How to Set Up a WiFi Router

by M. WadeUpdated September 28, 2017
Photo courtesy: Xmods/MorgueFile

Items you will need

  • Desktop computer or laptop

  • Internet service provider (cable or DSL)

  • High-speed modem

  • Two Ethernet cables

A Wi-Fi router, also called a wireless router, is a networking device that acts as a gateway that joins your computer and your high-speed modem. A Wi-Fi router also acts as a wireless access point, allowing your wireless-enabled devices, such as a laptop, to communicate with it and connect to your network wirelessly. In order to use your W-iFi router, you must connect your computer, modem and router using Ethernet cables. You must also configure the router's settings.

Disconnect your high-speed modem's power cord. Connect your high-speed modem to the Wi-Fi router using an Ethernet cable. Also disconnect the Ethernet cable that connected the modem to your computer. Insert the Ethernet cable that was connected to your modem into the "Internet" (or "Modem") port on the back of your router. This port is usually next to the Wi-Fi router's power port and is distinguished by a color or label.

Turn off your computer. Using another Ethernet cable, connect your Wi-Fi router to your computer; the Ethernet jack is on the back of your computer. Plug the other end of the Ethernet cable into one of the numbered LAN ports on the back of your Wi-Fi router. It does not matter which LAN port you use.

Turn on the high-speed modem, router and computer, in that order. First, plug the power cable back into your high-speed modem, and turn it on. Wait at least two minutes to allow the modem time to connect to your Internet service provider's server. Make sure that your modem's status indicators (the lights on the front of the modem) show that it has successfully connected. Next, plug the Wi-Fi router's power adapter into the router's power port and into a power outlet. Wait another two minutes for the Wi-Fi router to connect to the modem. You will know that it has successfully connected when all of the lights on the front of the Wi-Fi router are on. Lastly, turn on your computer. If you plug in and power on the devices out of this order, you may not be able to connect to the Internet.

Log on to the Wi-Fi router's URL. Open a web browser on your computer and type the Wi-Fi router's URL in the browser's address bar. This address can be found in the documentation that came with your Wi-Fi router or on the manufacturer's website. After typing in the URL, press "Enter." This will take you to the Wi-Fi router's settings page.

Enter the user name and password for the Wi-Fi router. After entering the router's URL, a dialog box will appear requiring you to enter a user name and password for the router. For most Wi-Fi routers, the default user name is "admin" and the default password is "password" or there is no password. Remember that the text boxes are case sensitive.

Configure the Wi-Fi router's settings and wireless settings. On the main page of the router's setup menu, you will find links to change several settings. You can change the default SSID (wireless network name) to a custom name, and you can select the type of encryption you want to secure your wireless network. When you finish changing your settings, click "Apply" or "Save."


If you have the installation CD that came with your Wi-Fi router, you can insert it into your computer's CD-ROM drive to install the router, rather than manually installing the Wi-Fi router. Simply follow the onscreen instructions.

Placing your wireless router in the center of your home (or office) on an elevated, nonmetal surface away from walls will maximize signal strength in all areas of the building.

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