DIY: Limiting IP addresses on routers

Jack Wallen answers a reader's question about configuring a Wi-Fi router to set up a whitelist or a blacklist.

TechRepublic member Michael has a question about Wi-Fi that should be simple, but is it? Read his question and my answer in this latest edition of Ask Jack.

Q: I would like to configure a Wi-Fi router to give access to a single IP or URL and no other access. I am assuming this is possible, but have not found a clear description of how to do this. The wireless routers I have available for this are the Belkin Play N600 Wireless Dual-Band N Router (preferred) or the Actiontec PK5000. A: You're talking about setting up a whitelist and a blacklist. Neither the Belkin nor the Actiontec router will allow you to whitelist or blacklist sites. The closest thing to both of those that you can get is the Kid Defender software from Actiontec, but it must be installed on the clients and not the router.

Your best bet would be to flash a supported router, such as the ASUS RT-N12 with the Tomato firmware where you can block access to sites even from specific machines. With this, you can, for example, set up one group who can access anything and then set up a blocked group who only has access to specific sites. The Tomato firmware offers a number of other outstanding features, such as turning that router into a printer server. The only problem with this method is that flashing a router takes some know-how. Fortunately, if you search online, you'll find plenty of how-tos written about this task.

Ask Jack: If you have a DIY question, email it to me, and I'll do my best to answer it. (Read guidelines about submitting DIY questions.)