By Ki Grinsing
Almost all home wireless routers share the same wifi network setup, ie either a DSL or Cable modem plus a wireless router, this is from the center of the network. Then clients can be wired or wireless.
Understanding the Back Panel Ports
Before you setup and configure your Linksys wireless router, firstly you need to be familiar with the existing ports in the back panel of the router. The following figure describes the back panel of mostly Linksys wireless routers.
- USB Port: You can connect the external hard disk for sharing into the network. Note: Not all Linksys wireless routers are equipped with the USB port. Some are embedded with the USB port such as WRT610N a dual-band version, and WRT160N broadband router with storage link.
- InternetPort (RJ-45 connector):This port is used to connect to your Cable or DSL Internet connection.
- 3. 4 Ethernet Ports (RJ-45 connector): you can connect the ports direct to the computers or the network printer using the UTP straight through cable. Typically the ports are auto-crossover (MDI/MDI-X) port – means you don’t need to worry using either UTP cross-cable or straight-through cable.
- 4. Reset button: is used to reset the router configuration to the factory defaults. There are two ways to reset the Router’s factory defaults. Either press and hold the Reset Button for approximately five seconds, or restore the defaults from Administration > Factory Defaults in the Router’s web-based utility.
The following figure shows you the general network connection diagram to help you perform your Linksys wireless router setup. You can connect the Linksys wireless router to either ADSL modem or Cable modem.
If currently the computer is connected direct to the modem, unplug the network cable from the NIC port of the computer and plug it into the Internet port of your Linksys wireless router.
If your computer is not currently connected direct to the modem, use your network UTP cable (included with your modem) – plug one end of a network cable into the modem and the other end of the network cable into the Internet port of your Linksys wireless router as show in the diagram.
Linksys Wireless Router Configuration
Configuring the Linksys wireless router, firstly you need to turn off the router and use the network cable to connect the computer (NIC adapter) to one of the Ethernet ports of the router. Use the installation CD to run the installation wizard, follow the instruction when you are prompted to turn on the router.
After setting up the Router with the Setup Wizard, your Linksys wireless router is ready for use. Anytime you need to change the advanced configuration, you can use the Router’s web-based utility via a web browser on a computer connected to the Router.
The web-based utility has these main tabs: Setup, Wireless, Security, Storage (only applicable to routers with USB port), Access Restrictions, Applications & Gaming, Administration, and Status. Additional tabs will be available after you click one of the main tabs.
How to Access the Web-Based Utility?
The web-based utility can be accessed by launching the web browser on your computer, and enter the Router’s default IP address: 192.168.1.1 and then, press Enter. A password request screen will appear, and by default Linksys router do not supply the username (blank) and the default password is “admin”. You can set a new password on the Administration > Management screen. The first screen that appears is the Basic Setup screen that allows you to change the Router’s general settings.
Setting Up the Internet Connection
Consult your ISP to find out the information whether they provide the static IP address or dynamic (DHCP) clients IP address. In the Internet Setup section, select from the drop-down menu for the available types used:
- Automatic Configuration – DHCP
- Static IP
- Telstra Cable
Typically the ISP uses the dynamic DHCP clients, and the default Linksys wireless routers are set to Automatic Configuration – DHCP.
If your ISP provides you the static IP address, select the Static IP (Internet Connection Type > Static IP). Fill in the static IP address fields with the data supplied by the ISP including the IP address, subnet mask, the default gateway, and the DNS servers IP. See also the general guidelines in setting up the wireless routers.
Network Address Server Settings (DHCP)
DHCP feature is very essential for your network. All Linksys wireless routers support the DHCP server (which is enabled by the factory default) that will automatically assign an IP address to each computer on your network. If you choose to enable the Router’s DHCP server option, make sure there is no other DHCP server on your network. Generally small to medium business networks that deploy the Windows Active Directory, they also install DHCP server.
Enabling the DHCP
Enabling the DHCP server feature, you need to enter the starting IP address. If the router IP address is by default 192.168.1.1, you can start 192.168.1.2 or greater for the starting IP address but smaller than 192.168.1.253. The default Starting IP Address is 192.168.1.100.
You should also enter the maximum number of DHCP users in the network which is the maximum number of PCs that will be assigned the IP address automatically by the DHCP server. This number cannot be greater than 253 and Linksys wireless routers default is 50.
Client Lease Time is the amount of time (in minutes) a network user will lease the IP address (connect to the router) and the default value is 0 which means one day. After the time is up, the clients will request the renewal automatically.
There are 3 available DNS server fields you can fill in. Enter the DNS servers IP address (supplied by your ISP) up to three DNS servers. DNS servers will translate the website names into Internet addresses or URLs.
WINS is the Windows Internet Naming Service (WINS), leave it blank for home usage, but if you have the WINS server you can enter that server’s IP Address here. Otherwise, leave this blank.
If you know nothing about the DHCP reservation, just leave it blank. You can use DHCP Reservation if you want to assign a fixed local IP address to a MAC address.
Wi-Fi Protected Setup
You can access the wireless page screen setup: Wireless > Basic Wireless Settings. The default setting for Linksys wireless router setup is WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) – an easy wireless security configuration. If your clients support the WPS, leave the default setting –enabled.
You can access the Wireless > Wireless Security tab to configure the wireless security. Mostly users do not concern about the wireless security, security would be the one that frequently forgotten by most users. Unfortunately mostly the default setting of the wireless routers are security disabled.
For home users, you can enable the security by selecting the WPA personal (or WPA2 personal) if all the clients support the WPA/WPA2 security as wells. Otherwise, select the WEP security.
NOTE: If you are using WPA or WPA2, each device in your wireless network MUST use the same WPA or WPA2 method and shared key, otherwise the network will not function properly.
Encryption: WPA supports two encryption methods, TKIP and AES, with dynamic encryption keys. Select the type of algorithm, TKIP or AES. The default is TKIP. Passphrase: Enter a passphrase of 8-63 characters. Key Renewal: Enter a Key Renewal period, which instructs the Router how often it should change the encryption keys. The default Key Renewal period is 3600 seconds. For more information about the security, check here how to secure home network security.
These are the basic tasks you can do for setting up and configuring your Linksys wireless router. There are still many advanced setting you can configure the router – depends on how good your knowledge about them.