How to Add a MAC Address to Your Router

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Many home users and organizations have a need for keeping unauthorized users out of their wireless networks. In addition to taking away network bandwidth from legitimate users, intruders can use the network for illegal purposes or eavesdrop on others' traffic to gain sensitive information. A security measure available in many routers is Media Access Control (MAC) address filtering. When it is active, the wireless router only lets a wireless adapter join the network if the adapter's MAC address is contained in a list stored in the router. Intruders using devices with unknown MAC addresses are denied service.

Things You'll Need

  • Ethernet cable
  • Connect your PC to a numbered port on the wireless router with the Ethernet cable.

  • Log into the computer.

  • Launch a Web browser on the computer and navigate to the configuration utility built into the router. The specific Web address depends on the make and model of the router. For example, for a Linksys WRT54GS, navigate to "192.168.1.1".

  • Navigate to the configuration menu for the "MAC address filtering" security feature. For example, on a WRT54GS, click "Wireless," then "Wireless MAC Filter."

  • Type the MAC address you want allowed by the router into the configuration utility. For example, on a WRT54GS, select "Enable" for the "MAC Filter" feature and select "Permit only PCs listed to access the wireless network." Click "Edit MAC Filter List." A new window will come up. Click an empty field and add the new MAC address, then click "Save Settings." The window will close. Click "Save Settings" again in the main browser window. At that point, your router will start allowing the MAC address you added to join the network.

  • Photo Credit Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images
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