Wireless Router Setup in Five Easy Steps

June 21, 2010, By Alex Ion

With everyone trying to get as mobile as possible these days, adding a wireless router to your small home network is a must if you want to browse while cooking in the kitchen, from your yard or maybe when watching TV on the couch. But how do you install and setup a wireless router and make it work for your users? It’s much easier than you think, here’s a quick guide.

Wireless Router Setup

Choosing a wireless router

First thing to do is make sure you have the right wireless router. As you probably know wireless routers support the 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g and 802.11n standards, and our advice is to go either for the g or n version. They’re compatible with almost every computer and offer superior performance (speed and reliability).

Some of the brands you may consider when buying your wireless router include Linksys, D-Link, 3Com, Netgear, Belkin, Apple or Cisco.

Note: if your computer doesn’t have built-in wireless networking support you’ll have to buy a wireless network adapter for it to connect to the router. Our advice is to buy an USB wireless network adapter for a desktop computer or a PC card-based network adapter if your laptop doesn’t have it.

Wireless Router Setup

Now that you have your equipment it’s time to put it at work, so you may want to print this guide before you go any further.

  1. Linksys admin - basic informationIf you’re already connected to the Internet through your cable model, unplug the wire coming into your computer. Turn on your wireless router and temporarily connect it to your machine using the cable it came with (just make sure you plug it into the LAN ports, and not WAN or WLAN).
  2. Log in to the router’s admin interface (most of the time it’s or with username “admin” and password “admin” (these may differ from brand to brand, but the documentation that comes with your router will explain all these) and let’s configure the machine. Run the quick setup wizard. Here you’ll be asked to setup the wireless network name, known as the SSID — it’s what identifies your network from others.
  3. You also need to come up with an administrative password. By default your router will used admin / admin or admin / password, so you need to change these to make sure no one else will access your router and make changes to its settings.
  4. Internet connection information is another important point, as it tells the router how to connect to your cable modem and to the Internet. If you’re using DSL Internet you will probably need to choose PPPoE — which means you’ll need to add your username and password. If you have a static IP address by your Internet provider then you need to fill in the static IP fields (including network mask or gateway, given by your provider). And then there’s also the most common option : DHCP.
  5. Linksys admin - wireless securityThen you need to protect your wireless network with Wireless encryption (WEP) or Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA). That means you’re setting a password for accessing your router so make sure it’s a strong enough key phrase, one that you can remember (at least the first time you connect, coz it will be remembered next time). Just so you know, WPA or WPA2 are way more secure than WEP, so act accordingly.

Connect Your Wireless Router

Now that the wireless router is configured, all you need to do is connect it to your cable modem and your computer. Turn on your cable modem first and give it a few moments to log on to the network and acquire an IP.

Now, the wire coming from the cable modem that used to go into your computer will go into the WAN or WLAN port of the router. Turn on the router. The WLAN or WAN lights on the router will light up, which means that it has successfully connected to your modem.

The Internet lights should be on, too, so all we can say is safe browsing.

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