Personalize your mobile hotspot

crazy-wifi-networksOver the past weeks I’ve seen them around regularly. Crazy Wifi SSID names which clearly indicate a pretty much factory default mobile hotspot.

What is a mobile hotspot

A mobile hotspot (or pocket wifi) is a small device that basically converts mobile internet into a wifi signal. Commonly 3G/4G signals can not be received by your laptop for example. To get mobile internet on your laptop, tablet or smartphone (most wifi capable devices) you can get a mobile hotspot which then acts as your modem and router.

I’m in the Philippines and I have 2 of them. One connects to the Globe network and one uses the Smart network. A few years ago I had one from Vodafone in the Netherlands. In all cases these modems can be configured, allowing you to make a distinct network for yourself with a handy personalized name and password. It’s your personal wifi network after-all. Why not make it something cool and unique.

Globe Tattoo Pocket Wifi

Most of these devices are pretty much the same. When you buy one you get a little booklet in the box explaining you can log in to them and do all kinds of stuff. You log in to the pocket wifi modem via your browser by accessing http://192.168.8.1/html/home.html. This will take you to a webpage. This page is unprotected, but all settings and such require a password. This defaults to username admin and password admin. If you want, you can change that in the device settings.

Configure the Globe wifi network

To make the wifi network you’re creating more personal you have to change the SSID (network name) only. Optionally you can also change the password. To do so you go into Settings and access WLAN > WLAN Basic Settings.

globe-wlan-settings

In there you change the SSID (network name) to what you want. This name is visible to everyone in range of your pocket wifi. I use arnan.globe. Optionally you can change the password to something more memorable like “givemeinternet” which is long, yet easy to remember. Unlike the complex passphrase from the factory, which is short and printed on a sticker. Not very safe.

Click apply when done. Because you’ve changed the network name you’ll be disconnected from wifi. To see the result of your changes connect to the new network name you’ve chosen. arnan.globe in my case. Use the new password if you’ve changed it and voila.

You have your own personalized wifi network.

SmartBro pocket wifi

When you use Smart, things work essentially the same. But they use a different brand of modem. You log in to the device via your browser by accessing http://192.168.1.1/. The Smart Pocket Wifi is called SmartBro and is a bit more shielded than the Globe Tattoo devices. But are equally simple to set up. The default password (there is no username) is simply smartbro. You can change this in the Router settings.

smartbro-login

Setting up your Smart Wifi network

Once you’re logged in you click Settings and navigate to Wifi Settings > Basic Settings.

In there you change the Network Name (SSID) and optionally the Pass Phrase. For my SmartBro I use the name arnan.smart. Also here you can change the password to something understandable like “myownwifinetwork” or something. Which is memorable yet long.

smartbro-wlan-settings

When done, simply click Apply you’ll be disconnected from the Wifi. After a few seconds you can connect to your new wifi network and see the result of your settings.

Security

Using a simple pass phrase is not necessarily smart or secure. However, if you keep physical control of your pocket wifi you don’t need to make things difficult. Go for convenience instead. The wifi range of these modems is about 10 to 15 meters (30 feet). This means that anyone hacking your network is nearby, probably sitting right next to you. If that happens you just turn off the modem, walk away and reset the device when you’re out of range from whoever was there when it happened. Worst case, you have to reset the modem (using the pinhole under the battery cover) and start over.

A trick I use (because both my devices use the default passwords for the settings) is to use a dutch password for my Wifi network. I’m in the Philippines. Nobody here knows dutch words. Thus, nobody is going to guess it…

Why personalize your Pocket Wifi

Imagine you’re in a busy place with lots of such pocket wifi hotspots. You won’t know which one is yours until you either memorize the difficult factory default or if you set your own memorable name.

But it also works for promotional purposes. If you have a domain name or business name – Everyone in range looking for his or some wifi network can see this name. If you have a catchy name people may remember yours.

Lastly, it’s just fun to distinguish yourself like this. Your laptop has a cool network name too, right?