Connecting Your Home Network: Simple Steps for Setting Up Your Wi-Fi

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Knowing how to setup your WiFi is more than just a case of getting the internet to work. It’s also a question of how to connect and configure your network for the best possible speed and performance. The internet service you get at home is not solely decided by your internet provider or your computer’s generic software. By following a few simple steps regarding your initial setup, you not only get your WiFi up and running but also enjoy fast and efficient internet service.

Before You Buy, Sign, or Upgrade

You might already have a modem from a previous internet connection, or perhaps your internet service provider (ISP) has already provided you with one. If your old modem still works for your requirements and supports WPA2 encryption, you can continue to use to safely. Please note that WEP is not longer secure, and an upgrade is essential if your modem can’t support WPA2.  Modems provided by your ISP are often generic, of medium to low-quality, and provide few extra features. You also have little opportunity to view or change any settings in the Configuration utility, which is ultimately controlled by your ISP. There are other options if you would prefer not to use your ISP’s chosen hardware.

The Hardware Collection

For optimal performance, buy your own router and modem. Having an extra, external modem is often handy even if there’s already a wireless one built into your computer. Combination hardware that includes both a router and modem is also available for even more efficiency and convenience. Although this method requires more of an initial investment, it saves both time and money in the long run. You’ll have a wireless modem and router that was chosen for your specific needs, there will not be any software conflicts between the two systems, and you won’t have to go through your ISP in order to maintain it.

Location, Location, Location

As elementary as it sounds, the actual placement of your hardware in the home has a significant effect on the power and reach of your signal. WiFi is broadcast in three dimensions like a globe, not just from side to side like a radio signal, although the signal is stronger at a horizontal level. Try to put the wireless router in as open a space as possible, as opposed to the closet or behind the television. Any solid object of any material, from the wooden dresser to the calico couch, can obstruct a WiFi signal. If you have a lot of space to cover, consider a second access point, which means setting up another router. Utilizing the antenna can also help widen your coverage, especially if you have a router with detachable ones that can be replaced with bigger, high-gain antennas.

Software Configuration

Once your hardware is sufficiently prepared, it’s time to make certain changes to your configuration utility before you get online. Regardless of whether your equipment is yours or a rental, this is done by opening your web browser of choice, going to the website provided by your ISP or the router’s manufacturer, and opening tabs that have headings like “setup,” “tools,” and “status.” This varies greatly depending on your ISP and personal system, but essential steps for all users include changing your network’s name and password. Many users actually neglect this critical change initially, but leaving the passwords and network the same can expose your connection to security risks.

The technical details involved with setting up your WiFi, and configuring your router and modem for optimal performance, may seem daunting at first. You have the power and resources not only to get your WiFi to work, but you can also enjoy a fast, efficient connection anywhere in your home, no matter what online activity you choose. Set up your WiFi right the first time, and start surfing sooner and more confidently.

Madeleine Lloyd has taken it upon herself to write some much needed how-to articles aimed at the techno-phobe. With past experience manning the phone for an ISP company, Maddy knows all too well the common problems that people run into with computers and the internet!

Resources:

Audioholics.com, “How to Set Up a Wireless Network From Start to Finish.” By Cliff Heyne, July 10, 2013; www.audioholics.com/home-theater-connection/how-to-set-up-wireless-router-wifi

CNet.com, “Home networking explained, Part 2: Optimizing your Wi-Fi Network.” By Dong Ngo. December 23, 2015; www.cnet.com/how-to/home-networking-explained-part-2-optimizing-your-wi-fi-network/

July 1, 2016; www.cnet.com/how-to/home-networking-explained-part-5-setting-up-a-home-router/

September 3, 2016

www.cnet.com/how-to/home-networking-explained-part-4-wi-fi-vs-internet/

PC Mag.com, “How to Set Up and Configure Your Wireless Router.” By Ronald V. Pacchiano,

November 2, 2015; www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2375207,00.asp