How to Configure and Secure Your Router Settings for a Home Network
If you do not have any computers connected to the router via a hard line connection, you are going to have to take an ethernet cable and connect it from your network port on your computer to any of the open numbered ports in the back of the router. Then turn your computer on. If you already have a computer connected to the router via a hard line connection, you will want to go to one of those computers to configure the router.
To access the router’s settings, open Internet Explorer. Then in the address bar type the IP address of the router. It is usually written in the instructional booklet. You will also be prompted to input a user name and password.
The common manufacturer’s use the following IP addresses, user names, and passwords:
Manufacturer IP Address User Name Password
Linksys® http://192.168.1.1 Admin admin
Belkin® http://192.168.2.1 Admin (blank)
NetGear® http://192.168.0.1 Admin password
D-Link® http://192.168.0.1 Admin (blank)
Once entered, you will be taken to the router’s configuration page. There are only a few sets that you will want to change, most the others should be fine. You should also consult your Linksys ea7500 manual while performing these changes to your router.
You will want to change the user name’s password to the configuration page. If left to the default, a possible invader can access the configuration page of your router using the default passwords, which are well known amongst IT people. You want to write down your router’s password and keep it in a safe place.
Also, you will want to change your SSID which is the name of your wireless network. This will be displayed to computers that pick up your wireless signal. You want to try to pick a name for your network that only you will recognize. The last thing, and most important, change to make is to set up the wireless network security known as WPA (Wireless Protection Access) or WEP (Wireless Encryption). WPA is more secure, thus a better option. WEP offers encryption but manuals have been released on how to crack its encryption.
WPA – If you have a choice to pick the encryption type, TSK is usually the default. AES is another option but is not very popularly used. Thus, using TSK offers better compatibility between different manufactured products. You will also have to enter a Pre-Shared Key which acts sort of like a password to your network. Users are going to have to enter this in to connect to your network. Once connected, the network key is usually stored by the computer for convenience. The network key is case-sensitive usually.
WEP – There are usually two different types of WEP encryption, 128bit, and 64bit. The 128bit encryption used to be the standard in wireless network security, but this has recently changed. If you have trouble with your network adapters using WPA,
128bit encryption servers as a secondary option for security. The 64bit encryption is rarely recommended as sufficient security protection.
WEP will require you to enter a hexadecimal code, which is a combination of numbers from 0-9 and letters from A-F, or you can have one automatically generated by
entering in some type of random passphrase. An example of a hexadecimal code is
The 128bit encryption has 13 hex pairs for the hex code. The 68-bit encryption usually has 5 hex pairs and 4 different keys that can be used to access the network. Some other changes that can help people trying to access your network are by changing the following:
_ Change the channel on which the wireless signal is being projected
_ Turn on MAC Filtering
After the changes have been made, you should make sure to save the changes you have made. Usually, there is an “Apply Changes” link or button that will do this for you.
If for some reason you forget the password, most routers have a reset button in the back of them which when pressed, will restore the factory settings. Now everything should be properly set up and the hard-lined connections should be up and running.
Connecting the Wireless Computers
If your wireless cards or adapters are not built in, insert them now into their appropriate port, either in a USB slot or in a PCMIA slot which is usually on one of the sides of the laptop. Once you insert the cards or adapters, Windows® will find the new hardware and ask you to insert the manufacturer’s CD-ROM that came with it. The CD-ROM should have a step by step process for installing the necessary drivers and configuring the card or adapter.
To connect the computer to your wireless network, right-click on the wireless network icon in your taskbar (the icons in the lower right corner of your screen) and click
“View Available Wireless Networks”. Next, you will see a list of available networks in your computer’s range. Use the mouse to select your network name then click the “Connect” button. If you do not see your network name, try clicking the “Refresh network list” to update the list of available networks.
If you enabled either WPA or WEP protection on the wireless router, you will be prompted to enter the network key upon your connection attempt. Enter the network key in the boxes, “Network Key” and “Confirm Network Key”, and then click “Connect”.
Once you click the “Connect” button, Windows® will attempt to connect to the wireless network. The bars indicate the strength of the wireless signal for that specific network. A message will say “Connected!” once it has established a strong enough connection and now you are set to go.