How To Set Up Your Router Correctly
Let’s talk about setup.
Routers might seem fairly simple to set up. You can get yours running in less than 10 minutes, you simply unbox it, connect it, run it and you’re all set. The manufacturers really tried their best to make router installations more user-friendly.
However, a proper router setup is crucial because it is what essentially determines the quality, the range and the strength of its signal.
But worry not, as today I’ll walk you through every step of the process, making sure you get the best of what you’re already paying for. We’ll also cover a way to make sure your Wi-Fi is performing at its best even without a proper router placement – with an extender.
Get The Position Right
Position. Position. Position. Why is the position so important?
Because it will either MAKE or BREAK your network.
The way the routers broadcast the signal is pretty straightforward – they spread onward and in a sphere fashion, which could perhaps pose as a challenge for a great router location.
Let’s talk about the ideal placement.
1. At The Center Of Your Home. Now that we know the signal spreads in a sphere fashion, we must simply put the router in a place, that’s more central in the apartment or the house. That could be your living room or your kitchen.
2. On A Higher Ground. The best practices show that a router should be put above-ground, so if you have a basement, don’t place it there no matter how central it is. The ceiling of the basement is normally too thick, that will cause disruptions in the signal.
3. In The Open. Place your router in the open. Try to put it in a place where there are no walls, wardrobes, household appliances, and windows nearby the router.
Of course, no matter how ideal these scenarios would look, sometimes you simply can’t pull them all off. Sometimes the center of your house is a big closet, or your cables don’t run long enough for you to put the router in the center.
But as long as you try your best to complete these three steps – you’ll be miles ahead in the network game.
For example, if you can’t put the router in the center of the home, try to place it in an open place, where no obstructions are present.
Connecting Your Router
Setting up your Wi-Fi network usually requires work with 3 devices:
1. Internet modem/box
2. A Router
3. Devices (computer, laptop, etc.)
Some modems may also have the role of a router. Such are AT&T boxes. This eliminates the need to hook an extra piece of hardware.
Let’s go through the process.
Connecting The Router To The Internet
When you sign up for an internet contract or a plan, the company should send you a technician who is going to set up your modem. We can assume that your modem is all set from the start.
Now that we’re sure your modem is running, you can connect an Ethernet cord from your router’s WAN port to your modem. Note than WAN and LAN aren’t the same thing.
Next, you want to plug the router into an outlet and wait for it to boot up.
What Are The Gateway/Router Combos?
But what if you are using a combination of a gateway(modem) and a router? Such combinations are getting extremely popular with Internet service companies.
Such services might be convenient, but they don’t let you build-out mesh networks or create multiple access networks to increase your Wi-Fi coverage.
If you happen to have a gateway with an integrated router and you want to use just a regular router, you’ll need to set it up in a way that the gateway passes the WAN IP address and all other traffic to the new router.
For this to happen, you are going to need the IP address that the gateway is currently using. You can find it with ease, as it’s normally on the label of the gateway. Just type in the IP address into the address bar of your internet browser to start the configuration process.
The process can be tricky, depending on the router and the provider. I would recommend calling your ISP to receive help and guidance on how to work it out.
When you’re done with the setup, you can connect the gateway to the router using the steps at the start of this section.
When your router is already running, you should use a network cable to connect your computer’s LAN to your router’s LAN. The router should have four ports, it doesn’t really matter where you plug it in.
Creating A Password Your Router
Most of the new router manufacturers have smartphone apps or extensions that allow you to easily configure your device’s settings. If yours has one – use it. If not – you have to do it the old-fashioned way.
The first step is to type in the router’s IP in your internet browser’s address bar. The IP you can find on the router itself, there should be a label.
Then, you should be able to see an interface that requires you to write down a name and a password. Those two you should be able to find on the router itself as well. If not, try the user manual.
Type in the information and press enter.
In the interface that comes up next, you should be able to see an option that allows you to change the password, try to write down something a bit more complicated, try to use special characters, lowercase letters and uppercase letters.
Don’t name it after something obvious, like your name or your pet’s name.
Write your password down so you don’t forget it, you don’t want to go through all the hassle if you happen to forget it.
When your password is all set, check if there are any updates in that same interface, try to keep your firmware up to date, that’s how you assure yourself that you’re getting the newest and optimal performance.
Set A Wi-Fi Password
Some Internet Service Providers will have your Wi-Fi password written on the router itself. Others, however, do not.
If you can’t find it on your router, you most likely won’t have a password, to begin with.
That’s why you have to set up one yourself.
The process might vary from one manufacturer to another, but it’s pretty straight forward, it’s normally written in the user’s manual.
Once you get to that, follow the same steps as the previous section – try to make the password as complicated as possible, otherwise, people can use hack tools and sneak into your Wi-Fi and eat up your bandwidth.
When all that is set, you can even plug and start using a Wi-Fi booster or an extender, to make sure your Wi-Fi signal reaches far and is strong enough for many people to use.