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What Really Happens When You Don’t Turn On Airplane Mode During Flights?

The Airplane Mode is one of those few things that are unfortunately still relevant in the 21st century. Frequent fliers are all familiar with the earnest requests over the intercom and then the stern orders from the cabin crew, to turn off our phones during take-off and landing, but what exactly does airplane mode do, and how is it helpful to pilots?

While its true that failing to put a device on airplane mode won’t make the plane fall out of the sky, the aviation industry has good reason to impose the rule. No matter what device you are using – Android, iOS or Windows, the airplane mode turns off the radio hardware of the device, preventing the devices to emit radio signals mid-air. The airplane mode turns off the cellular signal, Wi-Fi, bluetooth and the GPS.

This prevents the device from communicating with cell towers and that means no calls, sms or internet. Phones will also stop scanning and attempting to join Wi-Fi and Bluetooth networks. All these are confirmed by the airplane sign on the notification bar of your device.

Over the years, we have been made to believe that a failure to turn the airplane mode on prevents the cockpit-instruments from functioning properly and interferes with the pilot from communicating with the ground staff, basically leading to a gruesome end to our lives and that of our co-passengers as well. But try to sneakily keep a device on during a flight and you’ll soon realize how miraclously you survived the flight. So what exactly is the real reason behind the widespread imposition of this rule?

A pilot happened to come onboard Quora and cared to explain for all of us to know:

Do you recall that annoying sound you hear everytime you get an incoming call near a speaker? The migraine-inducing, nerve-wrenching brrrp..brrp..brrpp sound is the one I’m talking about. Now imagine that sound on the pilot’s headphones when he is trying to decipher an important bit of information from the air-traffic control, and it will suddenly dawn upon you why the airplane mode is so strictly imposed. The pilot will experience the annoying noise on his headphones even if a single phone is turned on and desperately searching for cell towers mid-air. That noise times 50 desperate phones will equal to the pilot simply saying “Fuck this shit”, grab his parachute and jump off the plane.

So, while the cockpit equipments won’t suddenly start to malfunction, keeping the pilot sane during the course of the journey is something an airlines just can’t do without. And if you dont consider this piece of revelatory information important enough, consider this: You know there’s no use searching for a signal 17,000 feet up in the air, but your phone doesn’t. It will continue to use full power to get the slightest signal to please its master and soon enough, for no fault of your smartphone, it will run out of power before you can attempt to take that hazy selfie after you land.

The next you fly and crib about how you can’t glue yourself to your screen for the entire duration you are up in the air, do us all a favor and look out the window to take in the breathtaking view, or better yet, read or even better, sleep.

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VLC Is Finally Available for Windows 10

VLC Is Finally Available for Windows 10

What’s not not to love about VLC Media Player? It’s free, lightweight, intuitive, and plays damn never every file format under the sun. Now, a long-awaited beta is finally available for Windows 10 users. It’s okay to nerd out a little bit.

Besides being its usual wonderful self, this new release works with Cortana voice commands (“Hey Cortana, play Great British Bake Off and literally never stop doing that”) and supports Continuum for mobile-first folks. The forthcoming full release will reportedly work with XBox One and Hololens, but there’s no set date on when it will be available. VLC has been working its way onto all our devices, including Apple TV and Chromecast before that, and we couldn’t be more thankful .

The Windows 10 beta is available for download here. Don’t forget to report your bugs early and often!

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Use These Secret Codes to Unlock Hidden Features on Your iPhone

Use These Secret Codes to Unlock Hidden Features on Your iPhone

Since the earliest days of cellular technology, secret codes have been embedded into the software of our mobile devices, and they’re still in place today. Included in these hidden codes for the iPhone is a special diagnostics mode you can use to troubleshoot problems, get a more accurate signal reception measurement, and more.
This diagnostics mode is called Field Test, and you can enter it by opening up your iPhone’s Phone app and calling *3001#12345#*. You’ll be met with a list of technical menus and measurements that are really only of interest if you’re professionally testing phone hardware or network infrastructure.

Of most interest to casual users is the option to show a more accurate reading of signal strength. In Field Test mode, press and hold the Power button until you see the slider as usual, then press and hold the Home button until the home screen shows-note that you now have a numerical reading instead of dots.

Anything between -40 and -80 is very good (the closer the figure is to zero the better). Anything below -110 and you’re on pretty shaky ground, network-wise. To go back to the normal dots, jump back into Field Test mode and then exit it as you usually would with a single press on the Home button.

It’s a useful feature to have if you’re testing mobile signal in your house or you’re out and about and want to know if your next call is going to last without dropping. It’s an old trick that’s been around a fair while but it’s always worth highlighting these hidden options as there will be people not yet aware of them.

There are other hidden codes, but they’re not quite as useful and tend to vary based on your carrier and your country, so they’re not as reliable either. *#06# displays your iPhone’s unique IMEI (International Mobile Station Equipment Identity) number, for example, while *#33# checks whether voice, SMS, and data are enabled.

There are several such codes for Android devices too, but they tend to be manufacturer-specific, so putting together a current master list is more tricky. Try *#*#4636#*#* to bring up several screens of information on your phone, battery usage and the wifi configuration, or *#*#1472365#*#* to see information about your Google Calendars.

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Chandigarh Airport: International flights to start from August end

The 11-member Parliamentary Committee visits airport, meets officials.

The Chandigarh airport would start operating international flights by August-end, Rajya Sabha MP and chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture Kanwardeep Singh told Chandigarh Newsline.
The 11-member Committee visited the airport Friday and held a meeting with Civil Aviation, Defence and Home Ministry officials to “resolve” the delay in starting of international flights from the city.
“So much money has been spent on this airport. Why haven’t international flights been started? We summoned all the departments concerned, including Ministry of Home, Defense, civil aviation, and every concern stakeholder,” Singh said. “In today’s meeting, we were able to successfully resolve all the issues. I expect that before August end, international operations will be started from this airport.”
Singh, however, did not give the exact date of the first flight or the airline that will operate it.
Asked if the infrastructure available at the airport was sufficient, he said, “The airport authority has done a commendable job — the way the airport has been constructed”.
An official of the parliamentary committee said that the during the meeting the “stakeholders raised their difficulties and then it was discussed how to overcome it.” The official added that several issues including security were discussed during the meeting. Sources said that officials from Chandigarh and Punjab police also attended the meeting.
The Chandigarh International airport was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 11, 2015. It was constructed at a cost of Rs 1,400 crore. The Punjab and Haryana High Court is hearing a PIL filed by Mohali Industries Association regarding the starting of international flights.
Last month, the High Court had directed the Centre to grant all due clearances to IndiGo for starting of international flights from Chandigarh airport by June 10. It directed IndiGo to submit its flight schedule within three weeks thereafter.
Despite repeated attempts, Chandigarh International Airport Chief Executive Officer Sunil Dutt could not be contacted for comment.

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Why You Should Stop Using Telegram Right Now

Why You Should Stop Using Telegram Right Now

Telegram, the supposedly secure messaging app, has over 100 million users. You might even be one of them. If you are, you should probably stop using it right now. Here’s the unfortunate truth about Telegram: it’s not as secure as the company’s marketing campaigns might lead you to believe.
According to interviews with leading encryption and security experts, Telegram has a wide range of security issues and doesn’t live up to its proclamations as a safe and secure messaging application.

One major problem Telegram has is that it doesn’t encrypt chats by default, something the FBI has advocated for. “There are many Telegram users who think they are communicating in an encrypted way, when they’re not because they don’t realize that they have to turn on an additional setting,” Christopher Soghoian, Principal Technologist and Senior Policy Analyst at the American Civil Liberties Union, told Gizmodo. “Telegram has delivered everything that the government wants. Would I prefer that they kind of used industry standard best practices encryption? Certainly. But, if its not turned on by default, it doesn’t matter.”

There’s no reason to not encrypt your messages by default, especially as an application that brands itself one that makes security a high priority. Contrary to the opinions of almost every encryption and security expert, Telegram’s FAQ touts itself as more secure as WhatsApp. But in reality, WhatsApp uses the most highly praised encryption protocol on the market and encrypts every text message and call by default.

Besides making flawed product choices like offering non-encrypted chatting, a boon to would-be hackers or government surveillance programs, experts also indicate that the actual encryption technology is flawed. Telegram did what’s known as “rolling their own encryption,” which is widely considered to be a fatal flaw when developing encrypted messaging apps.
“They use the MTproto protocol which is effectively homegrown and I’ve seen no proper proofs of its security,” Alan Woodward, professor at the University of Surrey told Gizmodo. Woodward criticized Telegram for their lack of transparency regarding their home cooked encryption protocol. “At present we don’t know enough to know if it’s secure or insecure. That’s the trouble with security by obscurity. It’s usual for cryptographers to reveal the algorithms completely, but here we are in the dark. Unless you have considerable experience, you shouldn’t write your own crypto. No one really understands why they did that.”

“When experts universally praise the Signal protocol that Open Whisper Systems uses and that WhatsApp uses, there is no reason to roll your own encryption,” Soghoian said. “This is computer security 101. There’s no reason to roll your own when something perfectly good already exists that has been audited extensively.”
“They basically made up a protocol,” Matthew Green, a professor of cryptography at Johns Hopkins University, told the Daily Dot last year. “According to their blog post, they have a couple of really brilliant mathematicians who aren’t really cryptographers but were smart, so they came up with their own protocol. It’s pretty crazy. It’s not something that a cryptographer would use. That said, I don’t know if it’s broken. But it’s just weird.”

The app also leaks metadata “like a champion,” Woodward said. Earlier this year a security researcher discovered that an attacker could figure out when a user was online and offline, which could help determine who you are talking to and when you use the app.

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7 Fitbit Features You Need to Unlock

7 Fitbit Features You Need to Unlock

Fitbits are a great way to track your activity and encourage yourself to get off the couch. Now, popular web service IFTTT (If This Then That) is getting in on the action. Here’s how you can use IFTTT to plug fitness data from any Fitbit into a host of other services and apps.

If you’re completely new to IFTTT, we’d advise you to go and sign up for a free account immediately. The service lets you connect a wealth of apps and services up to each other using simple logic “recipes.” Each recipe uses a trigger and a subsequent action, opening up a wide range of new possibilities. Here are the best that you can use with your Fitbit.
1) Blog about your activities

You don’t necessarily have to share your runs and sleeping schedule with the entire world, but a blog can act as a daily journal for you to look back on. Alternatively, if you’re already a regular blogger then the occasional automatic Fitbit update can add some variety to your posts.

IFTTT plugs straight into the likes of Blogger, Day One, Medium, Tumblr, and WordPress, so you’ve got a decent choice of options when it comes to where your updates get published, and you can customize which bits of your logged data get posted to the web as well.
2) Get a notification if you’ve missed your daily goals

Your Fitbit device will come with a number of options for setting and reminding you about your daily goals, but you can set up something a little more personalized. Get IFTTT to send a simple notification straight to your phone if you haven’t yet met your workout goals for the day.

To get this up and running, you’ll need the IF app for Android or iOS. After you install that, use the “Daily goal not achieved by…” trigger, select a specific goal from the list, and then pick “IF Notifications” as the resulting action.
3) Send your Fitbit data to other fitness apps

IFTTT works with the Jawbone UP and Misfit apps, so you can pipe data collected from your Fitbit tracker to these other platforms (and vice versa). If you’re using more than one tracker at the same time, it’s a simple way of keeping all your data in the same place.

Set up Fitbit as the trigger action in your recipe-choosing from steps, distance, calories, active minutes, weight or sleep-then pick the app you want to export the data to. There may not be an exact match but most types of data can be transferred over successfully.
4) Remind yourself to go to bed earlier

One of the commands available in the Fitbit channel is triggered if you don’t reach your daily amount of sleep, and that can then be used in all kinds of ways through the other apps. You can log it in Evernote, send out a tweet, or make a note in Google Calendar.

Setting yourself a reminder on iOS is another good option if you’re not getting enough shut-eye and it’s very straightforward thanks to the iOS Reminders channel. IFTTT lets you customize the text of the reminder and specify a particular list name and priority for it.
5) Text your partner if you reach your goals

There are so many channels available on IFTTT that there are all kinds of ways you can celebrate or notify friends if you meet your daily goals. Sending a text (from an Android phone) to your better half is one of the more private and actually useful options, though.

You can customize the text of the message and include data like steps and the date directly from Fitbit’s logs. If you’ve been promising the love of your life that you’re committed to a healthy lifestyle, this is one way of proving it.
6) Block out distractions until you taken enough steps

IFTTT also plugs into the RescueTime app, which has the power to block out distracting websites on your computer-by combining this action with a Fitbit trigger, you can block off access to sites that aren’t all that productive until you’ve recorded enough steps.

Again you need to make use of the “Daily goal not achieved by…” trigger and pick a specific goal and time of day. After that, select RescueTime as the action and Start a FocusTime session where distractions are blocked out (you do need to be a premium user though).
7) Export all of your data

With over 200 actions to choose from, we can’t cover all the options here but hopefully we’ve given you an idea of what’s possible. Essentially, IFTTT enables you to export many different sections of the logs created by Fitbit into other apps to do with as you like.

Whether you use Google Drive, OneNote, Evernote, Dropbox, or something else, you can get your data out of Fitbit and create tables and charts of your own, with very little manual effort required. For more ideas, search for “Fitbit” from the main IFTTT home page.

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iOS 10’s Coolest New Features in Gifs

iOS 10’s Coolest New Features in Gifs

Apple introduced iOS 10 this week during WWDC. While Apple suggested most people wait for the public beta when it is available in July, we decided to ignore that entirely and downloaded the developer preview. As you might expect, iOS 10 is currently full of glitches and lagginess, and some features just straight up don’t work.

Yet we still threw together a preview of what you can expect to arrive on an iPhone near you with the most powerful form of online communication-Gifs.

Raise to wake: Something simple but so crucial that’s been missing from iOS for years. As Apple’s senior VP of software Craig Federighi mentioned on stage, most people blow past the lock screen ever since Apple introduced Touch ID login. Now, iOS 10 takes notice of the sensors embedded inside the iPhone and blinks on whenever you raise the display. Life changing? Nah, but I’m loving it so far.

Interactive notifications: One of the biggest visual changes in iOS 10 is notifications. On previous versions of iOS, all you could really do is dismiss notifications or launch directly into the app. Now, you can respond directly (depending on your security settings) or get more information thanks to 3D touch. Press, hold, and bam-more info (phones without 3D touch will also receive this feature). The notifications themselves also look different, more like a frosted-glass bubble than simple Helvetica text.

Swipe-able shortcuts: Apple has also introduced swipe shortcuts on the lockscreen, so swiping left launches the camera, right brings up widgets, and swiping up displays Control Center. Once in Control Center, you can swipe left for a redesigned music controller, which works with any music player not just Apple Music.

No more swipe to unlock: “Swipe to Unlock” has been the iPhone’s digital welcome mat for years. Now, Apple’s ditching it because of its new swipe-centric shortcuts. To log into the phone, you now press the home button (activating Touch ID) and then you’re ready to go. Obviously, if you press the home button with an unregistered fingerprint, you’re then prompted with a passcode. If you’re on an iPhone 5 or 5c, you’ll have to punch in a code like normal.

Bottom line: iOS 10 is finally making your lockscreen useful.

All New Redesigns

Apple Music: The app launched last WWDC with lots of fanfare. Unfortunately, its design was too chaotic to be useful. Now, Apple’s brought order to that chaos with a smarter use of color, a simpler design, and new features-like lyrics and previously downloaded music-to make the app genuinely more useful.

News: When Apple kicked Newsstand to the curb, there was much rejoicing, but it was also clear it’s replacement needed a lot of work . With iOS 10, Apple has made News an app that just might convince you to replace Flipboard. Section headers are more clearly defined, Apple optimized the app to work much better on smaller screens, and so far, suggestions seem much smarter than they used to be. For instance, as soon as I launched the app for the first time in iOS 10, it offered up Android as a section of interest. That is obviously on point.

Home: HomeKit, Apple’s smart home protocol, has been around for years. An easy way to control and manage that system has not. That’s why Apple announced Home on Monday, a new app (sort of like Samsung’s SmartThings) that keeps track of everything going on in your smart abode. You can create scenes for every occasion. So you can tell Siri “Good Morning” and Home will automate your smarthome morning settings, like turning on the coffee maker, opening shades, setting lights to dim. I can’t wait to make a “Hangover” scene.

Maps: With the addition of third-party integrations, Apple has come a long way from the dumpster fire that used to be Apple Maps. Now, Apple offers en route traffic reports, slick animations, and better designed interface for searching for various points of interests. It’s not quite enough to dissuade me from Google’s own version of digital cartography but it’s not as big of a functional gap as it used to be.

Photos + Memories: If Home is a hat tip to SmartThings, Apple’s new Photos really wants you to stop downloading Google Photos for iPhone. With iOS 10, Apple is implementing image/face recognition as well as smart tools that can recognize trips and automatically create a small clip from videos or photos. This clip can even be edited to fit different songs and moods.

Other big changes

A new age for Messages: Messages has officially announced its intentions to dethrone Snapchat and Facebook Messenger as the messenger app to rule them all. It can best be described as the cutesification of messaging by adding tons of new features like handwritten notes, text animations, bigger emojis, animations that take up entire screens, and a whole new app store for loading up messages with GIFs, images, or whatever you can probably think of. It’s a huge overhaul, and there’s a reason why Federighi saved it for last on Monday.

Useful widgets: When Apple reintroduced Spotlight on iOS 9 as just a right swipe away from your homescreen, the results were underwhelming. Really, all it offered you were quick access to frequently used apps and contacts…woohoo. Now, that same screen real estate is essentially the old widgets drop-down menu. You can pick and choose which widgets live in Spotlight and also rearrange them to give some widgets preference over others. The idea is to get people actually using widgets. It just might work.

Rich 3D touch shortcuts: Apple demoed a cool way to pop-up app-specific widgets through 3D touch, and you can even add those widgets instantly right from the homescreen. Cool! Unfortunately, I could only get the widget working on Apple’s apps. Apps like ESPN do not seem to be live quite yet.

DELETE APPLE APPS: Now, you can delete almost all of Apple’s stock apps. Goodbye, “Apple Shit” folder. Technically, they’re not completely gone, but close enough. I won’t miss you.

Things that don’t seem to be working yet

3rd-party integrations: Since this is just a preview, it seems a few things aren’t quite live yet. For instance, I was unable to get Siri to interact with third-party apps like Uber (which was demoed on the stage) and Maps also doesn’t seem to have app integration quite yet.

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The New NASA X-Plane Will Be Fully Electric

The New NASA X-Plane Will Be Fully Electric

Artist’s concept of NASA’s X-57 aircraft. Image: NASA Langley/Advanced Concepts Lab, AMA, Inc.
Last year, NASA casually announced its intention to disrupt the aviation industry by sticking fully electric commercial passenger planes in the sky in 20 years. In a small step toward that goal, space agency director Charles Bolden has just announced plans for the X-57, the first all-electric addition to the famous X-plane series.
The single-seater airplane, nicknamed “Maxwell” after 19th century electromagnetism pioneer James Clerk Maxwell, will demonstrate key engineering ideas that could be incorporated into the more ambitious carbon-free planes of the future. Chief among the X-57’s innovations is the propulsion system, which consists of fourteen electric motors positioned across a strikingly thin wing. The motors will be powered by batteries that can be charged on the ground using solar cells, the Wall Street Journal reports.

While all fourteen motors will be used during takeoff and landing, only two-the larger motors positioned on each wing tip-are needed to keep the plane at cruising altitudes for short jaunts of up to 100 miles. The hope is that by distributing electric power across the wing, the plane will cut the energy needed to cruise at up to 175 mph by a factor of five.

NASA has a four year timeline for the X-57, which could be followed by a series of five larger electric fliers capable of holding more passengers and cargo, the Washington Post reports.

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Self-Repairing Technology To Own the Future, Says Research

The fear of watching the screen of our phones crack when dropped accidentally is real. It is indeed a heart-in-the-mouth moment every time our precious devices decide to attempt suicide. Will the screen be okay? Will the touch work fine? Will there be scratches?

Motorola tried to address the problem with the Moto X Force, that comes with a shatter-proof display. But that is just brute strength of the screen and once hit with momentum big enough, it will shatter. And not repair itself back.

Pretty soon, though, such worries will be a thing of the past. If latest research is anything to go by, we will soon be seeing self-repairing technologies coming out of science labs into the mainstream.

Heck, we already have the LG G Flex, which apart from being the first phone with a curved screen, also boasts a self-repairing back. Although, the technology used by LG is different than the one being tested out, the objective is the same.

To achieve the self-repairing objective, scientists are focusing their attention on polymers- the compounds present in plastics and plastics are used to make almost everything we see around us, from smartphones to shoes to footballs.

So far, the most approachable self-repairing innovation involves micro-capsules of adhesive substance embedded into the base materials. When the materials cracks, the capsules break open and releases the adhesive material, or glue to fill up the cracks and solidify. The adhesive substance is made of monomers (the basic constituent of polymers). So when the capsules break open, the adhesive monomers is exposed to the polymers which then reacts with it, to fill the cracked area. Ideally, the process will require a powdered chemical catalyst to allow the reaction to occur at room temperature and without manual intervention. Sounds futuristic enough?

But the main problem of this technology is that the self-repairing will happen only once, as once the capsules break, another crack will have nothing to rely on. There are also strict limits to how big or deep a crack have to be, to be filled.

The technology has already been put to use in manufacturing self-repairing airplane wings. In 2015, Professor Duncan Wass and his team of researchers in the University of Bristol in England, used the micro-capsule embedding technology to develop airplane wings that can self-repair mid air. It was found the repaired material was just as strong as the original one.

The latest focus is now to employ the technology on carbon-fibre as that will unleash a lot of avenues to explore – from automobiles to wind mills. A similar development is being undertaken in the construction industry as well, which involves limestone producing bacteria embedded in concrete, that can repair cracks in buildings almost flawlessly.

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How to Give Guests to Access Your Wi-Fi Without Exposing Your Network

How to Give Guests to Access Your Wi-Fi Without Exposing Your Network

Most of us have a steady stream of visitors to our houses-friends, family, landlords, pizza delivery guys, Airbnb travelers-and many of them are going to want access to your wi-fi at some point. The normal process would be to hand over the passcode printed on the back of your router, but there’s actually a much better option: a guest access point.
The main advantage is that this separate network (which appears as a different SSID or network name) is locked out of the rest of your devices. Things like network printers, NAS drives, shared files, and other sensitive network information won’t be available from the guest access point. You’re essentially giving people internet access-and that’s it.

Depending on the hardware you’ve installed at home, you might also be able to put restrictions on the amount of bandwidth guests can use, the times they’re able to get online, even what they’re allowed to look at. Meanwhile, your standard network stays separate for your own use.

Having two wi-fi networks-one for you, one for guests-lets you configure each one for specific needs. For example, you can turn off the guest network without affecting anyone one the primary network. You can also restrict how much bandwidth your guest network is allowed to use if you don’t want your guests doing any illegal downloading.

You can give your guest network a simple password that’s easier to remember as well, to save a lot of typing and repeating. Remember all of your computers and devices are still locked away behind the long, complicated password protecting the primary network.

For the ultimate in convenience, you don’t have to give your guest network a password at all. Bear in mind that this means anyone inside or outside your home can get connected and spy on the traffic passing through it (that’s probably something you should tell your guests as they’re about to log in).

If your house is remote enough and you regularly use network monitoring tools (and you trust your neighbors and visitors), then going password-free on your guest network is an option. Otherwise, it’s a better idea to use a very simple password for added protection.

How to set up a guest access point

This is going to depend on your router. If support for guest access isn’t built in, you’ll need to connect a separate router or wireless access point that does have the function, or-for the more technically adventurous-install DD-WRT over your router’s existing firmware.

A quick web search or flick through the manual should be enough to determine whether your router has guest access capabilities. This is one of those reasons why people choose to upgrade their kit: the best routers let you set up multiple wi-fi networks and even limit the bandwidth used on each of them.

Many routers come with a simple one-page list of settings for configuring your guest network and it shouldn’t take you too long to get set up. You can find instructions online for Linksys, D-Link, Asus, Netgear and most other manufacturers, though the majority of the options should be simple enough to understand without any help.

Some hardware lets you isolate guest devices from each other for greater security, and there’s often the opportunity to hide the SSID name from being broadcast-not the friendliest option if you want to make it easy for your guests to get online. We’ve also seen firmware that limits how many guests can connect at once.