How to Setup and Configure your Home Router

home-routerYour home router connects your home network to the Internet.

Most home routers also function as Wireless Access points and are commonly called  wireless routers.

Home routers are usually supplied by an ISP as part of your Internet package.

Router Interfaces and Physical Connections

All routers have two interfaces:

  • Local – This is the local,home,office network
  • External – The Internet

On the Internet side the router will may have a single connection labelled DSL which uses a RJ12 telephone connection.

This connects to the telephone network via a broadband filter.

You may also have a broadband/WAN connector. This is used for connecting to a cable modem or fibre modem

broadband-router-connections

On the Local side the router will have a Wi-Fi interface and Ethernet ports.

The router shown above is my home router which has 4 Ethernet ports for wired clients, as well as supporting WI-fi access.

In addition most also have a USB socket for connecting the router to a computer for set up.

Wireless Router Setup and Configuration

Physical Setup

The router will have a port labelled DSL this connects using a RJ12 connector to a microfilter and then to your phone line. (ADSL)

Always remember to use the microfilter as without it it may not work or may only work intermittently.

For fibre and cable use the WAN port on the Router to connect to your cable or fibre modem using an Ethernet cable.

Router Configuration

To change the configuration settings of the router you will need to login to the router.

There are several ways you can do this,they are:

  • Using a computer connected with a USB cable.
  • Using a computer connected with an Ethernet cable and a web interface.
  • Using a computer connected using Wi-Fi and a web interface.-  Most common

Using Wi-Fi and The Web Interface

Almost all home routers can be setup and managed using a Web interface. i.e a web browser.

To use this you will need to connect to the router using  the Ethernet port or Wi-Fi .

To connect using Wi-Fi you will need to know:

  • the SSID of the router, which should come with the documentation. (you can change the SSID later).
  • The Wi-Fi password.

The BT Home Hub That I use comes with an handy pull out card with the details printed on it, as shown below

BT-HUB-passwords-card

Step 1- Setting up Wi-fi

The first step is to setup Wi-Fi access on your Laptop/PC using the Wi-Fi details (SSID and password).

Now you should be able to connect to the router, and the router should assign you an IP address.

You can check your IP address and find the IP address of the router by using the ipconfig command.

Open a command prompt an enter Ipconfig/all. Look for the default gateway. This is the address of your router.

Use ipconfig command to show mac-address

Step 2 Connecting to the Router

To connect to the router you need to know:

  • The router IP address
  • The router default admin username and password

Common default addresses are: 192.168.1.254 , 192.168.1.1 and 192.168.0.1.

Common default admin user account name and password are admin and administrator and password is password

This site has a comprehensive list of admin account names and passwords

To login open a web browser and enter the IP address of the router e.g. 192.168.1.254.

router-home-page

You should get a welcome screen or an overview screen as shown above.

If you try to make changes you will be prompted to login.

home-router-login

Once you are logged in you can change the router configuration.

There are several things that you usually need to configure.

  • A Network SSID for the wireless clients. (wireless router only)
  • Wireless channels (wireless router only)
  • Admin password for router management
  • Password for the DSL link.
  • Internal IP address ranges.

Note 1: I would recommend that you change the WiFi SSID and password and also the router admin password.

Note 2: Changing some of the settings will cause you to lose the connection to the router, and so you may need to reconnect and login again using the new settings.

Changing the Network SSID and Password

It is a good idea to change this to a name and password that are easy to remember for you, but not easy to guess.

In restaurant,hotels etc you often see the restaurant or hotel name as the SSID.

Important! -When you change it you will lose the connection and you will need to change your laptop Wi-Fi settings to match the new settings.

On the BT home Hub you will find the Wi-Fi settings in the Advanced section.

BT-HUB-WI-FI-settings

Changing the Admin Password for Router Management

It is important that you change this from the default value as if you don’t you leave your network open for security hacks.

bt-hub-password

Using AThird Party Router

If you use a router that was not provided by the ISP then you will also need to configure the settings for the DSL connection to the ISP.

Most of the time the Router can detect the connections type and will configure itself.

All of the home network connections I have come across use PPPoe ( PPP over Ethernet).

There is no need to worry about what it means, but the result is that you will need to provide a user name and password in order for the router to connect to the ISP.

This user name and password is supplied in you ISP setup details.

To find the information you may need to go online. Try search using the search query:

Provider (e.g. BT,talktalk )  dsl password  third party router.

Here is an example from talktalk

INote: A common problem is that people confuse the two username/password combinations:

One allows you to connect to the router (supplied by the router manufacturer) and the other allows the router to connect to the ISP (supplied by the ISP)
.

Wireless Setup

Wireless networks are insecure, and if you live in a densely populated area you may find that you can see and access the wireless networks of your neighbours and vice versa.

Because of this you should always encrypt your wireless connections.

However if you have setup problems then setup the router to use unencrypted connections to start, and once you are happy that your network is functioning OK then change the router and clients to use encrypted connections. see How to Setup A Secure Wireless Network

Channel Selection

Wi-fi (2.4GHz band has 14 available channels however the standard channels used are channels 1,6 and 11.

When choosing a channel for you Router/access point you need to take into account what channels are already being used in your location.

If you live in a densely populated areas you will many other access points with various signal strengths you may encounter interference.

There are a number of test tools that you can use for viewing the Wi-Fi activity in your location.

The one I prefer is the InSSIDer tool that runs on Android and Windows.

You can download the free tool here for Windows and Mac and here for Android.

The general idea is to choose a channel that has the least interference from other channels.

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