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We use a WLAN access point for internet access. I need the internet access to be turned off at 10pm for my children, but still be able to use it for myself.

Can I have 2 passwords? Or does anyone know another way around this, please?

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    This depends on whether your wireless router supports this. You should look into the features and documentation for your wireless router to see whether it offers a guest network, or childrens access controls, or multiple networks. You should also edit your question to include the specific model number of your wireless router. – music2myear Mar 20 at 18:37
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    Depends on the router and the software the router is running. A TalkTalk (UK ISP) router that has multiple access points with different ssid/passwords. Meanwhile an EE router (rebadged BT hub) allows per device access controls. Submit details of your router, and ISP and folks here should be able to help directly. – pbhj Mar 20 at 19:10
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    Depending on what devices your children use, you might discover your phone statement starts showing lots of extra data access after 10pm. – Michael Mar 20 at 20:51
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    I am not sure how old your kids are; but if you had to ask this question (meaning: you are not so tech saavy) I think they will soon figure it out and will try to overcome this policy and you wont even know about it. Its dead simple to get the “other” - unlimited internet - password if they have access to your computer. Instead of constraining; show them the other way & dont be hypocrate - if they see you being on the internet 24/7 what do you expect? Good luck! – Kyslik Mar 21 at 0:54
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    My parents tried to do this to me when I was a kid, I just got a 3G dongle😂 Also, I got my moms laptop and just copied their WiFi password off ot that 😂 – Revetahw says Reinstate Monica Mar 21 at 10:24
61

There are features in some routers that allow you to set up multiple SSID's and a wifi schedule. If your router has these features, you can set up 2 wifi networks with different SSID's and different passwords, and schedule one of them to be on and off at certain hours.

  • While the answer about parenting is sensible, this is the technically 'correct' answer. Thank you for answering even if you haven't gotten the 'accepted' stamp yet. – djsmiley2k - CoW Mar 21 at 12:19
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Oh yes. The ability to provide a second or "guest" network is a feature of many home WiFi routers. If you ever go into a business and you see two WiFi networks:

  JPS-Private
  Joes Pizza Shack Free WiFi

That's exactly what that is. It simply has an internal firewall between the "guest" WiFi and the private network.

And many of these routers also have the feature to only enable the guest network at certain hours (e.g. Their business hours).

This is an easy feature to add to routers, and I see it in many. So just shop around (this stack is not a shopping help site) and you should find those features in a good number of routers.

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    to add to this, its also possible that OPs router has the capability, but its not in the firmware - perhaps DD-WRT can enable it if it doesn't work on stock firmware. Just something to look out for, in case you have such a router by coincidence – QuickishFM Mar 20 at 20:36
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    There is a downside to this - you can't share things across the LAN like this. Public wifi side is often prevented from seeing any devices (routed directly to outbound port) so even if two devices were on that side, they wouldn't be able to directly communicate with each other. – Baldrickk Mar 21 at 17:06
  • @Baldrickk would that block things like AirDrop, or just direct access of public folders? – Tim Mar 23 at 13:26
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I appreciate this is a tech questions site, and you’ve asked an appropriately on-topic question. However, I believe you’ve asked an XY question and this is actually a parenting problem, not a tech one.

Disabling or blocking your WiFi does not address the root cause of your problem which, reading between the lines, is that you’ve told your kids no internet after 10, but they disregard you. Confiscating devices, banning devices from bedrooms, and just making sure your kids respect you enough to follow your wishes/commands might all be better solutions. You might want to look for similar questions (or ask a new one) on Parenting SE.

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    @Darren, "I could have flagged it as off-topic and got it moved to Parenting SE" That would have been absolutely the worst way to deal with this, so thank you for not doing it. – Celos Mar 21 at 9:12
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    On Parenting/IPS SE if you answer a question about kids using internet without permission with "Just set up a guest network for them", that answer will be deleted on the spot. I don't see why we should keep answers like this one on SU. – Dmitry Grigoryev Mar 21 at 13:11
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    @user202729 you can flag any question for moderator intervention. Go ahead, I don't care. It just reinforces my increasing opinion that helping people (which is the raison d'etre of the entire SE network) is less important to lots of people than being able to crow about questions and answers as being off-topic or dupes and it makes me sad. Also. – Darren Mar 21 at 14:31
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    This answer could be improved by addressing some of the technical reasons to prefer this solution. For example, blocking Internet access prevents devices from receiving security updates, cuts off a lifeline for getting help in an emergency, prevents a device from providing services (such as the secure re-encryption some secure messaging apps use), and generally is just completely the wrong tool for the job. – David Schwartz Mar 21 at 20:06
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    @Maxim You're probably wrong about all of those things. For example: You can call 911 if you have phone access but on a modern phone that would probably give you Internet too. Tablets and laptops usually can't do anything like calling 911 without Internet access. Lots of devices use encrypting messaging applications that require the app to provide services, they're quite popular. As for the security issue, you're wrong. When you start using the device, typically updates are deferred, leaving you a window of vulnerability. The approach is just all wrong. – David Schwartz Mar 22 at 0:24
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If your current router does not support two wifi networks / passwords, then it might be cheaper & easier to just use a second router with a different password for it's wifi.

Sometimes old used routers are practically a dime a dozen, definitely much cheaper than buying an new one. An old router that supports OpenWRT / DD-WRT / Tomato would be ideal (but a little more effort to set up).

If you don't want the networks to communicate with each other, then it could be as simple as attaching the new router's WAN port to one of your main router's LAN ports.

Then you could have the children's internet access, or wifi network, or entire router (if it's not the main router) turned off after X o'clock, leaving yours on.

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    I love the simplicity of this, as well as the inherent security advantage of physically separate routers as opposed to a single router with multiple LANs. That you can simply power off the second router whenever you want to shut down the children's access makes it an easy solution to implement. – Monty Harder Mar 22 at 17:37
  • One advantage of this is that you can easily plug the second router into a timer clock, to turn it on and off at the appointed times. – Daniel R Hicks Mar 22 at 21:10
8

The other answers already cover the "multiple password" part of your question.

Let me give you an alternative, which still covers the problem you're facing:

Parental Control

Depending on your Wi-Fi access point or your router (which may both be the same device), either (or both) may support a feature known as "Parental Control". This can be used to set a schedule during which a specific device may access the internet, or even a maximum usage time (e.g. 3 hours), after which they will lose access to the internet, even if it's not 10pm yet.

If both devices support the feature, I suggest activating it only on one device, preferably the router. Children can get really creative when they want something, and find some way of bypassing the Access Point. There is no bypassing the router, however.

The only downside to Parental Control, is that you need to know either the names or MAC addresses of the devices your children use. If your children managed to purchase a new device in secret, you'd have to block that as well, which you can only do if you monitor your router regularly enough to notice the new device popping up. You can limit this as long as you keep the password secret, forcing your children to go through you whenever they need to connect to the Wi-Fi with a new device. You can use this opportunity to see which new device just connected to the router, and apply Parental Control to it. If your children already know the password, you can simply change it.

  • Good answer, especially pointing out that you may be able to do this with a single router and MAC filtering - didn't think about that myself. – sleske Mar 21 at 8:43
  • Beware that some devices (such as computers with Windows) may allow the user to configure a different MAC address. – Razvan Socol Mar 21 at 9:32
  • @RazvanSocol: All of them do. The MAC address is simply a piece of data that gets written into the frame by a piece of software. There is nothing magical about it. In fact, you must be able to change the MAC address, how else are you supposed to use LAAs otherwise? – Jörg W Mittag Mar 21 at 9:50
  • I would add a caution here: many "home" routers claim to support MAC filtering and scheduling, but my mid-range LinkSys router became unusable when I actually tried to set up MAC filtering and permitted hours for my kids' devices. This was with only a dozen or so (total) devices, not all of which were in use at any one time -- for example, the older kids had a Kindle and a Nintendo handheld, which obviously they wouldn't be using at the same time. YMMV (I should note this was ~ 5+ years ago). – David Mar 21 at 14:39
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EDIT: Re-reading the question, you do not specifically mean wi-fi, but I had assumed this was implied. You may only need a managed switch.

Yes.

  • Method 1. Use a separate physical access point (AP), on a different channel.
  • Method 2. Create (if router permits) a separate SSID from the same router.
  • Method 3. Block their computers by MAC address from your router at scheduled times.
  • Method 4. Shape their speed with QOS (quality of service) from your router.

etc.

But. (and, being as nice as I can, this is not Quora)

Your children are capable of using a computer. They will almost certainly work around these measures by tethering to a mobile phone or router. One they may keep secret from you. These are hard to lawfully block (jam). They may even be able to spoof another MAC address to circumvent filtering (or use a "bridge"). They may run a cable from your router, or have their own access point.

So, you needed to have (exclusive) Administration rights to their devices, and restrict their user account logons. This needs to be done at a device level, as your network will not be sophisticated enough to control their accounts.

  • "you do not specifically mean wi-fi" - well, OP did add the "wireless-networking" tag, so they probably did mean it. Also, the only two common home networking solutions are (wired) Ethernet and IEEE 802.11 / WiFi WLANs, and Ethernet usually does not use passwords. – sleske Mar 21 at 8:45
  • Instead of blocking the kid's MACs, they could allow the parent's MACs, and if the kids clone the parent's MAC address they'll know very quickly because their computer will complain. – carlin.scott Mar 21 at 17:36
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You can have as many users/passwords as you want by using a radius server and a normal WiFi router (lots of them should support it). This also increases security in general. How to configure this depends on your router. For example if you use openwrt on your router, then it would be explained there.

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    Enterprise != Home – HackSlash Mar 20 at 21:32
  • @HackSlash That's just a name, the same way they sell cheap battery powered drills labelled "professional". I replaced WPA2-Enterprice with "normal WiFi router" because they can often do that protocol. – Nobody Mar 20 at 21:55
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    In this case it requires setting up a RADIUS server which is not something a home user can easily do. The person asking the question likely doesn't have a domain controller to use which means they would be using something like FreeRADIUS which requires Linux. The answer is good but it's not good for normal humans. – HackSlash Mar 20 at 22:57
  • There are companies which offer DaaS (Directory/LDAP as a Service) along with Radius with handful of users for free. Setting up two users (one for home, the other for guests) is as easy as it gets. The downside for the providers I know is that they may heavily rely on having static IP address. – Tomek Mar 21 at 7:23
  • @Tomek Using a dedicated server or an external provider to do something you can easily achieve using only standard features (multiple SSID or MAC filtering in conjunction with an activation schedule) available on most commonly sold wifi router/AP seems very counter-productive. – zakinster Mar 21 at 16:17

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