AT&T’s default wi-fi passwords aren’t the worst I’ve seen, but they aren’t super-secure either. So here’s how to change an AT&T U-Verse wifi password. The same trick works with AT&T Fiber, since it uses the same residential gateways.
How to change an AT&T U-Verse wifi password
Point your web browser at your AT&T residential gateway, which is probably 192.168.1.254. Navigate to Settings > LAN > Wi-Fi. Log in when the gateway prompts you for a password. The password is printed on the side of the device.
Scroll down to Wi-Fi Password. You should see an option labeled Use default wi-fi network password and another one labeled Use custom wi-fi network password. Click the button next to the second option, Use custom wi-fi network password.
Now enter the password you want to use. Choose a password that’s at least 12 characters long and uses a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. Ideally, use both upper and lowercase letters. Try to pick something that won’t make you utter 49 different combinations of swear words as you type it on a phone. Reducing how much you have to flip back and forth between letters and numbers and symbols reduces the password complexity somewhat, but I know you won’t type it if it’s too easy. Here’s some advice on creating a password.
If your gateway has both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz radios, which most newer models do, scroll down until you see Wi-Fi Password again. Repeat the same steps. I recommend using the same password on both bands, so your wireless devices can roam between the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands.
How to change your AT&T wi-fi network name
You can change your wi-fi network’s name, or SSID, on the same screen. It’s just four fields up from the password. If you have both 2.4 and 5 GHz bands, name them the same so your devices can roam between them. AT&T’s hardware supports that pretty well. Choose a nondescript name that doesn’t call attention to itself. Don’t use your last name or your house number. The default network name is ATT followed by some gobbledygook. Remove ATT from it, and you’ve got a pretty good network name. I frequently just use whatever time of day it is. If it happens to be 8:10 AM when I’m working on the network, I name the network 810.
I don’t like having ATT in the network name because that suggests at a glance that I might be the guy in the neighborhood who has gigabit.
Whether to broadcast your SSID is controversial. But you’re better off broadcasting it. Here’s why.
I recommend one more thing
AT&T residential gateways ship with a feature called WPS, or Wi-fi Protected Setup, enabled by default. The idea is that you can press a button and then not have to type passwords. The problem is this feature is pretty easy to subvert, rendering your password essentially useless. We’ve known since 2011 it was problematic, but for some reason we keep using it. I really recommend you disable WPS. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it makes more sense to use a password you’re willing to type. You end up with a more secure wireless network.
Right under the password, there’s a section titled Wi-Fi Protected Setup. Pick the dropdown option labeled Disabled. If your router has both 2.4 and 5 GHz bands, be sure to look under each band’s section for an option to disable Wi-Fi Protected Setup. After you select Disabled in both places, scroll down and click Save.
Now you have a much more secure wireless network.