Ever had to figure out the IP address of your or someone else’s wireless network so that you could change its settings? Most people setup their wireless networks right out of the box without any configuration and therefore have no idea what the IP address is.
However, these days you need to login and at least setup a secure password for your WiFi network that is different than the one assigned by default. In addition, it’s a good idea to change the router password also, so that someone else connected to your network can’t log into your router and change settings.
If you’re already connected to the wireless network, then it’s really easy to figure out the IP address of the router. If you’re not connected to WiFi, you must have access to an Ethernet connection.
You can only determine the router IP address from a device that is connected over WiFi or from a device connected by cable (Ethernet). Connecting by cable doesn’t require a password, so it’s an easy way to bypass WiFi security if you can’t remember the WiFi password anymore.
Connected to Router
If you’re connected by wire or wirelessly, you can simply open the command prompt and run a simple command. Go to Start, Run, and type in CMD. At the command prompt, type in ipconfig and press Enter.
Scroll down till you get to the heading that has Ethernet adapter Ethernet or Wireless LAN adapter Wi-Fi in the name. Usually, you’ll only see one, but computers with WiFi cards and Ethernet cards will see two listings. The IP address of the wireless access point is the IP address that is listed for Default Gateway.
It’s worth noting that the default gateway is actually just the IP address for the router that connects to the Internet. In certain networks with more than one router, this might be the IP address of your ISP router, but not necessarily your wireless router. To detect more than one router, check out the link in the paragraph below on scanning your network for devices.
Now you can go ahead and type that address into your browser and you should be see the login page for your router.
In my case, my default gateway is my Verizon Actiontec router that also acts as my wireless router. That’s about it! It’s pretty easy to get the IP address for the access point this way.
However, if you cannot run the command prompt for some reason or you need to find more than one router on the network, then you need a network scanning tool. Make sure to check out my previous post on how to scan your network for devices, which will show you not only how to get the IP address for all routers, but also for any other device connected to the network.
Not Connected to Router
If you’re not connected to the router via WiFi or via Ethernet, you won’t be able to figure out the router IP address unless the network doesn’t use encryption. If there is a password set on the WiFi network, you’re out of luck.
However, you can still get some information about wireless networks you’re not connected to by using some third-party tools. They won’t be able to give you a lot of information, but it could help you find a hidden wireless network.
For example, let’s say you go to your school library and you know there is a wireless network there, but SSID broadcast is turned off for security reasons. Even though it’s not secure at all, people use it to try and prevent others from connecting to their wireless network.
In this type of case, you need a WiFi network detection tool. You can use a tool like Xirrus WiFi Inspector to make sure the wireless network actually exists. WiFi Inspector is a program that can detect wireless networks even if SSID broadcast is turned off.
In order to download it, you have to fill out a bunch of info, but thankfully you can just make up everything and it’ll let you download it. When you run it, it’ll give you a list of all the networks in your vicinity. Note that Windows cannot detect networks that have SSID turned off.
If you are connected to the network, it will be able to display the Gateway, DNS server, MAC address, etc. If not, you’ll only see the info in the middle section that shows you the SSID, signal strength, network mode (a/b/g/n/ac), encryption (WPA, WPA2, etc.), channel and frequency.
So to recap, you need to be connected via WiFi or Ethernet in order to figure out the IP address for the default gateway using the command prompt. If there is more than one router on your network, you’ll need to scan your network using the tools I mentioned in my previous post.
Lastly, if you have no connection to the network, you can still get basic information about wireless networks using a WiFi detection tool. If you have any questions, feel free to comment. Enjoy!