When you set up a wireless router, you create a wireless network. There are four primary steps in this process:

  • Get the right hardware.

  • Set up the router.

  • Connect the router to the Internet (if you want Internet access).

  • Connect computers to the network.

Each of these steps is described in detail in the following sections.

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Get the right hardware

You'll need the following hardware to set up a wireless network:

  • A wireless router. For information about how to choose a wireless router, see Selecting a wireless router or another wireless network device.

  • A computer that has a wireless network adapter.

  • A computer that has a wired network adapter (used only during setup; this can be the same computer that has the wireless network adapter).

  • A network (Ethernet) cable (used only during setup; if you want to connect to the Internet and you have a separate broadband modem, you will need a second Ethernet cable).

Set up the router

If your router displays the Windows 7 logo or the phrase "Compatible with Windows 7," you can set it up automatically using the latest version of Windows Connect Now (WCN) on Windows Vista Service Pack 2 or Windows 7. Follow these steps to set up your router automatically:

  1. Unpack the router and plug it into a power source. Because you are using WCN, you don't need to physically connect the router to your computer.

  2. Open Connect to a Network by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then clicking Connect to.

    A list of networks currently available is displayed.

  3. Click the default network of your router, which is identified by the manufacturer name.

  4. Follow the instructions on your screen.

Note

  • WCN sets up the network with security turned on by default. You can change the security settings later if desired.

Even if WCN isn't available, most routers come with a setup CD that will assist you in setting it up. Review the information that came with your router.

If WCN isn't available, you can also follow these steps to set up the router manually:

  1. Unpack the router and plug it into a power source.

  2. Connect one end of the network cable to the computer’s wired network adapter and connect the other end to the wireless router (in any port that isn't labeled "Internet," "WAN," or "WLAN").

  3. Open your web browser and type the address of the router’s configuration webpage. For most routers, the address to the configuration webpage is either http://192.168.0.1 or http://192.168.1.1. The following list provides information about how to access the webpage for some of the most common routers.

    Router
    Address
    User name
    Password

    3Com

    http://192.168.1.1

    admin

    admin

    D-Link

    http://192.168.0.1

    admin

    Linksys

    http://192.168.1.1

    admin

    admin

    Microsoft Broadband

    http://192.168.2.1

    admin

    admin

    Netgear

    http://192.168.0.1

    admin

    password

    After you access the configuration page, you'll be asked to log in with a user name and password. To find the user name and password, refer to the table above or review the information that came with your router.

  4. Run the router’s setup utility, if there is one. If there is no setup utility, configure the following settings manually by referring to the information that came with your router.

    • Choose a name for the wireless network by specifying the service set identifier (SSID).

    • Select the kind of encryption (WPA, WPA2, or WEP) you want to use for security and turn it on.

      Note

      • We recommend using WPA2, if possible. We don't recommend using WEP. WPA or WPA2 are more secure. If you try WPA or WPA2 and they don't work, we recommend that you upgrade your network adapter to one that works with WPA or WPA2.

    • Choose a security key to be used for access to the wireless network.

    • Change the default administrative password of the router to a new password so that other people can't gain access to your network.

Connect the router to the Internet

Connecting your router to the Internet gives everyone on your network an Internet connection.

Depending on the type of Internet connection you have, this step can vary:

  • If you have broadband (cable, DSL, or fiber optic) Internet service, connect the cable supplied by your broadband provider to your router (the connection will usually be marked as "Internet").

  • If you have a separate broadband modem, plug one end of an Ethernet cable into the Internet port on your router, and plug the other end into the modem. Then, connect the cable supplied by your broadband provider to your modem.

Connect computers to the network

You can keep your initial computer permanently connected to the router with a wired connection, or you can switch to a wireless connection. To connect other computers to your network, follow these steps:

  1. Log on to the computer you want to connect to the network.

  2. Open Connect to a Network by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then clicking Connect to.

  3. Choose the wireless network from the list that appears, and then click Connect.

    Warning

    • Whenever possible, you should connect to a security-enabled wireless network. If you do connect to a network that's not secure, be aware that someone with the right tools can see everything that you do, including the websites you visit, the documents you work on, and the user names and passwords that you use. Changing your network location to Public can help minimize the risk. For more information, see Choosing a network location and How do I know if a wireless network is secure?

  4. Do one of the following:

    • If your router supports Windows Connect Now (WCN), or Wi‑Fi Protected Setup (WPS), and there is a push button on the router, push the button and then wait for a few seconds while the router automatically adds the computer to the network. You don't need to type a security key.

    • Type the security key or passphrase if you are prompted to do so, and then click OK.

    • If you want to use a USB flash drive to copy network settings to your computer instead of typing a security key or passphrase, search Help and Support for "Add a device or computer to a network."

    You'll see a confirmation message when you are connected to the network.