Solution: Pre-configuring Product for Parent's WiFi

By: Frank Engelman.  Updated: January 08, 2021.

 

The Problem: Connecting to Parent's WiFi

I want to be sure that the device I have configured for my loved one’s Wi-Fi will connect when they receive it. I can't go and set it up myself..... More about the Problem


 

Solution: Pre-configuring Product for Parent's WiFi

Here are some tips to make sure a new product you send to your parent can easily connect to their WiFi network.

This is a problem that even causes commercial providers of “senior tablets” a problem when trying to pre-configure Wi-Fi before shipment to a customer’s remote loved one.

Home Wi-Fi setups may have been configured by the Internet service provider (ISP), a “Geek Squad” like company or family friend, but the actual security settings may be undocumented. They could be WEP- a very old standard, WPA- a common setting, WPA2- the newer standard, or WPA3- a newest standard.

For loved ones in a facility, the staff may know the Network Name and Password, but not the security setting

I painfully experienced this myself when I had pre-configured a Google Home Nest Max to my Aunt’s Wi-Fi settings, even by creating a copy of her network at my home, yet it failed to connect when she received it. I believe I had put in the wrong security settings.

Her son had to go through a factory reset and enter the SAME settings that I had, and it worked!

The reason was that when a device is in a location where it can DETECT the network, it can choose the proper security settings.

The most likely choice would be WPA2 or sometimes WPA if the network was created a network a few years ago.

Let’s go through a few devices and see what your choices might be:

 

Echo Show

Amazon does an excellent job at this by offering a choice “WPA/WPA2” in setting up an “Other network.” In fact, they recommend doing this when setting up a device to be sent to a loved one.

However, your loved one will still have to verify their Amazon account by entering their password on their Echo Show, unless they already have other Amazon devices on their Wi-Fi and have chosen to save the Wi-Fi password

 

Echo Dot

This is one you can NOT preset to your loved one’s Wi-Fi as its configured ONLY during setup.

If you want to preset this device, you will need to create a Wi-Fi network that is an exact copy of your loved one’s network. Most home routers allow the addition of a Guest Network that you could rename yours or you might be able to use the Hotspot of your mobile phone with your loved one’s settings.

 

iPad

While iPads offer the choice “other network,” they require you to pick ONE of the following decisions for security.

  • WEP
  • WPA
  • WPA2

But here is another problem. The iPad will NOT allow you to save these settings for later connection when the network becomes available. I have found no way to preset these settings for your loved one.

 

Android Tablets

Android allows the setting of WPA/WPA2 which is an optimal selection. It also has the option of created “Saved Networks” where you haven’t yet connected. It’s easy to preset these connections for your loved one.

 

The bottom line… It’s really hard to be sure the device you ship will automatically connect to their Wi-Fi. You may have to walk them through it over the phone or choose a device that also offers a cellular connection.

 

 

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This is part of a series of "Problems" and DIY Technology "Solutions" to the challenges faced by older adults, by Frank Engelman. 

 


 

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Beyond this, we have no financial interest in the products discussed here, and this article is not sponsored or supported in any way by any product vendor. See How we Fund our Work.

 

 

Target customers & users: 
Family of the aging
How important is it?: 
Moderate problem
Key words: