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The past few years have seen an explosion in smart home devices that connect to your home’s Wi-Fi network like smart speakers, internet-enabled TVs, and even refrigerators and other appliances. With the average household having over 10 connected Internet of Things (IoT) devices, securing them on their own network separate from your main home network is becoming an increasingly important precaution.

“Isolating IoT devices on a separate network enhances security and reduces strain on your primary network for your computers and mobile devices. It’s like adding an extra layer of protection around your smart home gadgets”, says Mark Thompson, technology blogger at

If your dual-band Wi-Fi router supports it, setting up distinct networks for your main devices and IoT devices only takes a few configuration tweaks. Here is a step-by-step guide to get your IoT network up and secured.

Step 1: Log Into Your Router Admin Portal

The first step is accessing your router admin settings. Check the label on your Wi-Fi router for the admin portal URL and login details. This is typically the internal IP address of your router, something like “”.

When you navigate to the admin URL in your browser, you will need to enter the admin username and password set during initial router configuration to proceed.

Once logged into your router dashboard, you can access settings to set up a separate network.

Determine Your IoT Network Needs

Before configuring your secondary network, decide why you need one and which devices will be on it. Main reasons include:

  • Enhanced Security: Isolate IoT devices on their own network to limit hacker access
  • Better Performance: Reduce congestion on primary network
  • More Control: Customize IoT restrictions easily

Typical IoT devices for these networks include:

  • Smart home gadgets: Smart speakers, lights, switches, plugs
  • Internet-connected appliances: TVs, refrigerators, robot vacuums
  • Home monitoring: IP cameras, video doorbells, security systems
  • Kids devices: Tablets, laptops for cyber school

To set up distinct networks, dual-band routers capable of broadcasting different SSIDs at 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz are needed.

Design the IoT Network Topology

Next, map out how your IoT network subnet will function alongside your primary network. Decisions here include:

  • IP Address Scheme: Assign IP address range for IoT devices separate from primary network
  • DHCP Server Settings: Configure router to automatically assign IPs
  • DNS Settings: Route domain name requests
  • SSID and Password: Choose a distinct network name and password for IoT network
  • Security Protocol: WPA2 highest protection

Advanced users can also consider configuring VLANs which uses software to divide a physical network into separate virtual ones.

Configure IoT Router Settings

With your IoT network designed, dive into your router dashboard to set it up. Steps include:

  • Enable any security features like firewall, blacklisting malicious sites, intrusion prevention etc.
  • Under Wireless Settings:
    • Set SSID name, security protocol, password
    • Disable WPS for higher security
    • Enable encryption like WPA3
    • Choose a separate channel from your primary Wi-Fi
  • Configure planned IP scheme, DHCP server, DNS and other network settings

Connect IoT Devices to New Network

With your IoT network configured in your router backend, devices can now join it!

  • For ethernet wired connections, simply connect devices to router ports
  • For Wi-Fi, connect to the SSID you created at the signal strength needed
  • Consider smart power switches to easily control power to wireless devices

Run some connectivity and speed tests to ensure your IoT devices can access the internet properly.

Maintain IoT Network Security

Don’t stop at just setting up the network — actively maintain security with measures like:

  • Set complex admin login credentials and change default password
  • Enable automatic firmware updates for vulnerability patches
  • Create a separate guest network with additional restrictions
  • Employ MAC address filtering to block unauthorized devices
  • Configure advanced firewall rules to enable/block access

Be especially cautious of IoT device vulnerabilities and keep them patched!

Troubleshooting Connectivity Issues

If issues pop up with your new network, common problems include:

  • No internet access: Verify router admin settings are correct, confirm internet subscription is active
  • Spotty wireless coverage: Adjust router placement for optimal coverage, install wireless range extenders if needed
  • Can’t access devices remotely: Check port forwarding is set up properly, security software could be blocking remote access

Don’t hesitate to factory reset your router and start from scratch if things aren’t working!