December 24, 2006

Installing & Troubleshooting and securing your home or office wireless router

I recently made a move and as a result, decided to change my ISP as well. I'm now up and running at home with a bundled service from Comcast. Getting the wireless network up and running though was not exactly pug-and-play. Here's a few comments and notes from my experience that might help you if you ever decide to add a wireless router to your home system... maybe Santa will put a spanky, new Wireless N router under your tree ;0)
Once your service is being fed to your house (in my case I have a box from comcast), you now need to connect your wireless router to the system (go wireless G or even better, N)... simply plug it into the box and theoretically you're now serving your connection wirelessly through your home. Now you need to connect your PCs or Notebooks to the system... this part may cause you some troubles. First you need to get in and configure settings for your router. No need to worry about software etc... that you may or may not have installed. You can do this using a web browser and the following instructions. Note: if you have no wireless you should be able to simply wire your notebook or PC directly into the router provided you have some CAT5 cable kicking around (I never leave home without a cable!)

Steps for Installing & Troubleshooting and securing your home or office wireless router
First, you can establish an online connection if you know the correct IP address to use. Not sure about the IP... try this sequence.
Open a command line window - Using a Windows PC - Start / Run / CMD
- you should get a familiar little black command window
-  Try to ping the default IP (this is frequently the default IP address) - type ping
- if you get a message that reads "request timed out" then you need to use a slightly a different IP address
- type ipconfig this should return some parameters including your IP (Default gateway)
- ping the IP from the gateway value
- this is now the IP address that you need to access your wireless router settings. From IE or Netscape enter
http://(your IP address) i.e..
- this will get you to a page that is specific to your router where you can configure it. Hopefully you know the default settings so you can login. If you've never run through this before then you can use the defaults... not sure what the defaults are? Consult your router manufacturer's website.. a simple google search should locate it easily. Quite often the default login will simply be admin / admin
- setup all the security login keys for your network and save
- hopefully now you can establish a connection from your notebook or PC. View all available wireless networks, then try and connect. You should be prompted for your WPA key if you set up security.
- Finally, I was using USB wireless "dongles" to connect my PC in the past, however, to get a better/faster wireless connection I then decided to install a wireless G network adaptor card into my machine... quite simple to do and cost about $40... well worthwhile. The Dell notebook still connects quite easily to the network, however, I'm convinced that the wireless card that comes with Dell products is not "totally" compatible or efficient... I may decide to swap that one out as well.
Good Luck

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