Networking 101: Router Basics II

January 27, 2012, By George Lang

This week we will be connecting all the computerized devices in your home together using your new wireless router. Recall from last week’s Networking 101 article entitled Router Basics I that you have acquired many new gadgets over the holidays. You now have two desktop computers instead of one, plus a laptop, a tablet PC, three smartphones, a smart HDTV with a radio frequency (RF) universal remote control, and a new gaming console; and they all need Internet access. Not only that, they all need to talk to each other!

The modem your Internet service provider (ISP) gave you has only one connection for one computer (we are assuming a common cable modem here for simplicity). It’s been a wonderful holiday season complete with plenty of great new electronic gifts, but what do you do next?

Existing Computer, Modem, and Wall Connections

First, let’s shut everything off and remove the Ethernet cable from the back of your modem. Plug it into Port #1 of 4 of your router. This will enable your laptop computer – your newest, most powerful computer – to serve as the programming interface for your new router (a desktop computer would serve this purpose just as well). Connect the common Internet port on your router to the back of the modem using an Ethernet jumper cable.


Typical Wireless Router Backside Connections

Note: All Ethernet cables should be at least Cat. 5e if possible; particularly as you get closer to the modem. This will allow your network to operate at maximum bandwidth, up to 1 gigabit per second (Gbps), depending on your equipment post speeds.

Startup your modem, router, and laptop PC, in that order, and open a browser window. Your new router will prompt you to set up the connection type (use auto-sensing if available), and security features; be sure to set up “wireless security” at this point in the setup process. We recommend using the highest security offered on your router. It will be this step that you get your new Key Code for access for all your wireless devices. Write it down!

Next, we will connect the other desktop computers, and the gaming console to the router with Ethernet cables. These devices are the most permanently located (except for the Smart HDTV) and usually demand the greatest amount of bandwidth (i.e., speed). A hardwire connection to your router offers the best bandwidth (up to 1 Gbps over the network).

Hardwire Connections to Your New Router

Now, let’s hook all your mobile devices to the router via a wireless (i.e., WiFi connection). This type of connection offers the greatest flexibility for mobile devices like tablet PCs and smart phones. Each device will have its own means of accessing the wireless Internet. It generally amounts to simply entering a secret Key Code, but you will have to refer to each device’s manual for specific instructions.

Wireless WiFi Connections to Your New Router

Lastly, we will use the WiFi features of your router to allow access to the network and Internet from your Smart HDTV. Actually, you may want to use a hardwire port for the TV instead of the older desktop or laptop in the very near future, as many things are changing in the technology convergence area, and your computerized HDTV will soon be demanding more bandwidth.

That’s all there is to it. You now have Internet access for all the new gadgets in your home. Next week we will dive into the computer settings that will allow all these devices to talk to one another and to share files, music, and movies. See you then!

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