Setting up a wireless router in your home or office can sound like a daunting task, but rest assured, with even a minimal level of tech skills, just about anyone can have a network up and running in under an hour.
The first thing to decide is where you will place your router. Choose a location central to the devices on your network. Basements, living rooms, or the lobby of your business are often good choices.
To minimize interference and reduce network issues, chose a location at least 3 feet away from 2.4GHz wireless systems. Examples of these include wireless phones, doorbells, microwaves and radio equipment.
Connect To Your Router For Set Up
In order to set up the software on your router, you will need to make the initial connection. Most router manufacturers issue a temporary username and password for set up. If you can’t find one included with your router, then you will need a physical connection for setup. In this case, plug in a USB or Ethernet cable, included with nearly all routers, into both the router and your computer.
If you have a temporary administrator login name and password, simply plug the router into any power supply. Next, choose the network Connections menu on your computer. Most versions of Windows place this option in the Control Panel, accessible from the Start Menu. Finally, locate the name of your new router and click to connect.
Your Router Administrator Account
Once connected to your new network, you must access the administrator panel to configure and optimize it for your preference. If your router came with a disc, you may insert it into your computer and allow the software to auto-run.
To access the admin panel without a disc, simply open a web browser such as Internet Explorer and type the router’s IP address into the URL bar. This is typically 192.168.1.100. Locate the administrator information options. This is often in the first tab on the admin panel. Customize your admin username and password to protect your network from intruders.
Naming and Setting Up Your Network
On the front page, or within the first couple of tabs in your admin panel, you will see an option to set up your Network Name, also known as your Broadcast ID or SSID. Replace the factory set name with your own such as “Home Office,” so that users can identify your network later on.
Next, choose the password for your network. The best practice is to use at least 8 characters, including a mix of numbers, letters, and symbols.
Finally, in the Security Tab or security options menu of your router’s admin panel, select the type of network security you desire. The recommended setting is WPA-2 unless you are using devices that aren’t compatible. This would be an atypical situation.
Access Restrictions and Other Options
In the next few tabs of your administration panel, you will find options to set up access restrictions. In these fields, you can enter times that users can use your network. This is a great option for parents or employers who need to restrict access during certain hours. You can also restrict specific websites, or websites with selected keywords in the URLs, another good option for shared networks.
Another option you will find in these additional tabs is logging. Turn logging on if you want the ability to track websites and IP addresses visited through your network. Most routers maintain logs on a short basis only, often less than a week, so log in and download log files routinely if needed.
Optimizing Your Network
To optimize your network for specific uses, such as downloading large files or playing video games, you have several options. In the optimization tab of your admin panel, prioritize any ports or applications you intend to use most.
If you have network issues, you can optimize the signal strength by switching the broadcast channel in this same tab. Try different channels to see which faces the least interference in your house. Enable dual-band broadcasting if you need a stronger connection, which can be useful during online gaming.
Connecting Your Devices
Now that your router is set up and your network is optimized, you simply need to issue the network password to any users for whom you want to grant network access. You can select the Network name (SSID) that you chose earlier and connect from any wireless device.