Wireless Security: How to Enable MAC Address Filtering

Posted by on May 27, 2011 0 Comment

Note: This post is part of our series on “How to Secure Your Home Wireless Network“. The series contains a 10 step guide to securing your home wireless network.

Each wireless device possesses a unique identifier called the physical address or MAC address. Access points and routers keep track of the MAC addresses for all devices that connect to them. Wireless routers offer the option to key in the MAC addresses of your home equipment so as to restrict the network to only allow connections from those devices. It ensures that rogue users cannot connect to the wireless router without using advanced MAC spoofing techniques.

Although most routers have different methods to change the MAC address filtering settings, the general steps are as follows. Incase of difficulty, consult your Wireless Router manual or customer support.

1. Find your LAN IP Address

You can identify the LAN IP Address of your machine by going to Start -> Run and execute the command “cmd”. Inside this command prompt you can execute the command “ipconfig /all”

ipconfig /all

2. Access Your Router

Once you have the IP Address for your router, we can use this to access the router and change settings. We need to open the router’s settings page via the browser by visiting http://192.168.0.1/ (Use the IP you found in step 1 ). This will prompt you for a username and password which is usually “admin/admin”, “admin/password” (or the Password set by you in: Wireless Security: How to Change Default Administrator Usernames and Passwords). Sometimes these fields are left blank, but the best way to know is the user manual.

Router Login

3. Enable MAC Address Filtering

Once you have logged into the router control panel, you need to look for a section such as “Wireless” or “Security” or “Wireless MAC Filter” etc. Depending on the make of your router, you will find the settings for MAC address filtering under one of these sections.

Here you will first enable MAC address filtering. You can then set the router to “Permit Only”, which only allows the listed MAC addresses to access the network.

Wireless MAC Filter Settings

4. Find the MAC Addresses of Your Devices

Now you need to find the MAC address of your computers / devices so that we can allow them to connect to the network. You can find your computer’s MAC address by issuing the command “ipconfig /all” like in Step 1 (It will be named Physical Address). The method to find your MAC address will differ for each device you have and the best way to find the MAC address would be to refer to the User Manual.

5. Add Your Devices to the Whitelist

Now that you have enabled MAC address filtering and found the MAC addresses of your devices, its time to add these addresses in your router so that they are whitelisted. Click on Edit Mac Filter List or a simmilar option in your router. Here you may add all your MAC addresses one by one and save the page.

MAC Address Filter List

6. You’re Done!

Thats it, you’re router is now configured to only allow those specific MAC addresses to connect to your wireless network. Any other devices would be ignored!

Now we recommend that you go back to our series on “How to Secure Your Home Wireless Network” and implement all the remaining recommendations into your router.