Securing & Configuring Your Router

While most of the default settings in the router work with our service, default wireless settings cause   security issues and allow access to others to your computer and connection. Do not leave a wireless router unsecured.  If your router does not support wireless, you likely do not have to worry about configuring it.  If you are not certain if your router supports wireless, check it’s settings to be certain.

The first step when configuring a router is to connect to it with an internet cable.  While you can configure a router over wireless, you will have to reconnect to the wireless network each time you change a setting.  It’s far easier to connect with a wire instead.

In order to program or configure your router you will need to input the IP address of your router into the address bar on your internet browser.  

For most manufacturers, the IP address and login information are as follows:

Asus –, user: admin, password: admin

Belkin –, user: (blank), password: (blank) or admin

Dlink –, user: admin, password: (blank)

Linksys/Cisco –, user: (blank), password: admin

Netgear – or, user: admin, password: password

Enter the user name and password.  Unless you have changed the password yourself, it should be the default for your router.  In nearly all cases, the user name is “admin” and the password is empty, or the user name is empty and the password is “admin.”  In some rare cases, both the user name and password are “admin”. 

Some routers use a different user name/password combination entirely; refer to the manufacurer's web page for the default user name and password for your router. 
Once you enter the correct user name and password, you should be taken to the router configuration screen similar to the one shown below.  
Different brands of routers will have different looking configuration screens, but they should be similar enough to navigate.
Basic setup
The most important part of this screen is the menu across the top (Setup, Wireless, Security, etc).  Some routers will display a similar menu on the left hand side.  We want to click on Wireless to display the wireless settings.
Basic wireless settings
There are two settings on this screen that you need to change.  
The first is the SSID or wireless network name.  When you try to connect a computer wirelessly, this name will appear in the list of detected networks.  By default, this Linksys router uses an SSID of “linksys”.  If a  neighbour is also using a Linksys router with the same name there would be a serious problem as teh computer can't tell which router it should be talking to if they have the same name.  Change the network name to something unique that recognize as yours when you pick it out of the list.  Record your network name on you desktop or a small piece of paper and tape it to the bottom of the router.

You will need to change the  Wireless Channel as Channel 6 is usually the default, and is also the default used by cordless phones, baby monitors, and just about everything else.  Changing it to channel 1 or channel 11 will usually avoid these sources of noise/interference and make your wireless signal stronger.  Here is the screen above with the network name and channel changed to “Example” and 11, respectively.  Remember to hit the “Save Settings” button at the bottom of the page.

Newer routers will often give an option to change Channel Width.  We strongly recommend using 20 MHz channel widths only rather than 20/40, as it is less likely to cause interference between the router and other wireless devices.  The additional speed from wider channels is almost never needed in a residential environment.
Basic wireless settings
Next, we need to change wireless security.  Some routers have the wireless security settings on the same page as the network name and channel, but this router has a separate page for it.  Hit “Wireless Security” in the menu to get to the security page.

The picture belows shows that the default setting for this router is to disable all security.  This allows anyone in range of your wireless network to access your home network.  There are two risks leaving your wireless network unsecured.  First, someone might use your internet connection to do something illegal or fraudulent which would be traced back to you.  Second, they can connect directly to your computers, possibly giving them access to sensitive personal, financial, and business information.  For these reasons, you always want to put a password on your wireless network.
Wireless security
There are several types of wireless security.
The most secure type available to home users is WPA2 Personal. Look for an algorithm or key type property.  It is usually set to TKIP, AES, or both.  Use both if it is available, or TKIP otherwise.  Some older computers do not support the AES key type, so TKIP is usually the best choice.

Next we want to enter a password or shared key.  The password can be any combination of numbers and letters, and is case sensitive.  It must be at least eight characters.
In this example, I used “example1995” as our password.  We recommend writing down both the wireless network name and password on a small sheet of paper of sticky note, and taping it directly onto the router.  That way, if you need to connect another computer, the password is someplace easy to find.  Remember to hit the “Save Settings” button once you are finished.
Wireless security2
Congratulations!  Your wireless network is now secured.  There are many other settings in your router, but in most cases the defaults are fine, so we don’t need to examine them.