A public network is a network to which anyone, i.e., the general public, has access and can connect to other networks or the Internet.
Should I set my network to public or private?
Windows has a ~70% market share among desktop users, so if you are, like many, a Windows user, you may have noticed that Windows sets all new connections to a public network by default, which makes sense from a security standpoint but can cause connections to be blocked. Setting a network to Public or Private modifies firewall rules and impacts services like printing to a network printer.
Wi-Fi connections, in particular, should be set to public, which is why it is the default setting. If you’re in a coffee shop, you don’t want other customers to be able to connect to your laptop. In the office or at home, on the other hand, you typically trust other devices and want to share files or print. Windows will attempt to detect a wired network depending on a few characteristics, such as the router or company servers.
If the network is new or unidentified, Windows asks if you want your PC to be “discoverable.” Allow this only on a trustworthy network. This determines whether the network is public or private.
Is my Wi-Fi a public network?
Wi-Fi in a home setting is typically considered a “private network,” as most people password-protect their home routers to prevent those outside the home from connecting to the Wi-Fi. However, from a security standpoint, this doesn’t make your home Wi-Fi as secure as an actual private network.
You can check your settings to see if your network is public. When you connect to a Wi-Fi network for the first time in Windows, it is set to public by default. This is the suggested setting. However, you can make it public or private depending on the network and what you want to do.
In most circumstances, you should connect to a public network. Your device will be concealed from other network devices. As a result, you cannot share files or printers on your PC.
On a private network, your device is discoverable by other network devices, and you can use it for file and printer sharing. You should know and trust the network’s users and devices.
Is it safe to connect to public WIFI?
With coffee shops, hotels, airports, and many other venues providing free public Wi-Fi to its customers, it’s a simple way to check your emails, catch up on social media, or surf the web while out and about. Conversely, cybercriminals frequently spy on public Wi-Fi networks and intercept data sent across the link. The thief can access the users’ banking credentials using tactics like clickjacking, account passwords, and other vital information.
Using a VPN to keep safe on a public network is one option. You’ll use a ‘private tunnel’ that encrypts all your data as it travels through the network. This can prevent thieves hiding on the network from intercepting your data.
Public networks are the Internet connections you find when out and about. While they are great for getting online when you are not home, remember that they may leave you vulnerable to cyberattacks.