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Your home WiFi network can be an opportunity to show your personality and be creative. When neighbors and your visitors search for wireless connections in the area, they will see the name you have chosen. Sure, it’s not as obvious to passersby as exterior paint or landscaping, but it’s definitely part of how your neighbors perceive you. If you live in a crowded apartment complex, you may only be known by the volume of your music and your WiFi name. A creative password is also essential to make sure your connection is secure and private. Follow these tips to set up an epic local network connection.

Get creative with the name.
Don’t leave the default string of letters and numbers. While it may seem like you’re keeping your connection anonymous, anyone looking at the signal strength on their device can make a good guess. Walk down the street with your phone looking for connections, and you’ll be able to reliably identify most of the houses on the block, just by the strength of the signal as it peaks and fades. Like the email address you first created in high school, your wireless router is an opportunity for unprofessional flourishes of creativity. Even if you just want to make a pair of breasts with parentheses and dots, only the neighbors can judge you. Consider referencing pop culture or your favorite book series, and you can become the coolest person at the next block party.

Some people use their network name as a way to send messages to neighbors, which can come across as passive aggressive. “PickUpYourDogPoo” may make neighbors who share your frustration laugh, but someone who takes offense might respond in unpredictable ways. For a more consistent positive response, stick to puns and pop culture like “Hide Yo Kids Hide Yo WiFi.”

Get creative (in the right way) with your password.
When creating passwords for your various online accounts, you often need to include capital letters, numbers, and symbols. The result is that people have been trained to think of passwords as single word variations. However, replacing the letter “a” with an “at sign” does not make a password significantly more secure. Similarly, it is usually the first letter of a password that we capitalize. These passwords are also tedious to explain to guests, as you have to explain all the substitutions and which letters are capitalized. Instead of relying on numbers and symbols, think of a string of three random words. Unrelated words are much harder to guess than the usual substitutions and password variations. Ideally, your WiFi password should be very difficult to guess and very easy to explain to guests.

Keep these tips in mind when setting up your home wireless network, and your connection can give you a feeling of warmth and accomplishment every time you log on. The smart handle you haven’t used since AIM can have your whole neighborhood laughing. When you know you’ve got a winning combination, get an extra antenna to boost signal strength throughout your home and further down the street.

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