Even if you are a small family or group of roommates, it is difficult to coexist in the same residence with just a single cable modem trying to connect all of your different computers to the internet. Never mind the abundance of telephone lines and Ethernet cables that would be running through the house; in this modern age of mobile devices like smart phones and tablets, how would you ever manage?

Purpose of a WiFi Router

The WiFi router is a simple, all-points solution to this problem. The creation of a wireless local area network will facilitate every type of internet connection you would need in your home, from digital television packages, to multiple devices printing from a single printer, as well as web browsing. The function of the WiFi router, then, is to “share the wealth”; it splits the signal sent by your Internet Service Provider (ISP) through the cable modem to every device in the house, by acting as the middleman.

After you obtain a router from your local electronics store or through an internet order, the setup process is fairly easy for the general case:

    1. First, connect the router to the cable modem you should already have, using the provided Ethernet cord. There should be several ports available for this; try to find the one that reads “Internet” - although others will do if you do not have that written specifically. Also, the router itself needs to be plugged into a wall outlet for self-power.

    2. After the router lights start blinking, wait until they become steady (no longer blinking; just a beam of light on the WLAN button). When this occurs, plug the Ethernet line that came with your WiFi router into the computing devices you want on your wireless network. Do not worry; these lines will be removed later after the network recognizes your devices – it is a one-time thing.

    3. So now you should have the Ethernet cable (cables if you have more than one computing device you want on your wireless network) plugged into both the WiFi router and the appropriate entry on your computer. Search the manual for the IP address of the router – if you ca not locate the manual, search online using the computer that already works with a direct connection to the cable modem/DSL. The IP addresses of popular routers can be found online – in fact, those of even unpopular ones are almost certainly on the manufacturer‘s website somewhere. Or else, call tech support/customer service to retrieve it.

    4. Once you have the IP address, type it into any web browser you have installed already. Additionally, you can try this IP address, which works for the wide variety of WiFi routers: 192.168.1.1

    5. In the next step, there are two ways to go about it: The router‘s IP address is different from most websites that you would type in, in that it is protected. A username/password query will pop up as soon as you hit Return after typing in the IP address. If you have not previously configured this, then just enter the default information – which is easily found online by doing a search using your WiFi router‘s make and model. Of course, this info should also be in the manual that came with the package.

    6. The next series of steps involve you personalizing your wireless network: name it whatever you like – but down give it a name similar to any others you might see; these are your neighbors‘ own wireless connections extending into your range. They are probably password-connected; but just in case they are not, you do not ever want to accidentally log on to their networks if you have your own, where your personal information may be open to viewing.

    7. Select a password using a combination of letters and numbers; this way only people in your network can access your internet. Save everything now.

    8. Now you can disconnect the Ethernet cord from both your computing devices and the WiFi router. You might need to reboot everything; but first, try and see if your computer can self-locate the new wireless network – it will show up in your notification area with the name you gave it. If not, then go ahead and restart everything – the modem, router and computer.

    9. After Windows has booted, head to your system tray, where the network bars strength should show up – then connect by entering your password. If given the option, set it to locate and connect this network every time, so that you dont ever have to enter the password again as long as you are within range and using the same computing device.

    10. Surf the web, check email, or send jobs to your wireless printer! You are all set.
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