Where is my Wireless Network Adapter?
WiFi technology is everywhere these days and it seems almost every electronic device around has a wireless network connection of some sort. Laptops, tablets, smartphones, digital cameras, printers, gaming consoles, smart watches and many other devices can connect to each other or the internet through a WiFi connection. But a wireless network setup also presents its own set of problems when it comes to your own home network and the devices attached to it.
Naturally, setting up your own WiFi network with adequate protection like WPA2 and a strong password is vital, but that still doesn’t mean people you don’t know about aren’t using your network without your knowledge. It’s entirely possible friends, neighbors or family members have shared the WiFi credentials with others and people you don’t even know could have access to your network and your shared files. Even though many routers have additional security measures such as MAC address filtering, these might not be configured or someone has circumvented them.
A lot of modern routers will give you a list of the wired and wireless devices making a connection to the network, but some do not and some people wouldn’t actually know how to find that information. Another simple way is using a tool to get the list of connected devices, here’s 5 for you to try out. 1. Wireless Network Watcher
Wireless Network Watcher is by Nir Sofer and is another one of his many utilities that simply does what it says on the tin. The good thing is it requires no setting up of IP address ranges and starts scanning your main network adapter automatically for connected devices. If you wish to scan a different adapter or a custom IP address range, use the Advanced Options by pressing F9.
Scanning the IP range is fast and only takes a few seconds, after which you get information like IP, device name, MAC address, adapter manufacturer, detection count and activity state. While Wireless Network Watcher is open a background scan continuously looks through the IP range to detect new and disconnected devices, you can set a tray balloon and audio warning when devices are detected or disconnected. The background scan interval can be set in seconds through the Advanced Options windows (F9). A portable or installer version is available.
2. SoftPerfect WiFi Guard
WiFi Guard is like a cutdown and more basic version of the excellent SoftPerfect Network Scanner which is more suited just for detecting unknown or unauthorized network connections. This tool will scan your network for connected devices and rescan every xx minutes, popping up a message if an unknown connection has been found.