A wireless router can be a great addition to your home or office, once you have a broadband internet connection. It is a device that connects your modem to your computer and other electronic devices, and allows you to use them in various locations, free of unsightly wires. Once set up, the wireless router will recognize wireless-enabled devices within a given area.
Types of wireless routers
Today’s wireless routers are mainly divided between G and N categories. There was an older B class, but it has pretty much gone the way of the dinosaur. The newest and best routers are the N class, and they are often backward compatible with G, B and N equipment.
What a wireless router can do
Your wireless router can not only provide you with wireless internet access, but can hook up your computer to other computers and entertainment equipment, like your HD television and gaming equipment, which you can then use to stream movies. Speed is an important feature when watching streaming movies, gaming, or when uploading and downloading files.
Wireless router setup
Many of the newer routers come with easier set up formats, often with software on a CD that guides you through the process. Either way, you will want to refer to the instructions that come with your individual router. Here are the normal steps that come with setting up a router.
Power down your DSL or cable modem by unplugging them. Then connect your wireless router to your modem. You will normally want to keep them side by side. At this point, keep the router turned off.
Hook up the network cable that was included with your new wireless router. The correct port on your router will be labeled WAN, internet, uplink, or WLAN. You should hear a click when it is connected properly, and plug in the other end to your modem.
Plug your modem back in, and make sure the cable that came with it is hooked up as well. Wait about a minute, then turn on your router.
Next, connect your router to your computer using a network cable. This will be temporary. Once the set up is complete, you will be able to connect wirelessly. Choose just one computer for the setup, even if you will be hooking up more computers later. If your router comes with software, you can use this to do the configuration.
The next part will be done on your web browser. Type one of the following web addresses into your browser. Which one will likely be contained in your router’s instructions, but normally it will be either 192.168.1.1, 192.168.2.1 or 192.168.0.1. You should be able to do this without internet access.
Once on the page, you will be asked for a login and password. The original one should be provided by your router’s documentation. Use that one for now, and change it later for security.
You will need to change your network SSID to something unique, but easy to remember. Do not leave it as is from the factory. You may need to enter in an IP address or other information from your provider, so be prepared, if necessary to obtain it.
You will also want to secure your network to keep neighbors and passersby from being able to access your network. Select the WEP, or wireless encryption option.
Your network should now be set up. Disconnect the network cable from the computer.
The next step is to check to see if the network connection is working between your computer and your router. You will likely get a message on your desktop saying that a wireless network has been detected. Otherwise, on a Windows system, click on “view available networks.” On a Mac, click on “networks” in system preferences. Choose the network and connect.
The best wireless routers offer easy setup. If you run into problems, decide where to problem lies, and contact tech support for either the router manufacturer or internet provider.