We live in a connected society, and expect everything to be networked and connected to the internet. Connecting requires a modem, and today most internet providers provide you with a combination modem and router. They usually have four ethernet ports, and tend to include wireless access.
Routers come with a preset wireless name and password, however since no one wants to use a generic wireless name, or an entirely too long password, you will need to access the router interface to make changes. Most routers username is “admin,” and the password is either printed on the router or in the documentation. If you can’t find the password, try the word “password.” If that fails, look up the router model online, where the company will usually provide a default password.
Next you need to enter your network’s router interface through a wired ethernet connection. You will need to enter the router address, which is typically 192.168.0.1, although some now use 10.0.0.1. Your documentation will tell you what to put into your address bar of your router interface. Once connected, you have to enter the administrator password and username. Then you come to the main screen of the router.
There are many functions you can access from the main router screen, from entering login information to your Internet Service Provider (ISP), to reserving a certain IP address to a printer or device. Some of these changes are advanced, and you should find someone with experience to help you.
On the main router screen, you generally find an option for easy wireless setup, where you can create your network name and security password. I do not recommend that under any circumstance you tell it to have no password. This would allow anyone to access your wireless network, potentially tap into your data and documents, or do illegal things through the network.
Passwords should be creative but memorable. I teach my students every year about strong passwords, and this one is very important. An example of a stronger than average password would be Carter!976. Instead of a “1” I used a “!” – or think of an even cleverer substitution that only you would guess. Be creative but make sure your password has at least eight characters, uppercase, lowercase, numbers, and preferably some symbols as well.
Name your network something that makes sense to you. I use Disney character names for my networks. Most modern wireless routers have two gigahertz over which they broadcast. Don’t name each one the same name. I just have the Disney character name for the lower broadcast strength, and for the higher 5 gigahertz signal, I add a “-5” after the network name.
While you are in the router admin page, change the password for the router if it is not on the router itself, or is a generic password. Never use the generic password “password.” Do not however change your router username, leaving it as “admin” or “administrator.”
Now you just need to connect all of your devices to the wireless network. Note that you may only see one of the two networks, depending on the wireless card in your system.
If you live in a large residence, your router is never in the best place to have the maximum signal strength, so you will need sort of range extender. I find that powerline extenders are the most effective. They are pricey, but they efficiently use the powerlines in your house to extend the wireless range, are expandable to as many units as you need, and are easy to set up. Many have ethernet ports, so you can plug a Smart TV into a wired connection.
Tip – If you are not comfortable with working with network settings, please find a friend that is, or hire a professional. It will save you lots of time, and lessen your aggravation with setting up your network.
John Redmond-Palmer can be reached at John@redpalmcomputing.com