Viewing usage on your computer over a wireless Internet connection is fairly simple to do. With little effort, you can view the computers connected to your wireless network and also view Internet browsing history. This may be important to check what your children may be viewing while on the Internet or seeing what computers are using your wireless connection that shouldn't be.
Viewing Computers Connected to Your Network
If you suspect that someone is leeching your wireless connection, there are several ways in which you can check. On method is to view the IP addresses connected to your router. To do this, click on your Start menu, then select "Run." Type "cmd" in the Run box, then hit "Enter." Once a new window pops up, type "ipconfig" and press "Enter" again. This will bring up a list of IP addresses using your router. You can count the number of IP addresses listed compared with the number of computers that should be connected to your router to determine whether there are any extras.
You can also see the MAC addresses, or media access control addresses, of all computers connected to your network. To do so, open your Start menu and select Run. In the box that pops up, type "cmd," then press Enter. After you have the new window open, type in "ipconfig /all" and press Enter. In the window, the column reading Physical Address is what lists MAC addresses.
Checking your firewall logs can help you see if people are intruding upon your Internet connection as well. To check, open your firewall program and search for the logs. When looking at the logs, see if there is any unusual activity going on. Sometimes, you can see if a certain IP address is repeatedly trying to access your connection.
Checking Browser History
Checking your browser history lets you see which websites have been visited on your computer or, with the right tools, any computer on your network. To check browser history in Mozilla Firefox, open your Firefox browser and select the History menu from the menu bar at the top of the browser. When opening the History menu, click "Show All History" to view all websites browsed on your computer. A shortcut to get to this is clicking Ctrl+Alt+H. With Internet Explorer, you can press Ctrl+H to bring up your history. For IE 7, click the star icon in the top left corner, or for IE6 and below, you can click the icon that resembles a clock with an arrow.
Some routers have the option to log all activity from all computers on your network. By logging the activity, you can monitor the usage of other computers. Linksys routers are known to have this setting. To check, you would need to open your router's administrative settings and search for log settings. Most routers are set to have a home address of 192.168.1.1 unless it has been changed by yourself or another administrator.
There are several third-party software downloads available to check your browsing history and also who is on your wireless Internet connection. For example, Enhanced History Viewer is a plugin for Firefox that lets you see more detailed history information. IE History View for Internet Explorer works in a similar manner. Advanced Port Scanner will allow you to see all the ports connected to your router.