Router Setup: A Step-by-Step Guide

The router is one of the most important network components in your network. It connects your local network with the internet. A good Router Setup is important to assure you get the best performance of your network.

In this article, I will walk you through on how to setup any router in general. The basic principals are for each router the same.

Connecting the Router

Before we can setup the router we need to connect it. Your ISP supplied you with either a modem or a modem/router combo. A modem/router is capable of connecting to the internet self and typically has a DSL port.

Other ISP’s supply you with a modem, in that case, you won’t need to DSL port, but you will use the WAN port to connect the ISP’s modem too (typically used when you have cable or fiber internet connection)

Router Setup

What all routers have in common is that they have one or more LAN (Local Area Network) ports. On most consumer router they are marked yellow. This ports can be used to connect your network devices (computer, network printer, NAS) to.

DSL Port

The DSL ports are always smaller network ports, also known as RJ11 or RJ12. Here you connect your telephone line in to connect your Router to the internet.

Ethernet / LAN ports

LAN ports, or also known as Ethernet (eth) ports, are used to connect your network devices too. You can use a normal network cable for this with the standard RJ45 connector. It doesn’t matter which port you use, all the ports are the same.

If you have more network devices then available ports on the router, then you can connect a network switch to one of these ports.

WAN or Internet Port

The WAN port is used to connect your router to the modem (or router) from the ISP. You can’t use this port to connect your network devices too. This port is also a standard RJ45 port.

USB Port

Some routers have a USB port next to the network ports. Now it really depends on your router model where this port can be used for. With some routers, you can connect an external hard drive to it and make it visible in the network.

Wherewith other routers you can only use this port to connect the router to your computer for the initial setup.

Connecting the cables

Now depending on your situation, you need to connect either the telephone line to the DSL port or the modem to the WAN port. In case of a telephone line, make sure you use a DSL Filter or Splitter. This filters and/or splits the telephone signal into a signal for your router and a signal for your telephone.

You can use an ethernet cable between your computer and the router to setup the router or make use of the default wireless network of the router)

Connecting to the default wireless network

If you can’t use a network cable between your router and computer, you can also connect to the default wireless network that most consumer routers have.

On the back or bottom of a router, you will find the default wireless network details. The Wifi Name (or SSID) and the Password. You will need those to connect your computer to the wireless network of the router.

Wireless network details of a DLINK router
  1. Turn the router on an wait a couple of minutes so it can start.
  2. Open your wireless network on your computer
  3. Find the new wireless network and connect to it with the default password on your router.

Router Setup Page

Now we have connected the router we need to open the web interface of the router. These days each router can be configured through your web browser. All we need to do is find the correct webpage…

With your computer connected to the router, we will open a command prompt to find the network details.

  1. Press Windows Key + R
  2. In the Run dialog type cmd and press enter
  3. Type Ipconfig and press enter

In the results, you will find a table similar to the images above. Note the Ip Address of your router, which you will find after the Default Gateway label.

Enter this address in the address bar of your web browser (Chrome, Safari or Edge) to open the router setup page.

Router setup page login

You need to login to your router. Now the default username and password can be found in the manual of your router or sometimes on the back of the router.

The most common combinations are:

BrandIp AddressUsernamePassword
Asus default router password192.168.1.1adminadmin
Belkin default router password192.168.2.1adminadmin
Dlink default router password192.168.0.1adminblank
Linksys default router password192.168.1.1adminadmin
Netgear default router password192.168.0.1adminpassword
Synology default router password192.168.1.1adminadmin
TP Link default router password192.168.1.1adminadmin

Ones logged-in we can start with the setup of our router.

Setting up the router

So we have the most important part covered, we connected the router and are logged-in to it. Now we need to configure and secure the router.

We need to configure several things for our router setup:

  • Connecting the internet
  • Setting up the wireless network
  • Optimize DNS servers
  • Change router password
  • Create a backup of the configuration
  • Update Firmware

Connecting the internet

In case you have a router/modem combo (and you connected the DSL connection to the WAN port) you will need to setup the internet connection.

You ISP supplied you with the username and password for the PPPoe connection. Make sure you have these at hand.

Just open the router page and look for a tab label Internet. Fill in the details as provided by your ISP.

Setting up the wireless network

If your router also comes with a wireless network, we will need to change the default SSID and password. Default usernames and password are always a security risk, so to keep your network safe, make sure you change it!

Find the wireless network settings tab in your router. Make sure you have set the following settings:

  • Wireless SSID (that is your wireless network name) – to something you can recognize
  • Security – WPA2 only
  • WPS – Disable, (Leaving WPS on is a huge security risk, the 6 digit code is easy to crack)
  • Wireless key – A new strong, but easy to remember password for your wireless network

Note: If you are connected to your router over the default wireless network, then you will lose the connecting if you apply the settings!

I always recommend to use a dedicated access point and leave the built-in access point in the router off. Routers are always placed in a cabinet, basement or hallway. Stuck a way where you don’t see them. But that is also the place where nobody comes and where the wireless network is the strongest.

So what you want to do is bring the wireless network to the place where you use it, your living room. An access point can be placed on the ceiling or wall to give you the best wireless network cover in your house. Read more about it here.

Optimizing the DNS servers

The default DNS servers that are supplied by your ISP are typically really slow. The DNS servers are important, because they translate a domain name, like google.com, to the correct IP Address of the servers from Google.

So the faster the DNS server, the faster your internet connection will be. Most of the time you can use the following DNS server:

  • Primary DNS server: 1.1.1.1
  • Secondary DNS server: 1.1.0.0

If you want to know more about optimizing your DNS servers, make sure you read this article about finding the fastest DNS server for you.

Changing the default admin password

The default logins for a router a listed on the internet, so to secure your router you will need to change this password. Some routers will prompt you when you login the first time to change it, but otherwise you will find it in one of the following locations:

  • Settings -> admin password
  • Advanced
  • Administration
  • Security

Change the default password to something strong. Make sure you store the password in a password manager because you won’t log in to your router often and might forget it easily.

Create a backup of the configuration

If you have the option, always make a backup of your router configuration. Router configurations can get lost after a power outage or are lost when you have to reset your router (because you might forget the admin password).

Look for a backup function in the advanced or administration pages.

Update the firmware

One of the last steps is to update the firmware of your router. Most new firmware versions contain security fixes, performance improvements, and bug fixes. So it’s really important that you keep your router up to date!

Updating the firmware can most of the time be done in the advanced, administration or settings page.

If something goes wrong with the firmware update, you can always reset the router and restore the configuration with your backup file 😉

Router Setup Conclusion

I hope you got your router up and running with this router setup guide. If you have any questions, just drop a comment below!

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1 thought on “Router Setup: A Step-by-Step Guide”

  1. Thanks for the awesome review of the best routers. I really find the resources you provide very nice.
    Thanks for sharing this with us.

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