How to Schedule Internet Cutoff Times on a Router
Learn about how to set time limits for your internet.
A very powerful feature of setting up an effective blocking solution is to ensure that distractions are removed while you're trying to sleep. One of the simplest ways to do this is to turn off your Wi-Fi at night.
If you're looking for information about how to schedule an internet shutoff on a router, this article will help walk you through the process of getting started. There are many different router models, each with their own instructions for how to do this. We'll help guide you through the process getting set up, including helping you avoid the common pitfalls when setting up your home network for a scheduled shutoff.
Make sure you consider the consequences of how creating an internet shutoff will affect other devices and people at your home!
Before you start making drastic changes to your internet at home, make sure you're ready. I would strongly recommend reading this section first, so you can eliminate any surprises later.
First, you need to be aware of who's using your Wi-Fi:
- Do you have a shared internet connection? For example, roommates, apartment Wi-Fi, or something similar. If this is the case, you can't set any kind of restriction on everyone else's internet.
- Do you have multiple family members? Different family members might have different needs or require extra attention.
- Is it just you? If you're the only one who is using your router's connection, then it most likely means you will need to have more emphasis on bypassing your own protections.
For example, most smart cameras or other smart devices will need to be connected to the internet constantly in order to be useful.
Most smartphones can bypass your router's internet shutoff by simply connecting to mobile data, so you might need to take a second look at those devices.
Parent's might want to need their children to have an earlier shutoff time. Other people in your household might also have different sleep schedules.
Lastly, you'll need to consider what schedule works best. For most people, setting aside the hours of 10 pm till 7 am might be enough, but others might want to set it earlier. You might set an extension on the weekends (if your router supports setting custom times) or have certain days where you set the shutoff earlier.
This can also get more complicated if you have multiple people participating in the shutoff. You'll need to make sure that each person who uses your internet is aware of when the outage will occur.
Going through these questions, you might have realized that your own setup might have some issues. The most common example is realizing that you have devices that need to be online all the time, like a security camera.
For the most part, if you need to have your devices operate on different schedules, your router needs to support device grouping. Some devices you might need on a different schedule include:
- Smart devices, especially security cameras.
- Smart TVs.
- Children's devices.
You might also consider using a more advanced approach by using a DNS filter, one that allows you to assign schedules and enforce filtering in one place. Many DNS filters can be installed on each device separately, and even allow you to schedule policies that disconnect your devices independently.
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You should have a better idea of what's connected to your network. I strongly recommend reviewing your devices first, since it will be a lot easier to troubleshoot a problem you might encounter later.
Now we can start making changes on your router. There are hundreds (if not thousands) of different router models. A very common feature that most (although not all) routers possess is the ability to set internet downtime, also known as internet cutoff.
There are a few different options that you can consider setting an internet shutoff:
The best way to find out which exact settings you can enable on your router is to look it up online. Usually, a quick search for "[your router model number] internet cutoff" will very quickly show you results from the official manufacturers page.
I don't have internet shutoff settings on my router. What do I do?
Sometimes, you have a little more flexibility with how you can enable a cutoff:
- Total Internet Shutoff: Completely turns of the internet for all devices. Usually allows you to set more detailed and custom schedules.
- Custom Dates and Times: Some routers will let you customize what days have which schedules.
- Change cutoff settings with an app: Some routers (especially the higher end ones) might even offer the ability for you to change the cutoff settings with an app.
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Some routers simply don't have the ability to set a schedule. Even if your router can, then any settings, filters, or controls that you enable on your router only work so long as your devices are connected to it. This can be a huge problem for devices like smartphones or laptops that can travel or connect to other networks.
How can you prevent this? The best way is to have some kind of restrictions set on your device. If you're using a DNS Filter , then you can have the option to install it on your individual devices, in addition to your router.
A DNS Filter is an important part of a blocking solution, since its main job is to prevent access to certain kinds of websites. Some DNS filtering services let you schedule policies, so you can block certain kinds of websites at different times of the day. This is a lot more effective if you pair it with fact that a lot of DNS filters can be installed locally on your devices, and function regardless of the type of network they're connected to.
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In many cases, yes. The best way you can do this is by forcing your smartphone to only use approved networks to access the internet, such as your home network.
The best way to do this is to supervise or manage the device. With a supervised device, one of the restrictions you can enable is which networks the smartphone is allowed to connect to.
One brand of routers we highly recommend is Netgear, since we find that most of their routers are very customizable. They provide the features we look for when trying to set up a blocking solution at home. We compare some more options for routers in our blogpost.