Yes you can set up your own router in five minutes! I do service calls all the time to setup a router and computer/laptop’s for wireless or just internet access via ethernet. It looks intimidating, but it’s not and the major manufacturers even include a do it yourself setup CD. I forgo the CD myself and use the web interface connected via ethernet to the router. Here is how I do it without a lot of the detail. Just enter the information as you need to and don’t be afraid to do it, there is always the reset button on the router to take it back to the default settings to start over.
Disclaimer: This is the no CD method. If you really, really, really feel that you cannot do it please do not continue. Stop and use the CD setup. I take no responsibility if it does not work for you.
Important: DO NOT plug the router into the cable modem at this point. You should also unplug all the cables from your cable modem, including the power and unscrewing the coax cable. The directions for this are based on a Linksys router, but are extremely similar for all the different types of routers.
Please refer below to pictures I have created from a Linksys router.
- After unpacking the router, remove the sticker cover from the ethernet ports on the back, plug in the power and an ethernet cable to one of the 4 ports labeled 1-4. Do not plug it into the one labeled WAN/Internet. Plug the other end of the ethernet cable into your already booted computer or laptop.
- Open your browser.
- In your documentation or on the router it will tell you the IP address of the router. Most routers use 192.168.1.1 but Netgear & D-Link tend to use 192..168.0.1. Netgear also lets you type http://www.routerlogin.com into your browser address bar.
- Open your browser, type the IP address into the address bar and type in the username and password from the documentation when prompted. Linksys is usually admin – admin, while Netgear is usually admin – password. Please check your documentation for the proper login. (Figure 1 below)
- In the Basic Screen you can set up the HOST Name of the router. I normally name it the clients last name and their first initial, i.e. SmithJ – for John Smith. (Figure 2 below)
- Also you will need to set the starting IP address for the computers that will be on the network. I use 100 as the starting point and then choose 50 as the number computers I will have on the network. That is more than enough for any home network.
- At this point click save changes. You should have to log back into the router after it makes the changes because it is going to reset your IP address.
- The next step is to set up the basic wireless setting. There are 3 parts to set here. (Figure 3 below)
- First is the wireless mode, which you should set to mixed. The picture shows G only because that is the current setting for the router I am working with for this example.
- Second is the actual wireless name or SSID. This can be anything you want, your last name, birthday, etc. If you don’t want people knowing who’s wireless it is then choose one like 909876739 or supersurfer01.
- Third, enable SSID broadcast. A lot of people feel that this is a security no no, but having it hidden means that your computer has to broadcast itself to look for it. Six of one, half dozen of another. If your wireless is that important then you should be using a lot more in the way of security than hiding your SSID.
- At this point click save changes. You should not have to log back in at this point because you are just setting up wireless while you are plugged into the router via the ethernet cable.
- Next is the wireless security which has more than one vein to thought. I am going to take you down the more security path on this one because I think it’s safer in highly populated areas and if you want to send private information. (Figure 4 below)
- You should set your security mode to WPA2 Personal. This is much stronger than WEP which can be broken in a matter of a few minutes by anyone with any talent.
- Select TKIP and AES if you have a choice. While AES is stronger, TKIP is secure enough.
- Lastly, you need a passphrase, which should be at least 10 characters, numbers and letters. Mine is 12 for the wireless at home with !, @, & and other non dictionary characters embedded. You can write it down and store it in a safe place in case you forget it.
- At this point click save changes.
- The router is now setup. The next few steps make it talk with your cable modem and provider.
- You can now plug the power back into the cable modem, screw the coax cable back in and connect an ethernet cable from the cable modem to the WAN/Internet port of the router. Once you have the cable modem up with all its lights working, give it a minute or 2.
- Now you will need to go to the Router Status tab to release and renew the router IP address, which at the same time will pass along the new MAC address of the new router to your cable company so that it will proper see and use the Internet. (Figure 5 below)
After releasing and renewing your IP address you should be able to surf the internet. open a second browser and test it. If it isn’t working, do two things. First do a repair of your internet connection and try again. If that doesn’t work unplug the router and the cable modem completely, including the coax cable. Plug the cable modem back in first and let it get completely up and running. Now plug the router in and connect it to the cable modem. Log into the router and do a release/renew of the IP address. You should after a minute have an internet connection.
The only other thing you need to do is setup your wireless on your laptop, but the router is setup and ready to go. Because of the different versions of Windows I will have to do that in another post, but it is relatively easy by right clicking your wireless icon in the system tray (bottom right of the Windows Desktop) next to the clock and selecting View Available Wireless Networks. Click your network and type in the passphrase. Click here to go to the Microsoft site for Windows XP, for Windows Vista Click here and for Windows 7 click here.