How do I set up my wired/wireless network?
Setting up network is complex. Setting up wireless is more complex. And then security adds more complextiy still. It is possible to do it "all in one shot." However doing so will make it nearly impossible to identify where the installation went wrong. Instead, my recommendation is to do this a step at a time, performing each step on the web page that manages your router and on the configuraion utility on PC. After step 2, ensure that you still have a connection, then move on to the next step.
And, whether you are working on a wired or wireless network, it is recommended that you configure the router while using a wired connection
If you have DSL/PPPoE, ensure that you have your logon information before you start.
1. Download and install the latest firmware for the router from the manufacturer's website
2. Download and install the latest drivers and configuration utilty for your PC from the manufacturer's website Wired and Wireless. For wireless do not use the Windows WZC (Wireless Zero Configuration) Utility. It has many known problems, including inability to see connections and dropping connections
3. Perform a hard reset (typically by pressing and holding a pin/button on the back of the router) to reset the router to factory configuration.
4. (Wireless only) Remove any configuration of your wireless card on the PC, if the card was previously configured
5. (Wireless only) If you have a multi-mode router (b,g, pre-N), make sure your router is set to support the right networks. (Some of these routers (e.g.Linksys) can be set for specific networks. For example, if you have both b and g devices, you must set the router to "mixed mode" for both to connect)
Once you have done this, you should access your router's web page to
6. Change your routers password
7. Configure your network connection type. For DSL, you typically need to set it as PPPoE, and then enter your logon/password information. For cable modem, you typically needs to set it to DHCP. No logon or password is required. (DHCP for cable modem is usually the default)
8. Enable IPSec Passthrough if you need to connect to a VPN at the office
9. (Wireless only) Set SSID to your desired setting on router (not the default) and laptops/PCs and verify connectivity to the internet from each laptop / PC Required for wireless only
10. (Wireless only) Set WEP/WPA/WPA2 and verify connectivity (WEP/WPA/WPA2 should be set to something different than the SSID) (Longer is better, less obvious is better) Required for wireless only See security note below
11. (Wireless only) (Optional depending on how paranoid you are) Set MAC filtering and verify
12. (Optional if hosting games) Configure DMZ
Note: Routers now frequently come with autoconfiguration setup software. While there is nothing wrong with this software, you should be aware that this software often does not support non standard configuations (e.g. LAN only, no internet) or all capabilities. (e.g. MAC ID filtering). If your needs extend beyond what the autoconfiguration tool supports, then perform a manual configuration by accessing your router's web page
Security noteOnly WPA/WPA2 is not easily hacked. Any other type of security should only be viewed as enough to stop casual eavesdropping. If you use WEP you should expect that if someone wants your data, that they can get it.
See further discussion in the post about Is wireless safe
Strong Password Note: Make sure you use a strong password. This is a good site for securely generating a strong randon password