Within the last year or so there has been a large increase in the number of home wireless networks. Some of you might laugh at me saying “I have had wireless for 3 years already!”, but some of us less technically inclined folks are just getting up to speed with this technology. Several of my family and friends have requested that I help them setup their wireless networks and a majority of the time I go help, however the technology used now-a-days to do this is pretty straight forward and nine times out of ten they probably could do it themselves, and earn a sense of accomplishment in the process.

So here I am to help simplify the process of setting up your home wireless network. While this is not a step by step instruction guide since there are so many router types and models out there, it will help those of you willing to do this on your own, find references and tips to making it easier.

Instructions – The first thing that will be the most helpful is the instructions that came with the router. If you just purchased the router then almost positively there is a manual or CD with the manual on it. A majority of routers already come with an installation CD that you install and walk through on your computer to setup the router for you. Using the CD will most likely lead you through the setup without problems, but probably won’t show you any administrative type menus or options that you would get if you logged into your router and configured it that way. The manual is the best resource for getting this done correctly since it will have all the information pertinent to your router manufacturer and model. If this is a router that you didn’t just purchase and you have misplaced the directions or CD that came with it, you can look up the manual or needed setup instructions from the manufacturer’s website or sometimes a third party website. Your best bet in this case is to locate the Manufacturer and model on your router. The manufacturer for those that don’t know is the brand, i.e. Linksys, DLink, etc. The model will be a series of letters and numbers usually found on the front or bottom of your router. Put both of these into Google and search for “manual” or “instructions”. 99% of the time this will get you what you need to continue.

Logging into your router – If your router didn’t come with a CD that walks you through the setup process, chances are you can still setup what you want from the admin panel that most routers have. This is also how people can hack their way into your network so always make sure you secure your router by password protecting not just your wireless signal you will be sharing, but also your router itself. This will help prevent unwanted people on your network, and from them making changes to your network.

There is a login address your router uses to allow access to configure it. In my router’s case it is ‘’ A lot if not most routers by default will use this or a similar address. To be sure check your routers instruction manual, where it should tell you which address to use. Also keep in mind that if you don’t have a modem that already does wireless routing, and are using a modem with an external router your modem will also have a similar address for it’s configuration. You can also do a quick Google search to determine what address your router uses by default, if you don’t have the manual.

Once you enter the address ( in your browser window you more than likely will be prompted for a login and password. Once again, by default routers have admin login and passwords assigned. In the case of my router the login was ‘admin’ and the password was empty. This allowed me to get to the control panel of the router, where I changed the login and password to something a little more secure. The default login varied by manufacturer and model so once again you will need to reference the manual that came with your router or look up this information on a web search.

Once you are logged in to the control panel for your router it is up to you what you do but from a security perspective I would recommend at least doing two things. Password protect your wireless signal and password protect your router control panel. Again the way this is done varies by router Manufacturer and Model but almost all that I have come across will have options to do both of these from the control panel of the router. Look for keywords such as ‘Administrative’, ‘Wireless’, ‘Security’, etc to help navigate the control panel to the correct place. This is a good example of when having the manual will come in handy.

Passwords – Now I know what a lot of you are thinking. Who is going to hack into my wireless network anyway? Well for one, if you live in an apartment complex or in close proximity to your neighbor’s chances are you are already showing up on the grid for available wireless networks. The difference is whether or not your Network is secure. Choosing a good password is essential because believe it or not, there are applications and people out there that will be able to hack passwords such as your middle name, your dogs name or your place of birth. There have also been cases of people parking outside of homes with unsecured wireless networks and attaining personal information, leading to cases of identity theft. Due to all the fore mentioned it is advised you use strong passwords. What constitutes a good password? While I could do a whole other blog entry strictly on this subject, or even a book for that matter, I will keep it simple. Include the following in your passwords. At least one upper case character, at least one lower case character, at least one digit and at least one special character. While you don’t have to include all of these to make a strong password the more you do use them or combination’s of them the better. Also try avoiding personal information that others might know, i.e. your girlfriends name, your favorite soccer team, your favorite food etc. Try creating an acronym, it is easier to remember and it makes for a good password. For example instead of using a password ‘Chiefs1’ (scores 40%) since my favorite football team is the Chiefs I could modify it into an acronym and it will be stronger that way, ‘mft=KC#1’ (scores 78%) is short for “my favorite team is Kansas City #1”. If you are like some people and don’t want to think up a password then you can use a password generator. These come in all types of formats, websites, iPhone apps, an executables, etc. Here is a generator with several options and is available free online: GoodPassword.com. In addition, if you have a password in mind and want to check it for it’s strength, or want to check your existing passwords strength you can do so with either of these sites: Microsoft Password Checker or my favorite The Password Meter

While this post doesn’t dealve into the different types of networks, different types of encryption or give concrete details on how to setup your wireless network at home it should be a good starting point for most. Who knows, maybe I will go into this further at some point.