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How to set up and optimize your wireless router for the best possible wireless performance

How do I connect my wireless router?

Getting a new router up and running is not easy, if you take it out of the box and plug it into the power grid, it must be intimidating, even if you're new to it. Nowadays, router manufacturers have made it easier than ever to connect to your Wi-Fi network quickly and easily. But just because you've connected everything and it seems to work, it does not mean that the performance and security of your network is as good as it could be. Follow these basic steps to properly configure your wireless router and optimize your wireless and connectivity.

Note that these steps assume that you have already found the right router for your home. If you still want to make a purchase, read our Shopping Guide for Wi-Fi routers which lists the best products we've tested.

Setup and Setup

Before You Begin, Read First Consider Where You Place Your Router. To ensure optimal coverage, it is best to find a free space in the middle of your home. Note that walls and floors will interfere with Wi-Fi signals. The more obstacles there are between your devices and your router, the weaker (and possibly slower) the signal is. Avoid being close to large objects made of metal, glass, bricks or concrete.

First, you need to connect your router to your modem . You will need an Ethernet cable to connect to the WAN (Wide Area Network) connector on the back of your router . This port may look slightly different from router to router, but is usually a different color than the other ports and is labeled "WAN," "Internet," or the like. Connect the other end of the Ethernet cable from the WAN port to the Ethernet port on the back of your modem . Make sure your modem is turned on and you are ready to connect to the Internet . Then of course you need to connect your router to a power outlet and turn it on.

 Router Ports

Many modern routers can be fully configured by your smartphone . Manufacturers have their own setup app. Read the Quick Start Guide of your router to make sure you download the correct one. However, not all routers have a mobile app. Some have a dedicated website URL that loads the router's internal configuration page. You can find this URL by connecting your computer to a LAN port on the router using an Ethernet cable and typing or a similar address (as specified in the router's documentation) into your browser's search bar.

 Login Router Setup

The first step in setting up your network is to set up a username and password. If you have a used router, you can reset the user name and password to the factory defaults by holding down a recessed button somewhere on the router (usually on the back). Often, these defaults are "admin" and "admin", which every budding hacker knows. Change it immediately. Be sure to use a strong password that contains a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.

How do I configure my router?

You can continue with the user name and password set to configure your router's settings. As with cooking a dinner, there is no "right" way to install a router, and each model probably has its own steps depending on its features. For this reason, it would be exhausting and pointless to describe all possible configuration paths here. We strongly recommend consulting the manual of your router.

Nevertheless, we have some advice:

Use the simple setup wizard. Most routers provide a short setup routine that contains little prompt for input more than the SSID and password. If in doubt, start with it. (The SSID is the Wi-Fi name of your router, it could be "asus" or "netgear", but you can change that to a creative name like "FBI surveillance van.") You can report that Time and again in the app or on the browser side of the router to access advanced options to fine-tune your experience.

 asus wireless settings

Use the WPS button to make a Wi-Fi connection -Fi devices. If you've ever paired two Bluetooth devices like a smartphone with headphones you already have basic knowledge of how this works. For example, suppose you want to connect a Windows 10 laptop to your router. On your laptop, the SSID of your router appears in the list of visible wireless networks in Windows. If you select the SSID and try to connect, Windows prompts you to enter the network security key. This is an unnecessarily technical way of expressing the password. If you have done a good job with your safety and created a password with random uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols, you have completely forgotten it and do not want to retype it. Instead, press the WPS button on your router. You should have at least a minute to find your router and laptop and pair successfully. Remember that WPS only works with Windows and Android devices.

If in doubt, let the router do this. The "auto" configuration tools are your friend. For more than 20 years, I've never had a reason to let the router manage my IP addresses with Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP ), a protocol that automatically assigns IP addresses to devices . J Just because you can change something does not mean you should. At least during the setup and early use phase you should use the automatic settings.

Is it better to connect to the 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz band?

All other things should be noted on the client device side Similarly, 5GHz connections offer better performance at short-range than 2.4GHz . This is because 5GHz is a bit faster, but due to the shorter wavelengths of this band, it can not travel that far or send through some objects. The 2.4GHz band tends to be more congestion and less channel options. However, if you still want to use 2.4GHz, you should experiment with channel selection. Auto usually does a good job of searching through the channel options and finding the best, but if you're having client connections, try manually setting the channel to 1 or 11 . The 2.4 GHz band has a total of 11 channels that you can switch between to avoid interference. As a rule, channel 6 is the default setting. When you select a specific channel, a signal overflow usually occurs. For example, if you select channel 2, traffic is often transferred to channels 1 and 3. So, if you switch to extremes 1 or 11 that are farthest from the default setting of 6, you can sometimes get the best performing connections. [19659003] After the "simple" setup, you'll need to take some routers through some extra steps, such as: For example, setting parental controls (features that allow you to filter certain types of content) and automatically updating the router's firmware. After these preparations, continue with "Wi-Fi setup" or a similarly named tab / screen to activate your Wi-Fi network. Once your network is activated, you can connect any device to it and start surfing the Internet.

Moving to the next level

Most routers only need to enable your network and connect to the internet, just scratching the surface of what you can do. While a tab name such as "Advanced Settings" may seem a bit intimidating, the menus provided here often allow you to control some of the most useful features of your router. Here are some of the most convincing points.

Quality of Service (QoS)

QoS is one of the most useful features for online entertainment. Here you can select and prioritize the upstream and downstream traffic in your network. This may increase performance for your favorite streaming service or your online game. Most routers have a tab dedicated to traffic monitoring in their app / configuration page. Navigate to it and locate the QoS tab. When you enable QoS, you can prioritize certain services, such as online games or video streaming . You can also prioritize devices in the network. Years ago, this was typically achieved by specifying the unique MAC address of the device and setting a priority level for that device. Nowadays, vendors like Netgear are increasingly offering more intuitive, graphical approaches to the same idea, as in the following screenshot .

 Linksys Manual Prioritization

Using QoS options, you can also see how your entire bandwidth is distributed per device, so you can tell everyone more than his fair or desired share.

 netgear network monitor

Today, most traffic is downloaded in nature, especially in multimedia streaming. If you find that your streaming services are pausing from time to time, use QoS to prioritize traffic. In general, however, only gamers have to worry about prioritizing upstreams.

Guest Networks

A guest network is useful if you want to protect all data and files on your personal network from inappropriate hands. To set up, go to the app / configuration page of your router and navigate to the Wi-Fi settings. For most routers, guest networks are disabled by default. Usually, a setup page is displayed here. Confirm the name and password of the network, and the network will be set up.

 Nighthawk Guest Network Settings

It is highly recommended that you use at least WPA2 However, you can leave your guest network "open" for easier access. While practical, this can also encourage connections from neighbors and strays parked on the curb. Be especially careful that you restrict access rights for the guest network, such as: For example, which band they can use, or how many hours the network is active. You may also want to restrict the guest network to the 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz band, but not both.

Monitoring traffic

It may be helpful to know how traffic is routed through your network. as well as the ability to limit traffic. If you are interested in either of these functions, navigate to the advanced settings menu of your router. Usually there is an option called traffic monitoring, traffic announcement, traffic monitoring or similar. By enabling this feature, you can monitor the traffic of your router. In some routers, you can also choose to limit incoming traffic (downloads), outgoing traffic (uploads), or both. Not all routers have a traffic monitoring feature, but there are a variety of online services that can do this for you including solar wind RTBM or PRTG .

  asus Traffic Monitor

FTP Server

Internet Oldsters may remember the days before Dropbox, when transferring large files between systems that required multiple frames with dedicated file transfer protocol applications , FTP apps may not be common, but the technology can still be a convenient way to transfer many files without having to worry about cloud services.

FTP servers are only available to routers with at least one USB port. First, you need a USB storage device, such as a USB storage device. For example, a external hard drive connected to your router. Next, go to the advanced settings on the app / configuration page and look for the USB memory, USB settings tab or similar. On this tab, click the check box for "FTP via Internet" or similar. Your USB device is now available to users on your network. If you want to be the only user accessing the USB device, you can change the read and write access to only be valid for administrators.

Some routers require you to configure read and write access to specific folders. Just click "New Folder", "Select Folder" or similar and navigate to the desired folder on your USB device. Select the folder and click Apply Changes.

 Asus FTP

MAC Address Filter

Consider a MAC address (Media Access Control) as a universally unique name for each network device. The address is tied to the device hardware. For some routers, you can specify a list of specific MAC addresses that may or may not access your network. It's like a blacklist or whitelist, which devices can access your LAN.

 Nighthawk Device Settings

To do this, locate the MAC Filter on the Advanced Settings tab. For dual or tri-band routers, you usually need to choose which band to apply the filter to, and for some routers, you must choose whether the MAC address you enter is the only one accepted on the network or the only denied address. If you have made your settings for these options, the last step is to find the MAC addresses of the devices you want to filter and enter them in .

For mobile devices such as phones or tablets, you must find the The MAC address by accessing your device's settings and navigating to the About tab on the phone. From here, some devices may have a tab titled "Status" that displays the MAC address while other devices have them in the "About the phone" section. On a Mac or PC, navigate to the network settings page of your device and open the Network and Sharing Center. Click on your Wi-Fi connection and search for details or properties. This area displays a myriad of information, including the "physical address" of your device, a different term for the MAC address. (On a Mac, it is called a "Wi-Fi Address.")

Parental Control

Parental Control allows you to set at least time limits on when each valid device (identified by the MAC address) can be on the computer Network. So, if your child has a bad habit of using equipment long after bedtime, but you do not want to play constantly against the evil policeman who has to hand in devices wherever and whenever, this is not a problem.

Use MAC address filtering first to make sure only approved devices can connect to your router. Then use Parental Control to ensure that these approved devices can only connect within the approved hours. The setup takes only a few minutes and, like a well-configured router in general, heals countless headaches and makes your home run a lot smoother.

 ASUS Parental Controls

Next Steps

The Quick Start Guide for your router allows anyone to connect to the Internet in minutes. However, most models hide lesser known treasures in their settings menus. If you want to get the most out of your router investment, take the extra time to explore these advanced options. If you are still looking for a new router, you should go beyond the list of features in the box and the product datasheet. Download the guide, browse through these advanced options, and find out which features bring the most value to your environment. Test your internet speed as soon as you are ready. If you need more instructions, read our advanced hacks: 10 tips for speeding up your Wi-Fi and 12 tips for troubleshooting your Internet connection.

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