What Is a WiFi Guest Network?
You might be wondering what a guest network is, let alone why you should take the time to set one up.
A guest network is exactly what it sounds like: you have your home WiFi network, and you want to share it with a visiting friend or relative, but you don’t want to give them access to every last thing on your network. Creating a guest network is a simple and elegant solution to this problem. It is also useful for implementation in a small office
Better yet for parents, it gives you more ability to set restrictions that you don’t need to personally abide by. Give your kids access to the guest network, and you can prevent them from accessing adult to content accessing everything on your network.
Ensuring a little extra privacy for your WiFi is never a bad idea, and a creating a DD-WRT guest network is a step you can take to make that a reality.
WiFi Guest Networks in DD-WRT Advantages
So you may be asking if DD-WRT firmware revamps the capabilities of creating this guest network in comparison to standard default firmware.
- Stability: DD-WRT firmware removes the buggy and often unstable default firmware implemented in these routers. This means you are less likely to have to reboot/reset and have to rcreate the guest network freuqnetly. You can also save a backup within DD-WRT so if you do ever have to reset the router, you can save your configuration and just load the backup and you’ll be instantly back in business.
- Control Access/Segmentation: This is a biggie. Many default firmwares have something that is called a guest network but what it really does is give a different password for getting Internet access. What it does not do is prevent access to your computers. DD-WRT allows for network segmentation and separation within the same router. Even if you trust everyone you let use your Internet, who knows who can gain access via that friend. And we all have something we don’t want to share with anyone.
- Speed Limitation: DD-WRT allows for prioritizing networks, segments and users over others so even if you want to share, you probably still want to make sure you are getting enough bandwidth. What if your visitors are Netflix hogs eating up all your bandwidth and preventing you from using the Internet connection yourself? So by segmenting the network, you can now prioritize what users, actions, or activities are a priority whether it be streaming video, VOIP, or gaming.
How to Set Up a DD-WRT Guest Network
Setting up a segmented DD-WRT guest network is not too complex, as illustrated in a post by DD-WRT developer Kong which this tutorial was based.
Note: The build version used here is an AC Kong build. It may not be applicable to older builds of DD-WRT or some fields may be missing.
1. Start at the Wireless—>Basic Settings page for your router. Go to the Virtual Interfaces section and click Add.
2. Next, fill in the details for the guest WiFi network, with the assistance of the red labels, which explain what each setting is. Then it’s off to the Wireless Security tab. Once you’re there, set up your encryption scheme and the password for the guest network.
3. Go to Setup—>Networking to enable the DHCPD (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol Daemon). Under the DHCPD tab, click Add. Add the Virtual Interface, you just created in step 2. In this case, it’s wl0.1. That means on the same band, you now have two separate pieces, wl0 and wl0.1
That’s it. You’re all set. Start inviting friends and loved ones over to enjoy your WiFi, free from worry about them invading your privacy.
If you want to go further in your modifications and add other rules like Netmask priority or QoS, I’d recommend watching this Advanced Guest Network Settings Video for further insight or review this post.
Best Routers For Setting Up a DD-WRT Guest Network
If you do not presently own a DD-WRT router (or DD-WRT capable router), but are looking to create a DD-WRT Guest Network, you may be a bit unsure as to what router would best fit within your current home setup.
The best overall option for DD-WRT setups is currently the Netgear R7000 Nighthawk, the most powerful router currently offered by FlashRouters, with a 1 GHz processor, USB 3.0 integration, and three strong external antennas, perfect for anyone looking to cover a wide range of ground with their guest network.
For mid-sized homes and office spaces, the Linksys WRT1900ACS/AC v2 is a popular and well-reviewed customer favorite.