When connecting a Wireless Router to the Internet and to provide a WLAN (Wireless Local Network) for local connectivity, it is important that you firstly have a working Broadband DSL connection to the Internet via a DSL modem. A lot of non-technical people get confused about the difference between a wireless router and an Internet Gateway Router, which has a built-in modem and so does not need a standalone DSL modem.
Let us assume you already have a DSL Modem and you have tested connectivity to the Internet through the modem with a PC. Now we need to connect the wireless router to the DSL Modem and also set up the local Wireless LAN to enable local devices to connect wirelessly with the device. If you have a cable modem, because your broadband service from your Internet Service Provider is a cable service then the setup is very similar, having already tested the functionality of the Cable Modem. In order to connect to the wireless router, your PCs, Notebooks or even Gaming Consoles need to support the IEEE 802.11 wireless standards. In other words they must have a wireless NIC card either built-in to the Motherboard or you will need to purchase a wireless adapter, the most common being USB Wireless Adapters which are largely Plug and Play.
Another important thing to remember when purchasing your wireless router, is to make sure it is not a wireless access point, otherwise it will not have the routing function which essential to connect your wireless devices to the Internet.
We are almost ready to start connecting our wireless device, so it would be a good idea to have a copy of any set-up instructions that came with the device. They will be very similar, regardless of the manufacturer, but there will be subtle differences.
Switch off or unplug your existing DSL Modem or Cable Modem. If it is a DSL Modem then it will be connected to a telephone point with a supplied telephone cable, usually via an ADSL filter. Next take the network cable supplied with your wireless router and plug one end into the RJ-45 receptacle on the DSL Modem (there will usually only be one). Connect the other end of the cable into the WAN port on your wireless router. Most wireless routers also have 4 ports to enable you to connect 4 separate PCs via cables. The WAN port is normally distinct from the computer ports my means of colour coding or due to the fact that it is separate from the other 4 ports.
The next step is to plug in and switch on the DSL Modem and wait few minutes to enable it to boot and then synchronise with the Service Provider network via the telephone cable. Your DSL Modem will normally have a visible LED indicating a successful connection to the Internet.
Now switch on your wireless routing device that you previously connected to the DSL Modem, and shortly a green LED will normally indicate successful connection to your Modem. We are now almost ready to start configuring the Wireless Router itself.
Use a network patch cable to connect a working PC to one of the usually 4 network ports on the wireless device. A built-in DHCP Server in the wireless router should allocate an appropriate IP Address to the PC being used for configuration. Open up a browser window on your PC and type in the URL provided by the manufacturer in the address bar. For example Linksys routers normally use the URL
Success should result in the router default configuration page becoming visible in your browser window. Your router instructions should give you the default username and password required to access the main wireless router configuration. This will often be admin and admin, or whatever your router instructions informs you. Once you have successfully entered the Username and Password, then navigate to the section that allows you to change the settings and configure an admin Username and Password that you can remember. Save the settings!!
You should now be able to test the connection to the Internet by disconnecting the cable and connecting to the wireless network by using your PC wireless connection. Bring up a browser window and try connecting to a favourite website, maybe a search engine like Google. If successful then the final step is to secure your wireless network by configuring wireless security settings, normally WPA or WPA2.
Either via your wireless connection or by reconnecting the cable between the PC and the wireless router, navigate back to the wireless router’s default configuration page and find the wireless security settings section. You will be required to configure the SSID of the wireless router. Your router will have a default SSID, but you should change it to a name that you remember. When you or your family are trying to connect a PC to the wireless router in the future, this name will ensure they attempt to connect to the correct wireless network instead of a neighbours network. Now select WPA or WPA2 settings from the configuration (WPA2 is more secure, if available). Configure a unique pass phrase that you can remember and the wireless router will use this pass phrase to generate a secure network key that is used to authenticate devices and to encrypt data passing over the wireless network. Remember to save this configuration again.