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How To Setup Your Home Network In 3 Easy Steps

How To Setup Your Home Network In 3 Easy Steps

With the amount of connected devices in the average home growing more and more people are setting up home networks.

Now most people think that setting up a network at home is as simple as just plugging in your shiny new router and connecting everything to that.

Well that will get you up and running, but that doesn’t mean it is the correct way of doing it.  It is worth taking the time to configure and setup security, file and printer sharing on your network.

This will just make everything easier in the future, especially when you are sitting in your living room with your tablet or laptop and you can access files on your desktop and print to the printer in your home office.

Let me show you how to setup your home network in 3 easy steps...

Step 1 - The Backbone:

For starters you need to setup and configure the backbone of your network:  your router.   Personally, I prefer either Cisco/Linksys or Amped Wireless routers because they are easy for the normal user to configure and they are reliable.

For normal setups, the Cisco/Linksys units are normally fine, but for larger homes and offices the Amped Wireless units tend to have better range.  To setup your router:

  1. Unplug or turn off your cable, DSL, or FIOS modem
  2. Connect your modem to the WAN/Internet port on your router and power on the router
  3. Turn on or plug in your modem
  4. Wait to connect anything to your router till it is done booting and your WAN/Internet indicator light is on indicating that your router is connected to the internet.
  5. Connect one of your systems to the router via an Ethernet cable so you can configure your router

Step 2 - Connecting to your router:

You need to connect to the “management console” of your router.  To do this use your web browser and go to the default address for you router.  Here are the most common manufacturers and the default address and passwords for their routers:

 

Step 3 Configure and secure your network:

This is the step that most people skip over and it is probably the most important because if you do not secure your network, anyone can connect to it and access anything and any information stored on the systems in your network.

Here is where I need to be vague because every manufacturer’s management console is different. So I am going to tell you what needs to be done and roughly where you should find it.

If you have any issues, try searching the manufacturer’s FAQ or support forum for your router to find step by step instructions.

  • Change the admin password.  Make sure that it is a combination of upper and lower case as well as a few numbers and maybe some characters to make it as secure as possible.  The option to change this is usually under the System tab/area of the management console.
  • Change the default SSID.  The SSID is the name of your wireless network and how you know which one is yours.  Be original so you do not get your network and your neighbors confused.  I’ve used everything from FAMILYASYLUM to NOTYOURNETWORK for the SSID.  Be creative and have some fun!
  • Setup WIFI security.   By default most newer WIFI routers come from the factory with wireless security set to WPS (WIFI Protected Setup).  Now you might think, “Hey it’s already secured;" you would be wrong.  WPS is one of the easier configurations to hack.  You can actually download utilities that will automatically give you unauthorized access to a network secured with WPS.  Your best bet is to use WPA2 if it is available and if not use WPA.  These will provide you with better security than the alternatives.  If it gives you the option to use either a hex string or a passphrase, choose the passphrase option because it will be easier on the users.  Just make sure that you select as secure a passphrase as possible.  When selecting your passphrase make sure it is at least 8 characters long, is not in the dictionary and includes capital letters and numbers.  The longer your passphrase is, the more secure it will be.

 

At this point you have a basic network setup in your home and you can start connecting your various connected devices by either connecting to your wireless network or physically connecting an Ethernet cable to the router.

This type of setup will give all of your devices access to the internet and access to network attached storage or network printers that you connect to the network.

By Al LaPeter

Al LaPeter on Google+

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