Monday, July 14, 2014

How to Set up a Wireless Router

Wireless routers are an integral part of many home and office networks. Many routers come with an installation CD that walks you through the setup process, but even without this CD, setting up a wireless router for the first time can be accomplished easily. Follow the steps below to install your wireless router.

• Find a good location

Picking the right location for your router isn't just a matter of clearing a space on your desk for it. Take into consideration where in your home or office the other wireless devices that will be connecting to this router are going to be used, and try to find a central location so that the router's broadcast signal can reach all of the devices.

Also take into account electronic devices that can cause interference with your wireless signal.  Avoid placing the router near microwaves, cordless phones, and other devices that use radio waves to communicate.

• Turn on your computer and modem

If your router is going to be connected to a PC by a cable, turn that computer on first and wait for it to boot up. Also turn on your digital modem, analog modem, or other device that you use to get Internet access.

• Connect any necessary cables

Now connect your wireless router's power cable, as well as any other cables that will be hooked up, such as an Ethernet cable connecting the router to one of your PCs.

• Turn on the router

Once everything is hooked up, turn the router on and give it a minute or so to fully boot up. Depending on the individual router, you should see its lights start to flash or remain on for the various connections.

• Set up an encryption key

Your router is now broadcasting its signal and is ready to be found by your wireless computers. If you have a computer connected to the router by a cable, open up the web browser on that computer and type in your router's default IP address (often, this will be or If you're asked to log in, enter the default username and password, which can be found in the router's documentation.

Once you've logged in to the router's software, find the section for security or encryption and set up WEP, WPA, or WPA2, depending on which protocols your wireless devices are compatible with. You can enter your own encryption key or use the default one provided, but be sure to write this key down. Also write down the default SSID (network name) that can be found on the router's status page.  If you want to change the network name, now is a good time to do so, before you've connected all of your wireless devices.

• Enter the encryption key on your wireless devices

On any devices that will be connecting to your router, find your wireless network from the list of available networks and open up that connection's properties. In the box for security or encryption keys, enter the passcode that you chose and save the settings. If there is an option to automatically connect to this network, check it. Now connect to the network to verify that you can establish the connection. Repeat this procedure on each of your laptops and other wireless devices.

• Set up security features

Once your devices are connected to your network, set up any additional security features you might want to use, such as MAC address filtering, Internet access restriction, or parental controls. It's a good idea to also change the router's default username and password so that anyone outside your network can't access your router's settings. (Write the new username and password down as well.)

Your router should now be fully set up and ready for use. Routers typically don't require a lot of maintenance once they are up and running; the only thing you might have to do is occasionally reset the router (by turning it off, waiting a minute or so, and turning it back on) if you lose your Internet connection or the router starts to act erratically.

Keep all of the information you've written down -- encryption key, router password, etc. -- in a safe place that is easily accessible. If you get a new computer or wireless device, you'll have to enter the encryption key on that device so that it can connect to your network. On a PC, this process can be automated by using the Windows Network Setup Wizard and saving the settings to a flash drive.

(Originally published on, January 2011 -- updated from its original form)

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