11 things to check after installing Wi-Fi access points

Whether you’re upgrading to Wi-Fi 6 or building out a brand new network, this checklist can help make sure everything’s shipshape before users connect.

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After all the work of performing a Wi-Fi site survey, running cable to key locations in the building and hooking up your access points (APs), you might be eager to quickly fill the airwaves. However, there are some things you should check just after powering on those new or upgraded APs and before letting users connect to them.

You can never be too careful when it comes to Wi-Fi security and performance, and you don't want to start off by ignoring them. That said, you can follow these tips at any time after you’ve already deployed your Wi-Fi.

1. Secure admin access

Although changing the admin password should be one of the very first things you do when initially configuring any network gear, it can be overlooked. You don't want a curious or ill-willed user to bring up the web GUI and get admin access by looking up the default password online.

After powering on each AP, double-check that the default password doesn't work and that you have replaced it with  a strong one. Visit the web GUI of each AP and log in. Even if you're using a central wireless controller, each AP may have its own web GUI, so you should double-check every AP individually.

Consider blocking access to the web GUI of the APs and other network components from the Wi-Fi. I especially recommend doing this on any guest Wi-Fi network, which may be accessible by anyone nearby. Blocking the admin interface from wireless users can prevent curious users from even attempting to get into the equipment.

Some APs have a setting specifically for controlling access to the admin interface, for instance, a control that lets you designate the IP addresses of the devices that can access the web GUI. This setting is often found with other admin GUI management settings or in the VLAN settings so you can enable the admin access separately for each VLAN. For APs that don't offer a setting like that, check your router's documentation on how to create a firewall rule to block access to the admin GUI from certain subnets or VLANs.

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