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IMPORTANT: Setting Up a Home Network

A network can give you the ability to share files between computers, share hardware like printers, share a single internet connection, or get your game console online without having to swap cables.

The most basic home network involves connecting two computers with an ethernet cable. Using a router provides convenience, expansion, and easy maintenance should your network grow.

This guide will provide the basics to setting up a home network.

Depending on the type of network you are setting up, the connections the computers and devices make could be wired or wireless. Wireless routers are very convenient because you don't have to worry about running wires through walls or around rooms. Wired routers are usually faster and are not subject to interference from cordless phones or other items that create RF interference. No matter what type of router you have selected, it will require power and when it is powered on, various LEDs let you know devices are connected or the device is working.

Setting up a router

1. Find a convenient location to start the process. It doesn't have to be the permanent location. You may need to move it around to accommodate cables or signal strength.

2. Connect the power and follow the instructions on powering the router.

3. Connect the router to your modem. This is usually a network cable that goes from a port labeled WAN, Internet, or Uplink on the router to a port on the modem.

4. Power cycle the modem (turn it off, then turn it on) to make sure the router recognizes the modem.

5. Connect one computer to the router. You only need to connect one at this point so you can configure the router settings.

6. Open Internet Explorer.

7. In the address bar located at the top of the screen, erase whatever address is in the bar and replace it with "" without the quotes. Most routers use this address or "". Consult your router documentation to determine the exact address for yours.

8. Using the username and password supplied in your router documentation, log in to the administration tool.

9. Make changes to the default configuration depending on your particular needs.

Here are some basic things to look for:

1. Connection type. Are you using DSL? Most DSL providers use PPPoE. It requires a Username and password supplied by your ISP. If you are on cable broadband there are generally no settings that need to be changed just leave it on Automatic, or DHCP.

2. If this is a wireless router, change the network name from the default setting. If it's a wired router, change the username and password to something unique to you.

3. Take advantage of any other security options the router may offer. Features like WPA or Wi-Fi Protected Access on a wireless router, Port Filtering, and Firewalls, when enabled can help protect against unauthorized access to your router and your network.

Ok, so now the router is set up and you can get one computer on the Internet, what's next?
Well, one of the main advantages to using a router is it allows you to share resources with all the computers on your network. Getting those resources on the network just requires you to connect the devices to the router either by cable on a wired router or through the wi-fi technology of a wireless router.

Some of the devices you can connect are:

1. Notebook or Netbook computers
2. Printers
3. Game consoles

Just make sure the devices you want to connect work the same way as your router whether it's wired or not and consult the manufacturer's information for details specific to that device.