Monday, March 26, 2012

How to Configure a Wireless Router

Ever wonder what all those options are? Trust me, there are not that complicated and for the most part you do not even need to concern yourself with most of the wireless options on a wireless router.

To start configuring the wireless settings, you are first going to need to access the routers configuration, if you read my last post on getting into the routers configuration you know I strongly disagree with running the setup CD, instead log into the routers internet configuration interface. You can find the previous article here: http://www.computer-skills.info/2012/02/configuring-and-setting-up-router.html. Also, again I am going to be configuring a Linksys Router, in this case a dual-band Wireless N Linksys WRT610. In my experience most other brand routers are similar; you may however, have different options depending on the capabilities of your router.

First off I am going to log into the web interface, the default IP address for a Linksys Router is 192.168.1.1 and the default password is admin; leave the username field blank. Just to note, I have changed the default IP address on my router to 192.168.1.3.

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Once in the web interface, you are going to want to go to the wireless tab.

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On the wireless tab, the very first option you see is the option to configure the wireless settings manually or to use Wi-Fi Protected Setup. The Wi-Fi protected setup is designed to make it easy to secure your wireless network, as well as adding additional devices. I personally find it easier to manually setup the wireless options. In addition, there has recently been uncovered some serious security flaws with the WPS option.

Just to note here, that I have a dual-band wireless router, which simply means that I have two wireless radios, a radio that operates on the 5 GHz frequency and a radio that operates on the standard 2.4 GHz frequency. As such I have a set of options for each radio, each radio has its own SSID and frequency settings. Devices that operate on the 5 GHz frequency are still fairly uncommon; it is however, the preferred frequency if your device supports it, due to the fact there are very few devices that actually use this frequency.

Going in the order of options here:

  1. First option is the Network Mode. This will select the operating mode for the radio, including the option to disable the wireless radio. Unless you have a specific reason for wanting the radio to operate in a specific mode you can just leave it in mixed mode.
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  2. The next option is the Network Name (SSID). This is name you see when you try to wirelessly connect to your router. This should be the only option you really need to change on this page. In the screenshot below you only see my 2.4 GHz radio, this is because my laptop does not support the 5 GHz radio and thus I cannot see it.
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  3. The next three options all have to do with the wireless frequency the radio operates on. You should be able to leave all these options on auto. The only reason you may want to change these is if you are experiencing interference.
  4. The final option is SSID Broadcast. By disabling this option your router will not be visible to wireless devices. This will prevent you from finding your router, which may be desirable in an apartment setting where all the tenants of wireless devices. If you use this option you will need to manually connect to the router by configuring your computer or device with the correct SSID and passphrase.

Now that we got the basics done, we need to configure the most important wireless options. And that is the Wireless Security; so, go to the Wireless Security tab – just to note, in Linksys routers, not the Security tab! It seems like I always get this confused, probably do to the fact that the Wireless Security tab is almost directly below the Security tab. These options will prevent freeloaders from borrowing your internet connection or worse, stealing the data off computers and devices connected to your network!

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Again, going in order of options, and also I have 2 radios so I have a set of settings for each radio.

  1. The first option is the Security Mode. The best option here is WPA2-Personal. The other options such as WEP are easily hacked and should not be used! Some of the other options are also enterprise level options.
  2. The next option is Encryption. For this I recommend AES encryption.
  3. The next option is the Passphrase. This is the “password” you will type in when you connect wirelessly to your router. Depending on your router, you can set this to whatever you want, just remember don’t make to simple otherwise someone may be able to guess it!
  4. The final option is Key Renewal. You can just leave this option as default.

At this point you done! Your wireless router should be configured and unwelcome visitors should be locked out!

Just to leave with a word of advice, make sure you have your wireless router secured!  I personally have a long range wireless access point (couple miles) and I can pick up several unsecured networks.  Freeloading and personal information here we go!

1 comment:

  1. Using router is one of the best ways to stay away from the hassles of network cabling. Configuring a router depends on the kind and brand of a router. However, the idea or concept of configuring it is almost the same across all routers in the market today.

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