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What is the MAC filtering option on my router and what is it for?

The MAC filtering of the router is a security measure that can save you more than a headache and prevent unwanted people from accessing your network. Its implementation through the router is very easy and you can protect your data from possible attacks.

Every day there are more devices that have MAC filtering options, there are even mobile phones that have this function to control who they share their connection with. Currently there are tools and applications that are used to crack the password of a network and access it.

This leaves your network vulnerable, but MAC filtering allows you to have control of connected devices. It is one of the best options to increase security and control of the network.

What is MAC filtering?

To understand the concept, the first thing to know is that it is a MAC (Media Access Control), or MAC address is a unique identifier value assigned by a manufacturer to a network device, be it a network card or a telephone. mobile. The value of a MAC is usually alphanumeric and does not repeat itself.

Do not confuse the term with the IP address. Since the MAC address identifies the device, while the IP address is a logical value that is assigned to a device to be identified within the same network.

MAC filtering

The router detects the MAC addresses of all devices that connect to the network and that’s when MAC filtering comes into play. By knowing the MAC of all the devices, you can configure from the router which devices have access to the network.

It is possible to establish which are the devices that can be connected to the network or to block others in specific. This is done through the implementation of so-called blacklists and whitelists. You can allow the connection of all household devices and at the same time reject the connection of unknown devices.

MAC filtering configuration

As mentioned previously, the MAC filtering configuration will be done through the router. Access the router’s configuration options from the browser.

The IP address to connect to the router may vary depending on the device, the network configuration or even the contracted ISP. Although the usual access address is 192.168.1.1. Login with your username and password.

The default routers do not have MAC filtering enabled and therefore any device can access the network. When creating the configuration you have two options available:

  • A whitelist, which includes all devices that have access to the network. Only those on this list can access.
  • A black list, where all devices that do not have access to the network are entered. Any device can be connected except for the ones on this list.

In the configuration menu, identify the Wi-Fi or Wireless option. It is important to mention that MAC filtering works for devices connected to a network wirelessly. The option that we must select is MAC filter or MAC filtering.

MAC filtering configuration

Once you are at this point, select what type of list you want to apply. If you want to implement a black list or a white list and the next thing is to put the MAC addresses, one by one. It can be tedious work, but it’s a one-time setup.

Advantages of implementing Wi-Fi filtering

It represents a very important security barrier that only an advanced user could jump to access the network. In case someone manages to decrypt the network password, they would have to belong to the white list to access or not be on the black list.

However, there is the possibility for a person to clone a network MAC address that belongs to the white list by means of a sniffer or to virtually mask their MAC address to bypass the filtering black list.

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