Preparing to Install and Configure a Router

Installing and configuring your router is the most complex and important activity in setting up your home or office network. This device is used to connect the entire home or work network to your Internet service provider. Therefore, it must have the correct settings if it is to connect without problems. Once the router setup is complete, you must configure the settings of your home network so that all computers can connect to the router and the Internet. Lastly, you need to enable the wireless capability and configure it so that all notebooks and netbooks can connect to the home network. Configuring the router depends a lot on the manufacturer and the specific model you have. There is no universal method for configuring a router, as each producer uses a different approach. Therefore, carefully read the user manual while going through this procedure. While you progress through the configuration, pay attention to the following details:

●● Internet WAN (Wide Area Network) settings All of these settings are obtained from your Internet service provider (ISP) and are used to connect your home network to the Internet. You might need to contact your ISP to gather information you need to configure your router’s connection to the Internet.
●● Connection type What kind of connection will you be using? The most common connection types are the following:
❍❍ Dynamic Your ISP will automatically assign an IP address to the router. This IP address is based on the Media Access Control (MAC) address of your router. A MAC address is a unique identifier used by most network adapters for identification. The MAC address can be found in the configuration screens of your router; it is composed using following format: XX-XX-XX-XX-XX-XX. The MAC address can be formed only with letters and numbers. One example is: 0A-19-5B-BC-D2-E1.

❍❍ Static IP address The ISP will assign a static IP (Internet Protocol) address to your router. An IP Address is composed using the following format: XXX-XXXXXX- XXX. The address is comprised only of numbers (for example, 86-34-233-84). When such a connection is used, you need to know the values for the IP Address, Subnet Mask, and Gateway Address. All these details share the format of the IP Address—they are formed only from numbers and can be given to you only by your ISP.
❍❍ Point-to-Point Protocol over Ethernet (PPPoE) This is generally used by telephone companies that also provide Internet connections. PPPoE requires the ISP to create a user name and password for you. You need to enter these details into the router’s configuration screens. This information is used to “dial” the connection to the servers of your ISP.

❍❍ Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) Mostly used in Europe, this is another type of connection that requires authentication through a user name and password. It provides similar levels of security to typical virtual private network products.
●● Domain Name Server (DNS) A DNS has the function of translating the human readable domain names we use for Web sites—for example, —into the corresponding IP addresses that are used by network devices. You will need two DNS addresses: a primary and secondary. These addresses are the IP Addresses of two servers and you will obtain this information only from your ISP.
●● Local Area Network (LAN) Settings These settings are applied to your home network. Most routers come with a predefined set of configurations. If this is the case with your router, go ahead and use them. There is no need to change them, as they will work properly right out of the box. The LAN settings define what kind of IP Addresses are assigned to your home computers and whether they are assigned dynamically or statically. For more information, consult the manual of your router and follow the recommendations of the manufacturer.
●● Wireless Settings These settings are applied to all laptops or netbooks that access your home network via a wireless connection. First, you need to enable the wireless capability. Here there are a couple of details you should configure:

❍❍ Service Set Identifier (SSID) This is the name that will be displayed when a laptop searches for wireless networks in your area. Here, it is best to give it a recognizable name so that people in your home know that it is your network. The name can contain letters, numbers, and underscores.
❍❍ Security Type This setting defines the authentication and encryption methods (or lack of it) that are used to protect your network. Your options include WPA2-PSK (best protection method, highly recommended), WPA-PSK, WEP (very poor protection, easily cracked), or no security, which means everybody can freely connect to your network. If you select to enable any type of security, you must also type an access key (or password). Make sure this key combines letters, numbers, and special characters such as #, &, +, etc. Write this access key down, as you will need to know it in order to establish a wireless connection to your home network.
Once the router is configured correctly, make sure that all desktops are connected via cable and check if your drivers are installed correctly.

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