By Ki Grinsing
When I came to my friend’s home, he asked me to do a favor to troubleshoot his wireless router connection problem. The problem was that the WAN signal led was off, and as a result – no internet connection for all the computers in the network. When I checked, I found that the WAN port of the router was not connected to the modem. He setup the router incorrectly by connecting the modem (Ethernet port) to one of the LAN ports of the router. It was because he didn’t read the ‘Quick installation guide’ carefully.
See also troubleshooting the wireless network in homes - some guidelines in troubleshooting simple network connection problems in home.
Connecting the modem to the router
Connecting the modem using the network cable to the invalid port of the router (other than the WAN port) is easy to identify. You can easily troubleshoot the problem. In some cases, you may correctly setup the wireless router connection but you use the wrong cable type in connecting the modem to the router. Cross type UTP cable must be used in connecting the Ethernet port of the modem to the WAN port of the router. But this is not always true. Today, many models of wireless routers (and any LAN Switches) embedded their Ethernet ports (either WAN or LAN ports) with Auto-sensing type port (aka auto-MDIX LAN). It means that you can use either cross-type or straight-through-type network cable for the Ethernet port connections. The system will detect the cable type and automatically adjust the ports signal accordingly.
Mostly the wireless routers are designed with the ports located in the rear side including the LAN and WAN ports, the USB port (if available), the power receptor and the reset button. For example on the figure below shows the back-panel of the DGL-4500 D-Link router. Generally the manufacturers provide different color for the WAN and LAN ports. Both WAN and LAN ports are RJ-45 type connectors. So that’s why the color of the WAN and LAN ports are made different to allow you easily identify the ports function.
As general, each of the wireless router ports has the following functions:
- RJ-45 LAN ports are commonly used for wired connection. Generally there are 4 ports available for mostly home wireless routers. But some models of wireless routers have more than 4 ports available for example the new D-Link DIR-632 wireless N300 router which has 8 LAN ports available. You can connect your desktop computers (with NIC adapter enabled) using the UTP network cable to the LAN ports. Unless the ports are auto-sensing type ports (auto-MDIX LAN ports), you must use straight-through type UTP cable.
- RJ-45 WAN port: Use the UTP cross-type cable to connect this WAN port to the Ethernet port of the modem (Cable or ADSL). Again, if either the WAN port of the router or Ethernet port of the modem is auto-MDIX, you can use either Cross or Straight-through cable.
- USB port: Typically USB port of the router (if available) is used for sharing USB storage, or sharing network printer, or to store WCN configuration to the flash disk. You need to consult with the product specs what the function of the USB port is.
- Reset button: typically is used to restore the original factory default settings. This is very important in case of you loose your administrator password.
Factory default settings
You should record your admin password in a safe location. The table below shows the default user-name and password as well as default IP address of many types of wireless routers such as Linksys, Netgear, D-Link, and Trendnet.
In case of you loose your admin password, you can press the reset button to restore the router settings to its original factory default settings.
Wireless Router Connection Diagram
As general, the following figure shows typical wireless router connection diagram for homes or small offices. Use the UTP cable that comes with the modem to connect the Ethernet port of the modem to the WAN port of the router. For network printer, you can configure the router to enable the printer to be accessible by all the users in the network. For desktop computers with NIC adapter enabled, you can use the straight-through cable and connect it to one of the LAN ports of the router.
Any client computers with wireless adapter enabled, you can connect wirelessly to the network. If your router support WPS (wireless protected setup) feature and so does your wireless client – connecting the client is easy by just pressing the WPS button on the router. See more detail how to setup the wireless router and the clients.
By Ki Grinsing