How to Set Up a Wireless Router | Digital Trends (2023)

When you open that router box for the first time, all the different cables and ports can feel intimidating. Even the instruction manual might read like a foreign language. Fortunately, you’re not the only one who struggles to set up a wireless router.

We can help guide you through the process of setting up your router and connecting it to your favorite devices so that you’ll be on the internet in no time.


  • Connect your router to your modem
  • Download the app and connect
  • Create a username and password, or find the existing one
  • Continue setting up your router
  • Optional: Setting up mesh routers
  • And you’re off!

What You Need

  • A new router

  • A modem provided by your ISP

    (Video) Wireless Bridge Mode - Networking

  • A iPhone or Android with access to the App Store

  • A Windows PC or a Mac

How to Set Up a Wireless Router | Digital Trends (1)

Connect your router to your modem

Don’t plug your router into the power outlet just yet. Instead, the first thing you’re going to do is connect your modem to the WAN port with an Ethernet cable.

Step 1: Not sure what the WAN port is? Most consumer routers feature a group of Ethernet ports, several of which are called the LAN ports (local area network) and another called the WAN (wide area network) port.

The WAN port looks the same as the LAN ports, but it’s often a different color and spaced apart from them. In the above photo, for instance, the WAN port is yellow and labeled Internet. Sometimes it will be labeled WAN. This port is intended to connect your router to the modem and the outside world from there. The LAN ports are designed for connecting to local devices.

Step 2: Plug one Ethernet cable into your modem and the other end into your router’s WAN port. Then, plug your router’s power adapter into the wall.

If you don’t have a cable, check out our guide on how to choose the right Ethernet cable.

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How to Set Up a Wireless Router | Digital Trends (2)

Download the app and connect

Give your router a minute to start up and create a network. In the meantime (if another connection option is available), download the app associated with your modem’s manufacturer. Today’s modems can typically be set up by a mobile app that will automatically walk you through the setup process. It’s the most effective method, but you have to make sure you choose the right app.

Step 1: Linksys has its proprietary setup and management app, Netgear uses the Nighthawk app, and Google has a setup app of its own. Instructions for what app to use should be in your manual.

How to Set Up a Wireless Router | Digital Trends (3)

Step 2: Now connect to your latent Wi-Fi network. Doing so is usually a simple process: Head to the settings on your phone or computer and choose the Wi-Fi/Network option. Look for your router’s name here. Your router should have a default SSID name that’s printed on the back out of the router, along with the default network key. Use the key to log into the network. Some routers simply have you scan a QR code to complete this process, but if that isn’t an option, these steps should be sufficient.

Step 3: Once connected, launch the router management app to begin the setup!

Alternative method: If your router doesn’t have an app, connect a computer manually to the router using an Ethernet cable. Once you’re connected, head to your router’s configuration page. This page is a website hosted on your router, and it’s a traditional way to configure your router’s settings. How to find it can vary, but it almost always means typing into the address bar of your preferred browser, then hitting Enter.

How to Set Up a Wireless Router | Digital Trends (4)

Step 4: If you find a page, go ahead and jump ahead to the next step. If that address doesn’t work, however, your router may use another address entirely. This address can vary depending on your router, so consult your router’s official documentation if the address doesn’t work.

Alternatively, you could just check our list of default router IP addresses and passwords.

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How to Set Up a Wireless Router | Digital Trends (5)

Create a username and password, or find the existing one

Your router app should automatically walk you through setup procedures, so answer its questions and fill out forms as necessary. For most new routers, you’ll be asked to create an app name (again, this is called an SSID) and password. Make sure this password is unique and secure because anyone who has it can do all kinds of nasty things to your network.

Step 1: WPA2 encryption is currently the standard for security, and you should always choose it if given an option for your security protocol. Make sure you select a long password, too, one that is distinct from the admin password you set earlier. Ideally, it should not include words from the dictionary or an easily-guessed name (like the name of your pet). Store the password somewhere secure afterward.

Step 2: A used router, however, may already have a password and need to be reset. Most routers have a recessed reset button on the back. Holding down the Reset button with a paperclip for at least 30 seconds will do the trick. Leave the power on, and wait for the router to rest. It should utilize the default settings when it restarts, meaning the default username and password will now grant you access to settings.

How to Set Up a Wireless Router | Digital Trends (6)

Continue setting up your router

The router app should also allow you to set up other settings such as parental controls, automatic updates, and more. You can tweak these settings and more later from the app, but pay attention to the walkthrough and everything it teaches you. You should learn about guest access, monitoring activity, and more. When finished, the app will configure network settings and finish setting up your network. You can now explore the app at your leisure to learn more.

Some apps, like the Nighthawk app, will also sign you up for free trials of extra security filters. These should not automatically sign you up for payments and will expire naturally after 30 days without any additional costs.

Optional: Setting up mesh routers

A growing number of routers are “mesh routers” these days, such as the Google Wi-Fi router. Mesh routers use a group of Wi-Fi devices that all work together — typically two or three of them. One device plugs into your modem and acts just like a traditional router.

The other devices act more like automatic repeaters that link to the first device and provide a secondary source for the signal. This functionality can significantly expand the router’s range, enable users to get rid of dead zones, and ensure that large houses or property have full coverage.

(Video) How to extend your WiFi range with another router

However, this means you will need to take one more step and position the secondary devices in your home. Here are a few tips to help you position mesh routers the right way:

  • Try to set up additional router devices in open spaces where they can broadcast the network as freely as possible. Remember, you don’t have to be latched to a modem with these access points! The routers will need access to an outlet, however.
  • Set the additional router points farther away but not too far apart. All routers need to work together. Aim for about two rooms away from the original router on average.
  • You can also choose to place your router points at important zones in your home. For example, if you have a gaming space where you use Wi-Fi, you may want to make sure one of the satellite models is placed there for maximum effect.
  • Many routers offer a mobile app that makes it easy to connect additional routers and access points to your network from your phone or tablet. For example, Google Nest uses QR codes to connect a router or access point. Failing to connect these additional pieces of hardware to your network means you’ll miss out on the special features they offer. Make sure to complete this step for any devices you add.

And you’re off!

Now that you’ve already connected and configured your wireless router plus any additional routers and access points, you can start to connect devices, so they can access the internet – without any ugly cords or cables.

It might be worth exploring additional options that your new network offers since you have the hardware now. Take advantage of enhanced features like setting up port forwarding and upgrading your router’s firmware with DD-WRT. Then you can access advanced settings that increase your Wi-Fi network’s reliability and security.

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How do I setup my wireless router? ›

Configure your router
  1. Using your web browser, enter the router's default IP address into the address bar, then press Enter. ...
  2. The router's sign-in page will appear. ...
  3. Your router's settings page will appear. ...
  4. Locate and select the Network Password setting, and choose an Encryption option. ...
  5. Enter your desired password.

What is the first thing you should do when setting up a router? ›

Find the Right Position

The first—and most important—thing to do when setting up a new router is to find the best position for it. You can subscribe to the fastest internet provider and use the most up-to-date and powerful hardware, but it'll all be in vain if you put your router in the wrong place.

How does a wireless router work? ›

A wireless router connects directly to a modem by a cable. This allows it to receive information from — and transmit information to — the internet. The router then creates and communicates with your home Wi-Fi network using built- in antennas. This provides all the devices on your home network with internet access.

What are the 10 options to configure a router? ›

10 Useful Options You Can Configure In Your Router's Web...
  • Accessing Your Router's Web Interface. ...
  • See Who's Connected. ...
  • Wireless Channel. ...
  • Extend an Existing Network. ...
  • Quality of Service. ...
  • Dynamic DNS. ...
  • Port Forwarding, Port Triggering, DMZ & UPnP. ...
  • Parental Controls, Website Blocking, and Access Scheduling.
7 Aug 2017

What are the 4 types of routers? ›

They are wired routers, wireless routers, core routers, edge routers and VPN routers.

What are 3 simple ways you can build your network? ›

Reach out to current connections, join local and national networking or industry-related organizations, attend events, and connect with others on social media. Focus on adding value, rather than getting something from someone else, and watch your network grow.

Is it easy to set up Wi-Fi router? ›

Setting up a router may seem like a daunting task, but it's a lot easier than you think. You just have to know which cable goes where and then configure a few settings to get the router up and running. You don't need to be a computer wiz to get it done, all you have to do is follow a few simple steps described below.

Which 3 items are required to establish wireless connection? ›

Explanation: You need the SSID name, 802.1X/EAP credentials and an RF signal to establish a wireless connection to an enterprise wireless network.

What is my IP address for my router? ›

If you have Wifi Analyzer installed on your Android smartphone, launch the app. You will see the channel graph tab immediately. Swipe to the Access Points tab and you will see the IP address of your router.

What router settings are best? ›

Which Network Mode Is Best for a Router? You should set up your router only to use a WPA2 connection, which is more secure and can improve your speeds. Log into your router's settings and look around for a phrase like "mode," "wireless mode," or "802.11 mode."

What is the best setting for 2.4GHz Wi-Fi? ›

20MHz for the 2.4GHz band helps to avoid performance and reliability issues, especially near other Wi-Fi networks and 2.4GHz devices, including Bluetooth devices. Auto or all channel widths for 5GHz and 6GHz bands ensures the best performance and compatibility with all devices.

Do I need both a modem and router for WiFi? ›

If you wish to use WiFi or connect numerous devices, you'll need both a modem and a router. You can only connect one computer at a time because most modems only have one LAN Ethernet connector, but a modem won't provide the same level of protection as a router.

How do I connect a wireless router to another router without cable? ›

Go to the router's Network setup or LAN setup area and look for a section with "DHCP" in its title, and then disable DHCP if it's on. Connect the bridge router to the main router. If both routers have WPS buttons (most do these days), you can press that button on both routers to connect them wirelessly.

How do I setup my modem and router for the first time? ›

How to Hook Up Your Internet
  1. Connect your modem. Before you power up your modem, you'll want to connect it to your computer and your phone jack or cable outlet. ...
  2. Connect your router to the internet (optional) ...
  3. Test your internet connection. ...
  4. Set up your modem and network. ...
  5. Connect to a wireless network.

What are the benefits of a wireless router? ›

Advantages of Wifi
  • Convenience. – The wireless nature of such networks allow users to access network resources from nearly any convenient location within their primary networking environment. ...
  • Mobility. ...
  • Productivity. ...
  • Deployment. ...
  • Expandability. ...
  • Cost.
4 Nov 2011

What are three main functions of a router? ›

  • Routers.
  • Access networking.
  • Switches.
  • Wireless.
  • Data center networking.

What is the purpose of router? ›

A router is a device that connects two or more packet-switched networks or subnetworks. It serves two primary functions: managing traffic between these networks by forwarding data packets to their intended IP addresses, and allowing multiple devices to use the same Internet connection.

What features should I look for in a wireless router? ›

How to Choose a Router
  • Consider how much you want to spend on a router. ...
  • Check to see if your new router is compatible with your ISP. ...
  • Make sure your router supports the internet speed you pay for. ...
  • Look for a newer wireless protocol. ...
  • Use mesh Wi-Fi or extenders to spread Wi-Fi through your house. ...
  • Don't forget optional features.

What makes a router faster? ›

Keep Your Router Updated

One of the most overlooked ways to maximize router speed is to ensure your router is always running the latest software and firmware from the manufacturer. Sure, the updates are normally security fixes, but they're not going to suddenly make your router blazing fast.

What's the difference between a router and a WiFi router? ›

A router is a device that is used for forwarding the internet connection to all the connected devices. A WiFi combines the networking functions of a router and a wireless access point. A wireless router (or WiFi router) works much like a wired router, but it replaces wires with wireless radio signals.

What is the difference between WiFi and wireless router? ›

WiFi is just the most common connection to the internet, but an internet service has to be preexisting for the WiFi to connect. A WiFi router is connected directly to an internet source it then takes that internet connection and allows devices to access by connecting to the WiFi signal.

What are the 2 types of routers for WiFi? ›

There are two types of wireless routers in our ratings: traditional single-unit wireless routers and a newer type of router called a mesh router. You're probably familiar with the first type, which you simply plug into your modem to create a home WiFi network.

What are the 7 practical steps for networking? ›

Here's 7 Steps to Networking Effectively:
  • Networking is about contact. It's eye contact, face-to-face contact, phone contact, e-mail contact. ...
  • Be the one to initiate. Keep your eyes and ears open to prospects. ...
  • Be bold. ...
  • Anticipate discomfort. ...
  • Expect acceptance. ...
  • Pass it on. ...
  • Always respond.
12 Sept 2017

What are your top 2 tips for networking? ›

10 Tips for Effective Networking
  • Prepare. Schedule appointments ahead of time. ...
  • Present Yourself Well. Always stand when you introduce yourself. ...
  • Always Be Ready to Give Your Pitch. ...
  • Ask Questions and Listen. ...
  • Ask for Help. ...
  • Utilize Your Online Presence. ...
  • Be Aware of Your Online Presence. ...
  • Do Your Homework.

What are the 3 P's of networking? ›

Today I'll take a look at the three P's of networking: purpose, people, and process. Your primary purpose should be to establish some level of rapport, ideally developing that relationship over time. People tend to do business with – and hire – people they know, like, and trust.

What are the five 5 elements of wireless network security solution? ›

5 Solutions to Wireless Security Threats
  • Firewalls. ...
  • Intrusion Detection. ...
  • Content Filtering. ...
  • Authentication. ...
  • Data Encryption.
29 May 2020

What are the components of a wireless router? ›

A generic router has four components: input ports, output ports, a switching fabric, and a routing processor. An input port is the point of attachment for a physical link and is the point of entry for incoming packets. Ports are instantiated on line cards, which typically support 4, 8, or 16 ports.

What is the 4 requirements of Internet connection? ›

  • Telephone line, modem, computer, and an ISP are the four things needed to connect to the Internet.
  • Once you have your computer, you really don't need much additional hardware to connect to the Internet. ...
  • Suppose you want to connect your computer to an Internet Service Provider (ISP) using an ordinary phone line.

How do I find my router's username and password? ›

How To Find Default Router Username And Password? #1) The default username and password can be obtained from the router manual which comes with the router when you first purchase and install it. #2) Generally, for most of the routers, the default username and password is “admin” and “admin”.

What is my IP Wi-Fi password? ›

You can find this by clicking on the top right of the screen, on the connections icon. When the Settings menu comes up, click on WiFi, and select the network you want, clicking on the gear icon for it. In the window that opens click the Security tab, and then, Show Password. You're done, you've shown the WiFi password.

Is IP address the same as Wi-Fi? ›

The "wi-fi address" you find in your Touch's settings is actually its MAC address, a unique identifier for all network-enabled devices. Your device only has one MAC address, but can be given a variety of IP addresses depending on which network you join.

What devices should be on 2.4GHz and 5GHz? ›

Ideally, you should use the 2.4GHz band to connect devices for low bandwidth activities like browsing the Internet. On the other hand, 5GHz is the best suited for high-bandwidth devices or activities like gaming and streaming HDTV.

Is it better to place Wi-Fi router higher or lower? ›

Routers tend to spread their strongest signals downward, so it's best to mount the router as high as possible to maximize coverage. Try placing it high on a bookshelf or mounting it on the wall in an inconspicuous place.

Should I use 20 or 40 MHz bandwidth 2.4 GHz? ›

If you're using 2.4 GHz, the answer is simple. The best bandwidth for 2.4 Ghz is 20 MHz. In the majority of cases, using wide widths on 2.4 GHz isn't worthwhile. The performance tradeoffs from interference on overlapping channels will likely outweigh the throughput benefits.

Should 2.4 GHz channel be set to auto? ›

Don't use auto. Auto causes havoc with users that have taken the time to pick the best channel. Auto never switches when you are using the wifi. It only switches when you aren't using it.

Does 2.4 or 5GHz go through walls better? ›

The 2.4GHz band uses longer transmission waves, which makes it better suited for transmission through walls and other solid objects. Ideally, the 2.4GHz band should be used to connect devices for low bandwidth activities like browsing the Internet.

Can you set up a new router yourself? ›

Plain and simply; you can replace your ISP provided router with your own one. There are loads of devices out there that you can choose from to replace your lackluster ISP routers, so you really need to take a look around for one that best suits your needs as the user.

What is the difference between a wireless router and a WiFi router? ›

A router is a device that is used for forwarding the internet connection to all the connected devices. A WiFi combines the networking functions of a router and a wireless access point. A wireless router (or WiFi router) works much like a wired router, but it replaces wires with wireless radio signals.

Do I need an Ethernet cable to setup a wireless router? ›

No cables are needed to access a WiFi connection, providing greater mobility for users who can connect to a network or the Internet while moving freely around a space. To access a network via an Ethernet connection, users need to connect a device using ethernet cable.

Will a wireless router work without internet? ›

You may be amused to know that a wireless router allows you to use it without the Internet. Whether it is wired or wireless, you can go for it.

Can I just buy a router and use it? ›

Most Internet providers allow you to purchase your own modem and router separately, or a device that contains both—it's up to you. Both options connect you to the Internet.

How do I configure my router IP address? ›

How to Change Router IP Address
  1. Enter your router's IP address into your favorite web browser.
  2. Log in with the default username and password.
  3. Click on Setup.
  4. Choose Network Settings.
  5. Type in the router's new IP address under Router Settings.
  6. Click on Save Setting.

Does installing a new router change your IP address? ›

If you've just installed a new home router, you may need to reconfigure your network with a quick IP change. One common problem among home routers is that they sometimes give devices the wrong IP address, so changing your IP manually can solve those glitches.

What are the disadvantages of a wireless router? ›

Following are the drawbacks or disadvantages of Routers:

Dynamic router communications can cause additional network overhead. This results in less bandwidth for user data. They are slower as they need to analyze data from layer-1 through layer-3. They require a considerable amount of initial configurations.

Do I need both a modem and a router? ›

Do I Need a Modem and a Router? If you wish to use WiFi or connect numerous devices, you'll need both a modem and a router. You can only connect one computer at a time because most modems only have one LAN Ethernet connector, but a modem won't provide the same level of protection as a router.

Can I have 2 routers in my house? ›

In short, yes! It is possible to use more than one router on the same home network, but you do need to be wary about the way you do this. Below, you'll be able to find guidance on how to use multiple routers, as well as the benefits you'll expect to find when doing so.

What happens when I press the WPS button on my router? ›

The WPS button simplifies the connection process

Press the WPS button on your router to turn on the discovery of new devices. Then, go to your device and select the network you want to connect to. The device is automatically connected to the wireless network without having to enter the network password.

What are the four things needed to connect to the Internet? ›

  • Telephone line, modem, computer, and an ISP are the four things needed to connect to the Internet.
  • Once you have your computer, you really don't need much additional hardware to connect to the Internet. ...
  • Suppose you want to connect your computer to an Internet Service Provider (ISP) using an ordinary phone line.

Can you use a wifi router without a phone line? ›

But even if you do upgrade to fibre, most of these connections will also require a landline to work. Choosing a fibre or cable connection will mean you'll more likely be able to get Wi-Fi without a phone line, but it will depend on what type of fibre broadband is available in your specific area.


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