How Do I Set Up a Wireless Router?

April 25, 2009

in Internet,wireless computing

by Tina Gasperson

One of the best home use peripherals to come along in the last 10 years is the wireless router. With one of these, you can have an unlimited number of computers sharing one Internet connection. And to think my ISP used to charge an extra $10 a month for more than one computer on the same connection. Those days are long gone. Today, it’s inexpensive and easy to set up a wireless router.

No matter what brand of router you purchase, the mechanics of installing it are the same. Unplug your modem from the electric socket, whether it is cable, DSL, or FIOS. If your modem was attached to your PC via a network cable, remove the cable from your PC but leave the other end in the modem. Now, look at the back of your router. There will be a row of inputs for network cables, usually four right next to each other, and one that’s a bit removed, which is labeled either WAN or Modem. That’s where you want to plug in your network cable, with the other end attached to your modem. Attach the included AC adapter to your router and plug it into an electrical outlet.

The router will go through a start up cycle and then will begin receiving and transmitting data. At this point, the router’s wireless signal is transmitting and any nearby computers with working wireless network adapters should be able to detect the signal. Follow the instructions in my other Tiplet, How to Connect Your Laptop to a Wireless Network to get connected to the network.

For security reasons, be sure to read the users manual for your router and add password protection to your new wireless network. Otherwise, a malicious user could access your network and steal private information from your system. When you have guests who need to use the network, you can give them the password. Be sure to change your password on a regular basis using the administration panel for your router.

If your PC doesn’t have a wireless adapter, you can plug it into the router using a standard network cable and access the Internet that way. One end goes in the PC’s adapter, and the other end plugs into the back of the wireless router. However, to cut back on the clutter of wires behind your computer desk, consider getting a small USB wireless adapter for your desktop system as well. As long as your router is close to the PC, you’ll never have to worry about a weak signal. Enjoy!

Tina Gasperson (, affectionately known as Computer Lady by her family, has been writing about IT, home computing, and the Internet for more than a decade.