Wifi 6: Get started with your router – in just a quarter
Creating your own local network for phones, computers and tablets with a common connection to the internet is something that creates trouble for many. Although the process itself is relatively simple, there is much to think about, such as which router you should choose, how to connect to it when installed and how to configure it.
If you do not already have a router at home, you may be wondering which model to buy. A number of years ago, you had to decide whether to invest in a router with or without wireless network support, but that is not something you need to think about today. Nowadays, almost all consumer models in the market have some kind of wifi support.
Wifi 6 standard new
Previously, the Wifi standard was called 802.11 with a letter combination after. The fastest, for example, was 802.11ac, while the version before was called 802.11n. Now it has become easier to keep track of which standard is the latest, as the name is simply Wifi 6 for the fastest standard. The previous versions are named Wifi 1-5. Should you buy a new router is always the latest standard to recommend.
If you intend to connect one or more devices to the router via cable, which is preferable since you will then have a more stable connection and often even higher speed, you should check if the local network network connections on the router you are considering are adapted for 100 or 1,000 megabits per second (1 gigabit per second, often referred to as gigabit lan).
However, it is only important if you have computers or other devices in the network that are able to connect at the highest speed. If you only have 100 megabytes, you don’t have to worry about that bit. Also, it is irrelevant if your broadband reaches a maximum of 100 megabits per second and there is only one device in the network with capacity for 1,000 megabits per second. In that case, the lone entity still has no counterparty to communicate at full speed.
If you have a broadband connection that can handle more than 100 megabits per second, you must of course also make sure that the incoming network connection for internet connection can handle that speed. Today, there are many such models to choose from and the support is often referred to as gigabit wan in the specifications.
Plug in the router
It is easy to connect your router to an Internet connection, especially if it comes with an installation disc that guides you through the entire process. If there is one, insert it into a computer and start the disc before doing anything else. If all goes well, you’ll be up and running in minutes. The disadvantage of this variant is that you are not able to make as detailed settings.
If you want to take care of the installation more on your own, start by extracting the network cable that came with the router and then plug it into the router’s incoming connection. It usually has a different color than the other four network contacts for local devices and is at best labeled WAN, Internet or with some type of internet symbol. If you do not find it, consult the manual.
The other end of the cable you plug into your modem if you connect to the internet via telephone line or cable TV, or directly into a network socket in the wall if you have fiber or some other variant where the internet is advanced in the same way.
Then connect the power cable to the router and press the power button if available. Now the router connects to the internet and activates the wireless network, which is indicated by different LEDs on the front illuminated. It takes a few minutes.
If you want to connect to the router with a network cable, plug one end into one of the other network connections on the router and the other into the computer, game console, TV or whatever it may be. If the router is standard configured – that is, if you bought it new – it will automatically connect all connected devices to the Internet.
If you prefer to run wirelessly, go to the device to be connected and look up the wireless networking tool. If you have a Windows computer, click the icon in the lower right corner. Press the on / off button to activate and select your network from the list. If you are not sure what it is called, you can use the manual. You may also need to enter a password, and this can also be found in the manual.
Now that your router is up and running and you can connect to the Internet, it’s time to go into the other most basic settings.
To access the administration interface, open a web browser and enter the router’s IP address, which is usually set to 192.168.1.1. If that address does not work, you must check the manual to find the correct address. When you are inside and browsing, you can also take note of the username and password that applies to the administration part. The router will request this information when the ip address is entered.
Once logged in you will often be offered a guide for the basic configuration, but you can also set everything that is needed manually.
Most importantly, change the standard username and password for administration to something completely different. Often, a router is set to a username in the style of “admin” and password “1234”, and of course it is not enough if you want to avoid intrusion. Be sure to choose a password that contains both numbers and lowercase letters. For example, the setting may be under the Administration menu, but it varies between different models.
It is also important to encrypt the wireless network. If you do not, anyone can connect to the network if they are within range of the signals. In addition to unnecessarily burdening your network, there is a clear security risk.
For example, the encryption setting can be found under a menu called Wireless. Then look for a heading that says something like authentication method or encryption.
Now it is time to specify the encryption method. Different methods offer different security. Wep should definitely be avoided as it has far too poor security. Instead, you should go for some variant of wpa, preferably wpa2 if available. If you have a modern router, you can probably also choose between a variant of wpa for personal use and one for corporate use. The former is preferred for a home network. Then enter a password for the encryption method.
On the same page as the encryption settings, you will often find ssid (service set identification), ie the name of the network. You can rename it to anything, but the recommendation is that you do not use a name that can be associated with you personally.
Right next to the ssid setting, there is an option to hide the ssid name, but this is something that an average user should avoid. The idea of hiding the name is good as it could provide some protection against hackers, but the truth is that it is still possible to find the network for anyone who wants to. Furthermore, a hidden site just makes it unnecessarily complicated for your devices to connect to the network.
Select the network default
Then the security was arranged. You can now feel confident that your router is securely protected against the most common attacks. Now activate the new settings by pressing OK, Apply or something similar. Since the router now uses encryption, you must reconnect to the network and enter the password you just entered. Therefore, log in to the administration interface again by entering the same IP address as before in your browser.
The question now is which network standard to use? It is governed by what your computers, tablets and mobile phones use. The recommendation is to use as modern a variant as possible. If all devices, for example, can connect to Wifi 5 or 6, select it. Otherwise, set the router to an older standard (the setting is in the general menu of the wireless network).
It is also possible to have the router communicate across multiple standards at the same time, but this is not recommended in the first place as it can adversely affect network performance.
All routers somewhere also have a setting for whether the dhcp (dynamic host configuration protocol) function is on or off. When enabled, the router automatically distributes IP addresses to all devices that want to connect to the network, and it is also the setting recommended for the vast majority, especially beginners.
The alternative is to enter an IP address manually on all devices, but it is unnecessarily complicated and you must then make sure that you do not enter the same IP address on two different devices.