose our physical Wi-Fi adapter before performing a scan.
Once again, this isn’t something you need to worry about always. If you are using WPA2-PSK encryption and have a good passphrase, you can feel reasonably secure. It’s unlikely anyone is connected to your WiFi without your permission. If you are concerned this is happening for some reason, you can always change your Wi-Fi passphrase—you will have to re-enter it on all your approved devices. Make sure WPS is disabled before you do this, as WPS is vulnerable, & attackers could potentially use it to reconnect to your network without the passphrase.
Changing your WiFI passphrase can even be a good idea if you have given out your Wi-FI password—to neighbors visiting you, for instance—and want to be sure they don’t continue using it for years.