How to filter MAC addresses to block devices on your network

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Prevent unknown devices from connecting to your Wi-Fi network

If you’ve changed your router’s default password and SSID, you’ve already connected a piece of the security puzzle that an attacker would need to solve before they can enter your network. However, there is no need to stop there when you can take additional steps.

Most routers and wireless access points allow devices to be filtered based on their MAC address, which is the physical address of a device on the network. If you enable MAC address filtering, only devices whose MAC address is configured in the wireless router or access point are allowed to connect.

The MAC address is a unique identifier for network hardware, such as wireless network adapters. While it’s possible to spoof the MAC address so that an attacker can pretend to be an authorized user, no casual hacker or curious snoop will go to such great lengths. MAC filtering therefore protects you against the majority of users.

There are other types of filtering that can be done on a router that are different from MAC filtering. For example, content filtering consists of preventing certain keywords or website URLs from passing through the network.

The instructions in this article apply to all versions of Windows and MacOS.

This technique works in all versions of Windows:

  1. Open the Run dialog box using the keyboard shortcut Win + R.
  2. Type cmd in the small window that appears to open the command prompt.
  3. Type ipconfig / all in the command prompt window.
  4. Press the key Entrance to submit the order. You should see a bunch of text appear in this window.
  5. Find the line titled ” Physical address ” or ” Physical access address “. This is the MAC address of this adapter.

If you have multiple network adapters, you will need to review the results to make sure you are getting the MAC address for the correct adapter. There will be a different one for your wired network adapter and your wireless network adapter.

The process of finding the MAC address for filtering on a Mac desktop or laptop is slightly different. Here is how it works.

  1. Select System Preferences in the apple menu.
  2. Click on Network.
  3. Select Wireless in the left panel.
  4. Click on the button Advanced.
  5. Your MAC address appears next to theWi-Fi address.

Refer to the user manual for the wireless network router or access point you are using for information on how to access the setup and administration screens and enable and configure MAC address filtering to protect your wireless network.

For example, if you have a TP-Link router, you can follow the instructions on their website to configure wireless MAC address filtering. Some NETGEAR routers keep the setting in theADVANCED screen> Security> Access control. MAC filtering on a Comtrend AR-5381u router is done through the menu Wireless> MAC Filter as you see here.

To find the support pages for your specific router, just do an online search for the make and model, something like “NETGEAR R9000 MAC filtering”.




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