Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

This is where we answer the most common questions have. .

Before you use WiFi Blocker

Don’t block yourself!
Hold off pausing/scheduling/blocking any devices until you’re sure your device is ticked under ‘Always Allowed’. Some routers only block the internet side of traffic, others block devices from WiFi. If the later, and you block yourself, you’ll not be able to unblock yourself without either connecting as a different device and unblocking yourself through the routers web admin page, or factory resetting your router. 
Blocking yourself on certain routers will lock you out your own WiFi/Internet. The app tried to detect your device on setup and mark your device as “Always Allowed” but this can fail for a number of factors (i.e. Random MAC address/Private WiFi Settings set on your device, or permissions granted to the app declined).  
 
How to identify your device easily
If your device running WiFi Blocker on has ‘Random MAC address’ (Android) or Private (iOS) setting enabled for your private WiFi network, you may find it difficult identifying your device.
            For that reason you’re best disabling Random MAC address setting for your Private WiFi network. See detailed guide…”Random MAC address issues and how to avoid them” below.
If your device was detected correctly, under “Always Allowed” your Device should be auto ticked, and should not able to block your device.

 

 Not all my devices are showing in the app, how do I discover them?

Detecting all your devices:

The WiFi blocker Devices page lists out all devices seen on your router. The App gets the device list from your router, either by pressing refresh button on the Devices page, or on App launch. To detect new devices you need to refresh the list or re-open the app.

Some routers only display currently connected devices, some routers keep memory of all devices seen on your network until router is either rebooted or factory reset. It is sometimes needed to refresh the device list or relaunch/open the app while devices are using your router to detect all devices depending on how your router stores device lists. For example if your router only lists current connected devices, an an XBox is not showing on your list of devices, you need to power on the XBox, and connect it to the internet, then open the WiFi-Blocker app or perform a device Refresh operation, and the App will store the Device info within the app so you can block/unblock/schedule anytime in the future.

 

How do I track down Devices? Devices show up with little information? I see 3 x iPhones and I have trouble identifying which is which.

The Devices page lists out all devices seen on your router. you might see a lot of devices listed that you don’t know who’s device is who’s. If your router maintains a list of routers since last rebooted or factory reset (see previous faq) then you might have a lot of devices, even devices that you no longer own, or devices listed of friends, and friendly names (hostnames) come from devices. Android devices sometimes don’t display these names either. Additionally more recent trends for mobile devices and laptop OS’ are offering users WiFi MAC Address Privacy options to hide the real MAC address so retail do not track your WiFi MAC address while its on and out shopping – which causes any router parental control system some challenges, …  so you need to do some investigations to correctly identify who’s device is who’s in your home.

TIP: Track down one device at a time, it will simplify the process. Once you track down a unknown device you can rename devices within the App.

        You can track down the devices on your network by a number of methods :-

1.By Device name (hostname)

    Some devices display hostnames that allow you easy identification. i.e. Mr Robot’s iPhone. This is easiest method, but sometimes hostname is not available and you will need to use one of the other options. Device names can change (for example on iPhone the device name is the hostname and your kids can change these or not even set the device name, maybe leaving it as just “iPhone”)

2.By MAC Address

The WiFi or Wired MAC address is the physical address of the device. Represented by Hex format like AA:BB: CC: DD: EE: FF.

Mac addresses are unique identifiers for device hardware. You can cross reference the MAC address reported in the App’s device list with the MAC address on the device. 

Each device type will allow you to display the MAC Address(under iPhone it is the WIFI Address under Settings, General, About page.   Match these addresses. Every device is different in where the MAC address is viewable.

Usually MAC address is found under Network settings.

 If a device on your WiFi uses Random MAC address, you will really want to switch this setting to use the actual MAC Address as this can cause various issues. See Random MAC address issues / solutions page for more details. Try and set these to use actual MAC address. The Devices page will display ‘Random MAC Address?’ (Android and soon iOS feature) if the App Detects the MAC address might be a random generated address.

 3.By Device Manufacturer

 The Device Manufacturer name is calculated from the devices MAC address. Each MAC address range is reserved by Manufacturers. Mostly this can work, but some devices with OEM or 3rd party networking adapters can display some unknown or different Manufacturer name than the branded device. i.e.some XBox’s might not have Microsoft as the manufacturer. Also if a device has set their wiFi MAC address as private, the device manufacturer info is usually not available.

4.By Blocking the device

Before blocking any devices ensure your device running WiFi Blocker is identified and confident the App has your device marked as Always Allowed. See “Don’t block yourself” above as some routers lock you out after doing this.

Blocking a device and checking device has no internet or listening for the screams and shouting NO INTERNET or UUUUGHHHHH. Not the best method but is good to test out the blocking to ensure it is working. Avoid blocking your own device.

5. By Device Connected/Active state

Using process of elimination, Power down your devices and power up one at a time, or when child 1 is in house on WiFi and child 2 is out to lunch with iPhone 2. The active connected devices show in blue, and the not connected devices show as grey icons for WiFi/Wired icon/connection status.

Refresh the Device within the app and filter by Active devices.

Once you track down each device, you can rename each device to give it a display name. Click on each device, then rename the display name and apply / save..

 

I have a Sky / NowTV router, and having trouble setting up WiFi-Blocker

Sky / Now TV routers – Important Usage Info

Your Sky or NowTV Hub is different to most routers, in that it does not implement Parental Controls using MAC Filtering per device on the router. We have added a parental control solution using the Hubs Firewall settings. There are limitations in this solution that come from the router limits. The limitations are that you can setup Resrictions (block/restrict, auto schedule restrictions at bed times, unrestrict) to only a single group of devices. Individual blocking is not supported. You have two groups of devices that you setup through ‘Always Allowed’ menu, where you define which devices are always allowed (never under restrictions), and devices that the restrictions apply to.

Making any changes in ‘Always Allowed’ requires a reboot of the router. Note the initial pain in the setup performed is only required when you first setup the App, or when you change devices. Once this initial configuration is done, it is simple load App, set any restriction to the group of kids devices (i.e. pause internet, schedule internet access based on time of day, or unrestrict internet).

Typically you should wait until you find all devices on your network first to save repeating this process. In addition you should really avoid applying ‘Always Allowed’ unticking device restrictions while any device is set to Random MAC address mode as this can result in devices not being applied to the restrictions if the MAC address changes, as IP address reservation ties address to a MAC address. See Random MAC address page for more info.

Opening the app while devices are connected to the Hub, or refreshing the Devices page will capture current connected devices and whether Random MAC Filtering needs addressing.

Once all your home devices are captured by the App and you’ve eliminated any Random MAC address devices to use their actual MAC address, you can visit ‘Always Allowed’ page and untick any devices you want to control internet access. Apply and reboot. 

Unticked devices are allocated IP address v4 range 192.168.0.150 to 192.168.0.199. 

This range is the range of IP addresses that are blocked by restrictions.

Note: if any devices are currently connected to the WiFi hub, they will not get this new IP address immediately and can take up to 7 days to get this new assigned address that allows the device to be restricted. You can force devices to pickup the new address typically by powering them down for 5 minutes. When they boot back up they will request their new address and get an address in the restriction range.

You can check / refresh the Devices list to see if the restricted device (unticked device in ‘Always Allowed’) has its new address and should be in range 192.168.0.150 to 192.168.0.190.

Summary Steps to setup Restrictions: (One off setup)

a) Identify find all your house devices by powering them on connecting them to the WiFi Hub, and in Devices page refresh list until all your devices are visible. Any devices with non friendly names you can rename in the Devices page under each device to identify each devices easier.

b) Identify if any devices have Random MAC Address setting enabled (usually Android devices or PCs) and set any of these devices to use actual MAC Address.

c) Once happy you have all your devices identified in the App, optionally power down all the devices you wish to restrict before setting ‘Always Allowed’ as this saves doing this later.

d) Visit ‘Always Allowed’ page and untick all the devices you want to restrict, and press Apply and Reboot.

d) Allow up to 5 minutes for the Hub to reboot

e) Unticked devices will now start getting new IP Address in range 192.168.0.150 to 192.168.0.199. If devices were connected to the Hub during the Always Allowed step they can take up to 7 days to get new address assigned, be patient, next time the device powers up from cold or attaches to your Hub from another connection it will get new address.

f) Visit Schedules page and setup your weekly device downtime schedule, i.e. kids bed time for the week

f) Setup should be complete. Double check addresses in Devices page. Any in 150 to 199 range will be restricted based on the Restriction applied (Play, Paused, Scheduled).

g) Setting restrictions is now easy : launch app, set desired restriction. Paused will keep internet paused until you toggle it to Play or Schedule. All devices in Always Allowed will get restrictions applied.

NOTE: Rebooting your router while devices attached will result in device name not displaying friendly/host names until they reconnect in.

NOTE: App sharing on multiple devices (Mum/Dad each running app) or visiting your Hub web page from another device : Your Hub does not like multiple login connections to the Web Interface or App on different devices. It can take 40 minutes for a connection on one device to be released.

NOTE: The People page is not too relevant for Sky NowTv Hubs as individual blocking is not supported. A coming feature will allow you to monitor which kids have their devices on after set times that you can chase up to turn off devices before bed.

Hopefully the new Sky router that is due out very soon has Parental Controls baked into the router this will make life much easier for parents

Privacy / Random MAC addresses problem – related to identifying devices

Random MAC Address Help

The Random/Privacy/HideMy MAC address problemMobile devices are starting to add a privacy feature to hide your real devices identify by setting a ‘Random MAC Address’ / WiFi Privacy for all Wireless networks.

            This is designed to stop Retail tracking you while shopping (Which is great!).

However on your own private home network this is not needed, additionally this setting causes all Router parental controls or security systems a headache as your device or your kids devices will show on your router as a random device with no easy way to identify each device. Router parental controls almost always use MAC Address filtering to pause/schedule/unpause.

So you see the problem, you can pause your kids device, next time they connect they get new address (usually same address each time but with some parts masked out) and are unblocked as treated as a new device.

If you see a random device it could be your own device running the WiFi Blocker app. You could end up blocking yourself which can cause other problems (see ‘Don’t Block yourself from your own WiFi’ problem).

 SolutionThe solution is to identify any devices with a Random MAC address from the app’s Devices page, and track the physical device down, and visit all devices with this setting and set to ‘Privacy – Use device MAC’ (May be different per device, i.e. iOS has “Privacy toggle under the WiFi network) you can switch off.

            This will 

 a) identify the device better with manufacturer info and hostname saving you scratching your head trying to locate your kids device on your router,

 b) keep the device with the same address always, so devices that are pause/unpaused/scheduled stick and

c) avoid you blocking your own device from your WiFi by accident, causing potential headache

d) help identify when there are strange devices hijacking your WiFi

NOTE: Disabling Random MAC address feature and using ‘Use Device MAC’ is per WiFi network, so you should only do this for your Private networks.

NOTE+: Maybe don’t inform the kids what you’re up to when setting this on their device as its a workaround they can use to bypass access rules which you might need to have 2 entries for your kids, their Real MAC Address and their Privacy version.

Recommended Action:

 Locate devices with Random MAC Address set (Android devices usually). In WiFi-Blocker devices page, potential devices with Random MAC address are highlighted with 

              ‘Random MAC Address?’ (image1). 

     or No Device manufacturing name

You are best checking each physical device as other potential devices with Random MAC addresses might show up with the same name but different MAC addresses.

Then on each physical device with a Random MAC address:

For Android Devices…

                1. Open the Android ‘Settings’ app

                2. Navigate ‘Network & internet’

                3. Select ‘WiFi’

                4. Select WiFi

                5. Select ‘Advanced’

                6. Select ‘Privacy’

                7. Select ‘Use device MAC’ (see image2)

 

For iOS Devices…

                1. Open iOS Settings app

                2. select Wi-Fi

                3. Select WiFi

                4. Toggle off “Private Address”.

 

For Windows 10 Devices…

                1. Open Start Menu and go to Settings

                2. Click on Network and Internet

                3. In the left panel, click on Wi-Fi

                4. In the right panel, go to Manage Wi-Fi Settings

                5. Under Random hardware addresses, select Off

Repeat above steps for each home private WiFi network (i.e. if you have 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz networks with different names or more than one WiFi router, repeat for each)

 

Then in WiFi Blocker App:

                1. Visit Device list and refresh, checking device now shows correctly,

                2. Delete random MAC address devices to tidy up your device list from Device Details.

                3. Last but definitely not least, If this is your Android device running WiFi-Blocker, Visit Restrictions ‘Always Allowed’ and ensure your now correctly identified device is ticked

Your devices on your Home network should all now be easier identified and Router parental controls working correctly.