With a home network, you can allow devices, such as computers, printers, smartphones and game consoles to communicate within the network. This makes it easier to share files, print documents and access the Internet. By properly setting up your home network, you can ensure the security and efficiency of your network. This guide walks you through the basic setup as well as the best security practices.
Here’s how to setup your home network:
Things You’ll Need
The most important requirement for setting up your home network is an active Internet connection. You can purchase an Internet connection from a local Internet Service Provider (ISP).
Modem stands for modulator/demodulator. The role of a modem is to convert analog data received from the ISP to digital. For outgoing data, it also converts digital data to analog before dispatching it to the Web.
A modem is generally rented or sold by your ISP when applying for a new Internet connection.
It acts as a central device that connects to every networking device. The role of the router is to assign a unique address to every device, enabling communication within the network. It also provides WiFi signal securely to every networking device.
Devices to Connect
These include computers, printers, smartphones, gaming consoles and all other devices you’re looking to connect to the home network. You must consider connecting at least one computer system to the home network for initial setup.
How to Setup Your Home Network
Configure the Modem
In most cases, a technician comes from the ISP to configure the modem for the first time. Even if the technician isn’t available, you shouldn’t worry because modem configuration is a simple task you can handle on your own.
• Insert the designated Internet cable into the modem. Depending on your Internet connection (DSL, cable), the cable will vary. However, there will only be one place on the modem to fit the cable.
• Power the modem on.
• Study the light activity
Studying the Light Activity
The modem will house several lights on the front. The power light will always be on after you plug into a power source. You will find the blinking Send and Receive lights that attempt to communicate with the ISP to establish an Internet connection. The Online light will power on when a connection has successfully been established.
The specific lights may vary depending on the model of your modem.
Setup the Router
Now that the modem has been configured, it is time to set up the router. Check out homenetworkadmin.com for an advice on buying wireless routers. If you have a used router, then it may help to reset it to factory settings first. Look for the tiny reset button usually found on the rear of the device. Use a pin to press the reset button. The device must be powered on for the changes to take place.
• Use an Ethernet cable to connect the router to a modem. Generally, the Ethernet cable comes with the modem. You can also purchase one at a local computer shop. Plug one end of the Ethernet cable into the modem. There is only one spot in the modem where the Ethernet cable fits.
• Plug the other end of the Ethernet cable into the “Internet” or “WAN” port of the router.
• Connect your computer to one of the LAN ports of the router. It usually has a label “LAN” on it. There may be groups of several LAN ports on the router. Connect the computer into any of these LAN ports.
• Turn on the power.
Log into the Router
With the router connected to the modem, there should be Internet access on your computer. You can setup the router the way you like from the computer.
Log in to the router’s administrative interface. Open a Web browser and point the URL to the default IP address, which is usually 192.168.1.1. However, the specific IP address may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Check the documentation accompanying the router for the specific IP address of your router.
When you enter the default IP address, it will ask for a username and password. This information is also provided in the router’s user guide.
After providing the required information, you will be directed to the administrative interface of the router.
Consider these settings to enable WiFi access on your home network:
Network Name (SSID)
This shows the name of the wireless network, and it will be visible to anyone searching WiFi networks inside or around the house. You can assign any name you like.
It allows you to choose between wireless-N, wireless-G, wireless-B and other options, such as mixed. For basic users, the default settings suffice and there is no need to alter them.
It allows you to choose whether or not the network name should appear when someone looks for wireless networks. If it is turned off, you will have to manually type the name of network to add a new device to it.
The most secure mode is the WPA2-Personal or WPA2. It is very easy to crack WEP. It is also important to assign a strong password to your network on WPA2. You should consider using a combination of letters, numbers and characters in the password.
It is the password used to connect to your wireless network.
Securing the Wireless Home Network
While it may not be necessary to apply every security setting discussed below, you must consider using a combination of a few that work best in your case.
Change the Default Password
It is important to change the default password used to log in to the router. This prevents someone from accessing the router and changing the settings without your knowledge.
WPA2 Encryption for WiFi
It is important to protect your wireless network from unauthorized access.
Turn Off SSID Broadcast
While it may appear annoying to manually enter a password every time you need to connect a device to the wireless network, it certainly enhances the security of your network. It is difficult for someone to access a network they don’t even know exists.
Use Wireless Mac Filter
It is another layer of security that requires the unique MAC address of the device connecting to the router. The MAC address is assigned to every device capable of connecting to a network.
Limit the Number of Devices that can be Connected
If you only require a specific number of devices to connect to your home network, you can alter the settings to allow that very number of clients to connect to the router.