Installing a router is the first step to creating a solid home network, but how do you choose the right one? And once you have purchased the router, how do you set it up? Follow the guide below to choose the right router and configure it for a secured wireless (Wi-Fi) network.
Method 1 of 3: Installing the router
Step 1. Get a wireless router
There are several factors that determine which router is best for you. These include distance, interference, transfer speed and security.
- One of the most important factors to consider is the distance between the router and the devices you want to connect wirelessly to it. More expensive routers usually have more than 1 antenna, which will ultimately make the connection more stable over longer distances.
- Another factor to consider is the level of signal interference. If you have multiple devices that use the 2.4 GHz band, such as the microwave and cordless phones, the WiFi signal may be disturbed. Newer routers can use the 5 GHz band, a carrier wave that is much less busy and therefore less susceptible to interference. The disadvantage is that 5 GHz signals do not have the range of 2.4 GHz signals.
- Transfer rate is a feature to consider. Newer routers claim data transfer speeds as high as 450 Mbps. Although this is useful when it comes to data traffic between 2 computers on a network, it will not increase the internet speed, because that is determined by your provider (ISP). There are three speeds available for routers: 802.11g (54 Mbps), 802.11n (300 Mbps) and 802.11ac (450 Mbps). It is important to note that these speeds are nearly impossible to achieve, except in a room that is completely free of interference.
- Finally, make sure the router you want to purchase has the latest version of wireless encryption, WPA2. This is pretty much the standard for all new routers these days, but it's definitely something to consider if you're planning to buy an older router. The older encryption methods are simply less secure; a WEP key can be cracked in minutes.
Step 2. Connect the router to your modem
The router has a port on the back labeled WAN/WLAN/Internet. Use this port to connect the router to the modem using a standard Ethernet cable.
Make sure the router is turned on
Step 3. Connect a computer with the Ethernet cable
This step is not always necessary but can be very useful if you want to set up the wireless router before connecting wireless equipment to it. Connecting to a computer via a physical cable will allow you to try the different wireless options without losing the connection to the router.
For optimum efficiency when setting up the router, place it right next to the computer. When you have finished the configuration, you can place the router wherever you want
Method 2 of 3: Configuring the router
Step 1. Install the router's software
Not every router comes with accompanying software, but if it does, install it first on the computer that is connected to the router via the Ethernet cable. Using that software makes installing the router a lot easier.
- Determine the name of the wireless network using the software, and the type of security you want to use. Choose WPA2 for the best security. Choose a password and continue.
- Most router software will automatically recognize the Internet settings. This is the information your router needs for internet connection and communication with all connected devices.
Step 2. Open the router's configuration page
If the router did not come with setup software, you will need to configure the router via your browser. Open your browser and enter the web address of the router. This is usually 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.0.1. Refer to the router's manual for the correct address.
You will be prompted for a name and password to access the router's configuration. This should be listed in the router's documentation. By default, something like username: admin and password: password or admin. You can search the internet for the router model you have, if you no longer have this information. Check out PortFoward.com
Step 3. Enter the details of your internet connection
This includes the IP address and DNS data of your internet service provider. Most routers automatically fill in this part. If not, please contact your ISP to obtain this information so that you can proceed.
Step 4. Set up the wireless network
Most routers have a section dedicated to wireless network settings somewhere at the top of the router's menu. From this part of the configuration you can turn the wireless signal on and off, change the network name and set the encryption.
- Select the SSID field to set the network name. This is the name that other devices connecting to this router will see. If you live in a densely populated area, make sure you don't include any information in the SSID that identifies you as anyone with a wireless device can see it.
- Make sure the encryption is the best the router can handle. In most cases, that's WPA2. WPA2 has a single password. You can enter whatever you want here. Strong passwords are a combination of letters, numbers and symbols.
Step 5. Confirm your settings
Make sure to click Apply or Save Changes when you are done configuring the router. The router will take some time to process everything, after which the new settings will take effect.
Step 6. Place the router in a suitable place
To get the best possible signal, place the router in a central location. Keep in mind that obstacles such as walls and doors can interfere with the signal. If there are several floors, you can consider multiple routers, so that you have coverage everywhere.
Remember that the router must be connected to the modem with a cable, so that can determine the placement of the router
Method 3 of 3: Connecting to the router
Step 1. Connect a device to the network
Once the router works and gives a signal, you can test its strength by scanning for available networks with a Wi-Fi device such as a laptop, smartphone, tablet, etc.
Scan for available networks. In Windows, click the network icon in the System Tray in the lower right corner of the desktop. Select Connect to a Network and see if you can find your router's SSID. On a Mac, click the AirPort icon in the menu bar, which looks like 3 wavy lines. Select your SSID from the list of available networks
Step 2. Enter the password
If you have chosen WPA2 encryption, you will first need to enter a password in order to connect to the network. If you use a private computer, you can disable working with hidden characters, so that you can better see the password you type.
Step 3. Test your connection
Once you are connected to the network, wait a while until you have been assigned an IP address. Open an internet browser and try to open a website that you would not otherwise go to (otherwise the website may still be in memory).