Setting up a router and your home network for the first time can seem intimidating. Cords, wires, and settings require the correct installation for the system to function correctly. Otherwise, you’ll encounter errors while you’re trying to use the network and the Internet. So, here are the steps you need to follow when configuring your home network.
Choosing A Router
The central hub of your home network is the router. But, don’t think that all routers on the market are the same. Pick the wrong device, and you may regret your purchase.
Remember, not all routers on the market are the same. So, here are a few quick tips to help you choose the right router for your preferences:
Consider The Wireless Range
A large home might encounter problems with a router that can only transmit wireless signals at a short distance. Read the product description to ensure the router’s maximum Wi-Fi range covers the entire house.
Think about buying a router that offers a dual-band feature. This functionality means the device can transmit two radio signals at the same time, and these are the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands.
The 2.4GHz bands are ideal for sending wireless signals to a relatively significant distance. For example, if the product advertises that you can connect to the network from 100 meters away, then, you can connect to the 2.4GHz band from that distance.
But, the drawback of using the 2.4GHz connection is that it’s not the most reliable when it comes to wireless stability standards. Conversely, the 5GHz link should provide you with more speed and stability than the 2.4GHz band. However, the 5GHz band can only transmit at a relatively short distance from the router.
Consider The Number Of Devices To Connect In The Network
If you live alone, chances are you’re not going to have several devices in your home to use the home Internet connection. But, if you live with friends or relatives, then, you need a router that can cater to all the devices in the house.
Make sure your router can accommodate all the connections made from the compatible devices in the network. Otherwise, you might encounter problems with connection accessibility and stability.
Consider The Security Features
Perhaps, the last thing you’d want is for your neighbor or other individuals to hack into your router’s system. After all, you don’t want your neighbor to “steal” your connection from you.
Search and use routers with excellent security features. For example, models that allow you to replace the default router passwords ensure that people can’t get into the device’s settings quickly.
Another security feature you should consider in your router is an advanced firewall system. This functionality should block malware from invading your home network. With proper security features in place, you can be at peace, knowing that the router secures your data all the time.
If you’re not in a hurry, take the time to research the different router models on the market. Choose a device that can accommodate the devices in your home, along with providing the network with advanced security measures.
Find A Place For Your Router
Now that you have your router, it’s time to search for a good location for the device.
Take note that wireless signals diminish when passing through obstructions, like gadgets and thick walls. So, if your router can transmit signals up to 80 meters, that reliable distance lessens when barriers hinder the transmission from passing through appropriately. Therefore, you might only get 50, 40, or even 20 meters of secure wireless connection around the property.
You can mitigate this concern by finding an ideal location for your router. Some examples include places that are in:
- The center of the house
- An area without thick walls
- A place with minimal appliances that might transmit radio waves, which might hinder wireless signals
- A high location (for the wireless signals to spread out and down from the source)
Install And Configure Your Wireless Network
After finding the perfect location for your router, installing and configuring the home network comes next.
The best way to do this step is to use a computer and connect that machine to the router through a wired connection. The reason behind this thought is that wired connections tend to be more reliable than wireless links.
Wireless connections in configuring your router for the first time is still possible to accomplish. But, you might run into issues, like disconnections and slow connectivity speeds. Wired connections, on the other hand, shouldn’t have any obstructions to form the link.
So, connect your computer to a local area network (LAN) port, which tends to be at the reverse side of the device. Once you connect an Ethernet cable to that port, the LAN light on the router associated with the said port should start flashing.
Now, the next step depends on the operating system (OS) of your computer:
Hold the Windows key + R on your keyboard. This command should bring up the “Run” dialogue box. Type “cmd” (without the quotes) and click “OK”. It should bring up the “Command Prompt” app.
Here, type “ipconfig” (without the quotes) and press “Enter” on your keyboard. It should bring up a bunch of numbers in respective fields. You don’t need to remember all those figures, but you may need to write or remember the Internet Protocol (IP) address associated with the “Default Gateway”.
Mac computers have a more straightforward method of finding the “Default Gateway” than Windows.
Start by clicking the Apple menu and look for “System Preferences”. Here, click on “Network”. A window should pop up, displaying your computer’s IP address. But, that’s not the number you should note.
Instead, look for an “Advanced” button located near the bottom right corner of the window. Click on that, and you should see another window pop-up, but, this time, it has a “Wi-Fi” label. Then, search for the IP address connected to the “Router” field. That row of numbers is your “Default Gateway”.
The “Default Gateway” should be a series of numbers, like “192.168.1.1.” Next, open your preferred browser, and type the “Default Gateway” address in the search bar.
It should lead you to your router’s main page. Input your device’s default username and password to access the rest of the settings.
If you don’t know your router’s default username and password, these details might be on the box or on the device itself. Otherwise, you might need to call the customer service of your router’s brand for support in this matter.
Once inside the Settings page, look for a wireless area network (WAN) or Wireless tab. Here, you can configure several features, including:
- SSID (your Wi-Fi network’s name)
- Security type
- Wi-Fi password
- Wi-Fi band (2.4GHz, 5GHz, or simultaneous dual-band)
After inputting your preferred settings, don’t forget to click “OK” or “Save”.
Connecting Devices To The Network
After setting up your wireless network, it’s time to connect your devices wirelessly. The steps to take when connecting your tech to the home Wi-Fi network depends on each device.
For example, smartphones can connect to a nearby Wi-Fi connection if you tap on the “Wi-Fi” icon. It should bring up a list of available wireless links in the area. Tap on your home network name (SSID), and input your Wi-Fi password. If done successfully, you should now use the home wireless network as you please.
Conversely, laptop computers can also connect to the wireless network. Again, the process depends on your OS, but the process is relatively similar to all OS.
For laptop computers to connect to the Wi-Fi network, search for an icon that looks like radio waves. Click on that image, and you should see a list of available connections in the area. Again, click on your network’s SSID and input your Wi-Fi password to connect.
But, if you want a more straightforward approach to connecting to the home network, you can use a LAN or Ethernet cable to do it. Wired connections tend to be better than wireless links because of their stability.
Aside from stability, you don’t need to input a username or password to gain access to a wired network. Once you plug in the LAN cable, your device should be able to use the system once the connection establishes.
However, one caveat of wired connections is that your computer or other device needs to be relatively close to the router. If you want your gadget to be farther away from the router, you need to purchase a longer LAN cable.
Setting up a home network seems challenging, particularly for non-tech-savvy folks. But, follow the steps listed above to ensure you configure your wired and wireless networks correctly.
Remember that choosing the correct router should be your priority. Consider the essential factors when selecting the best device for your home network. Then, think about the location of the router. An optimal place should be an area where the device can transmit wireless signals without several obstructions. Then, configure the initial settings of your router, and your devices should have no problems connecting to the network.