Home Network Setup Guide

Setting up a home network allows your high-tech devices to communicate with each other and the internet. Some examples of these devices include printers, computers, game consoles, and smartphones. Follow the steps below in order to setup a home network the safe and right way.

GETTING STARTED

Here is what you need in order to setup a home network:

internetInternet Connection
You’ll need an internet connection from an Internet Service Provider (ISP), unless you are not planning on connecting your devices to the internet. Most ISPs either rent or sell modems to their customers at an affordable price.

modemModem
A model is basically a device that converts the analog signal to digital as the data is coming in, and then it converts data from the digital signal to analog as it is going out.

routerRouter
A router is a device that provides a Wi-Fi signal and security when you connect all of your devices to it. Once they are connected, it assigns different addresses to them. For more information on wireless routers, go to Comparing Wireless Routers: Wireless B, G, N and AC.

laptopConnecting Devices
You can connect entertainment systems, printers, smart phones, and to make the setup easier, a computer is highly recommended.

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SETTING UP YOUR HOME NETWORK

Follow the steps below to setup your home network.

STEP 1: SETUP YOUR MODEM

Many ISPs will have someone come to your house and setup the modem for you. If your ISP doesn’t provide modem setup services, don’t worry, as it is a fairly simple process that anybody can perform. The steps below tell you how to set it up.

  1. Do not plug in the electrical cord yet as this will be done last.
  2. Connect the designated cable to your modem (different for DSL and cable). It is a pretty simple action to perform, as it will only go into the correct place.
  3. Plug in the electrical cord.
  4. Assess light activity. On your modem, you’ll see a number of lights. Your ‘send’ and ‘receive’ lights will be blinking, which means that your device is attempting to communication with the ISP. The ‘online’ light usually comes out in a few seconds, which will mean that you are connected to the Internet. Remember, every model is design different; therefore, read the guide that came with your modem to understand the meaning behind each light.

TROUBLESHOOTING YOUR MODEM

In case the lights mentioned in the previous section do not turn on, make sure that everything is plugged in correctly. If everything is plugged correctly, wait around five minutes. If you are still having an issue, unplug the electrical cord and then plug it in again to reset the modem. If the issue still persists, contact the ISP.

STEP 2: SETTING UP YOUR ROUTER

Once your modem is working correctly, make sure to unplug the electrical cord from the modem. If your router is not brand new, you might need to reset it back to the factory settings, with the help of a pin or pen. This will ensure that the previous settings do not interfere with the setup. Refer to the image below to see where the different router ports are located, which are mentioned in the following steps.

  1. Connect the router to the modem with an Ethernet wire. Plug it in the port that reads ‘WAN’ or ‘Internet.’
  2. Connect the computer to a LAN port on the router. This port will simply read ‘LAN’ or will have a number.
  3. Now plugin the electrical cord.

router ports

Click on the image to zoom in.

LOGGING INTO THE ROUTER

Once the router is on and linked to your modem, the computer that is connected to the router’s LAN port must be hooked up to the internet. Now, you’ll have to setup the router with your preferred settings, which can be done from the computer.

Open the browser on your computer in order to login to the router’s administrative interface. Check the guide that came with your router to check your default network to know what IP address to enter.

Another way you can find out the router’s IP address is by checking the network configuration of the computer. The default gateway is the IP address for your router. After you enter your router’s IP address in your internet browser, you’ll be notified to type in the username and password. This information can also be found in the guide that came with your router. The image below shows an example of what the interface looks like.

Click on the image to zoom in.

Click on the image to zoom in.

SETTING UP YOUR WIFI

Consider the following settings if setting up WiFi for your home network.

  • Network Mode: This allows you to select the wireless technology for your network, such as Wireless-G, Wireless-B or Wireless-N. If you are certain that all your devices only support a certain technology, then you can select that option. Though, if you are not quite sure, just leave the settings on default.
  • Network Name (SSID): You can name the wireless network whatever you want. Make sure not to use any personal detail in your network’s name, as other people around the neighborhood will be able to see it when they try to connect to the Internet.
  • SSID Broadcast: When people search for Wi-Fi in your area, your network will come up. This can be turned off, but the name of your network will have to be manually entered as it will not show up automatically.
  • Passphrase: This is the password that will be needed to add a device to the wireless network. Come up with an interesting password, so that nobody figures it out.
  • Security Mode: When using WPA2-Personal, use a strong password in order to keep your home network secure. Utilize a mixture of special characters, letters that are lower and upper case, and throw a couple of numbers into the mix.

KEEPING YOUR WIRELESS HOME NETWORK SECURE

In order to have the best network security system, you need to use multiple layers of protection. Use them all if you live in a populated city or opt just for a few if you live in an area that has a small population.

  • Changing the default password. In order for nobody to simply login and alter your settings, change the router’s default password.
  • Having a WPA2 encryption. This is truly the best advice to keeping your home network secure.
  • Not broadcasting the SSID. You’ll only have to enter the SSID one time for each device manually. If the network is not present when people are looking for available networks, they won’t even think about connecting to it, as it will be non-existent to them.
  • Having wireless MAC filtering in place. Any device that connects to a network has a long and hard coded MAC address. This helps in adding another layer to your network’s security. This security measure can keep a lot of people at bay, but not those individuals who know exactly what they are doing. For this reason, it is important that you implement additional layers of security by having a wireless MAC filter. You can read how to setup a wireless MAC filter for step by step instructions.
  • Limiting how many devices that can connect. It is important to limit the devices that connect to your router, as it is another security measure that can keep your network safe.
  • Disabling access to the admin area via WiFi. If the router has the option of not allowing this type of access, it can help add an additional layer of security to your home network.

Refer to the guide on home network security for more information.

STEP 3: CONNECT DEVICES

Once your WiFi is setup, begin adding devices to the network. You can visit the sites below to find detailed instructions on how to connect certain devices to your network. The following list covers some of the more popular devices used. It is sorted by brand.

MICROSOFT

APPLE

BLACKBERRY

GOOGLE

SONY

NINTENDO

Following the steps above will ensure that your home network setup is done correctly and securely.