How Do I Install a Wireless Router

How do I install a wireless router? Can I really do this? While the prospect may seem daunting, it's not a terribly difficult process if you consult the manufacturer's instructions and proceed with installation in a methodical manner.

Read the Instructions
Before you do anything else, consult the manufacturer's instructions. Many people simply try to plug in a wireless router and go, but it's not that simple. The manufacturer typically designates a specific point for you to hook up and configure the router, and you probably have to take other steps before you can get the router to work. Make sure you follow the manufacturer's instructions to the letter, which may include running software or saving network settings before you unplug your existing network.

Run Installation Software
Most wireless routers require you to run installation software while your computer is still connected to your old network. This enables the installation software to discover and store your network configuration settings, and easily configure your new wireless network. Make sure you run the installation software at the appropriate point, which may be before you've disconnected any cables or added your wireless router to the mix. If you consult the manufacturer's instructions, you'll know exactly when to run the installation software.

Connect the Wireless Router
Do not connect the wireless router until you are prompted to do so. Even though you're setting up a wireless network, you'll need a wired connection to configure your router and the network.

Connect your computer to the router with an Ethernet cable. This enables you to properly install the network and apply security settings. After everything is set, you can disconnect the Ethernet cable and use the wireless network with any computer that has a wireless network adapter.

One important note here: you'll need to restore that wired connection from time to time, either to add new computers and devices to your network, to change security settings on the router and to diagnose connection problems. It's very helpful to keep the wireless router connected to a desktop computer in your home or office through an Ethernet cable. That way, you can access the router immediately if your connection goes down. If you do use a laptop to configure your router, make sure it's available in case there are problems with your network. You can't simply hook any computer up to the router once it's running; you must use the computer that created the initial configuration.

Select Router Settings
Different configurations require different wireless router settings. The manufacturer's instructions and software installation disc will walk you through the installation process so that you can select the correct settings. This includes selecting a network name, determining whether to broadcast the wireless network ID and choosing network security settings. Never disconnect your equipment or stop the installation software unless prompted, as your installation may not complete properly if you do.

Be sure to change the default name of the router and the network, as well as any default passwords for access to the network. Computer criminals know these defaults, and failing to change them invites unwanted intrusions into your network. 

Reboot Your Computer
In most cases, you'll need to reboot the computer you used to configure your wireless router in order to get an active Internet connection. When you reboot your computer, the router assigns your computer an IP address that you can use to connect to the Web. Without rebooting, you'll have old network data that won't work with your new wireless network connection settings. You may need to reboot your modem as well so that it can recognize the wireless router.

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