Setting up new devices can be very difficult for some people; technology just isn’t your thing. At first it seems like a very difficult task, especially if the last time you did it you struggled to make it work … but don’t worry, we have you covered. Whether it was damaged and you bought a new one, moved house or just want to strengthen security, we will take the steps to configure a router wireless.
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To make things more complicated, each router is different, and the specific steps to configure it depend on each model. This guide applies to most routers on the market today, although it may also help you if you are trying to set up a used router.
Quick note– This tutorial assumes that you are setting up a wireless router to function as the primary one in your home. Let’s assume that you already have a modem, be it cable, fiber, or DSL, which is configured and working correctly. To finish, let’s assume that you have a laptop with an Ethernet port, or that you are setting up a wireless router with a desktop computer. With these caveats in mind, let’s get started!
Don’t plug your router into the power outlet yet. Instead, the first thing you are going to do is connect your modem to the WAN port, with an Ethernet cable.
Not sure which port is WAN? Most non-business routers have a group of Ethernet ports, several of which are called ports. LAN (local area network) and another called WAN (wide area network) port. The WAN port looks the same as the LAN ports, but is often colored differently and separated from them.
In the photo above, for example, the WAN port is yellow and labeled “Internet.” It will sometimes be labeled “WAN”. This port is meant to connect your router to the modem and to the outside world from there. The LAN ports are designed to connect to local devices like your computer or television.
Connect an Ethernet cable to your modem and the other end to the WAN port of your router. Next, plug your router’s power adapter into the wall.
Step 2: download the app and connect
Give your router a minute to start up and create a network. In the meantime (if another connection option is available), download the application associated with your modem manufacturer. Today’s modems can generally be configured using a mobile app that will automatically guide you through the setup process. It is the most effective method, but you must make sure that you choose the correct application.
Linksys has its own configuration and administration application. Netgear uses the Nighthawk app. Google has its own configuration application. Instructions on which application to use should be in your manual.
Now connect to your wifi network. This is usually a simple process: go to your phone or computer settings, and choose the Wi-Fi / Network option (Google simply makes you scan a QR code, so this process can vary a bit).
Find your router’s name here – Your router should have a default SSID name printed on the back, along with the default network key. Use the key to log into the network.
Once connected, launch the router’s management application to begin setup.
Alternative method– If your router doesn’t have an app, manually connect a computer to the router with an Ethernet cable. Once you’re connected, head over to the settings page. This is basically a website hosted on your device, and it is a traditional way to configure settings.
The way to find it can vary, but it almost always means typing 192.168.1.1 into the address bar of your preferred browser and then pressing Enter.
If you find a page, go ahead and jump to the next step. However, if that address doesn’t work, your router can use a completely different address. This can vary, so check your router’s official documentation if the 192.168.1.1 address doesn’t work.
Alternatively, you can check out our list of default router IP addresses and passwords.
Your router application should automatically guide you through the setup procedures, so answer their questions and fill out the forms as necessary. For most newer routers, you will be asked to create an application name (again, this is called the SSID) and a password. Make sure this password is unique and secure, as anyone who has it can do all sorts of nasty things on your network.
The WPA2 encryption is currently the security standard and you should always choose it if you have a choice for your security protocol. Make sure to choose a long password as well, which is different from the admin password you set earlier and ideally doesn’t include dictionary words or an easy-to-guess name (like your pet’s name). Then store it in a safe place.
However, a used router may already have a password and must be reset. Most routers have a recessed reset button on the back. Holding down the “reset” button with a paper clip for at least 30 seconds will do the trick.
Leave the power on and wait for the router to reset. You should use the default settings when it reboots, which means that the default username and password will now grant you access to settings.
The router app should also allow you to configure other settings like parental controls, automatic updates, and more. You can adjust these settings and more from the app, but pay attention to the tutorial and everything it shows you.
You should learn about guest access, monitoring activity, and more. When you’re done, the application will do the network settings and finish setting up your network. Now you can explore the app at your leisure to learn more.
A growing number of routers are “mesh routers” these days, like Google’s Wifi router. Mesh routers use a group of Wi-Fi devices that all work together, usually two or three of them. A device connects to your modem and acts like a traditional router.
The other devices act more like automatic repeaters that connect to the first device and provide a secondary source for the signal. This can greatly extend the range of the router and allow users to get rid of dead zones or ensure that a particularly large home or property has full coverage.
This also means that you have to go one step further and place the secondary devices in your home. Here are some tips to help you position your mesh routers the right way:
- Try to configure additional routers in open spaces where they can broadcast the network as freely as possible. Remember, they don’t have to be connected to the modem with these access points! However, routers will need access to an electrical outlet.
- Set the additional router points off, but not too far away. All routers need to work together. On average, it takes a distance of about two rooms away from the original router.
- You can also choose to place your access points in particularly important areas of your home. For example, if you have a gaming space where you use Wi-Fi, you may want to make sure that one of the satellite models is placed there for maximum effect.
- Generally, you can easily connect additional routers with the router app on your phone (Google, for example, you just have to move your phone closer to the router to add it). You must connect them to expand your network, so don’t forget this part.
With these steps, your router should be ready to use. Start connecting your devices and enjoy!
Of course, there is a lot more you can configure, if you dig into the settings. Port forwarding settings can come in handy, and true power users should consider replacing their firmware with DD-WRT to gain access to all kinds of settings that might not otherwise be offered. However, for most users, working with Wi-Fi and secure access to administrative settings is a great place to start.