A wireless router is a computer networking device that acts as a gateway, joining your computer and your cable modem. It also acts as a wireless access point that communicates with your wireless devices to connect them to your network wirelessly. There are many types of wireless routers, each offering different signal ranges and options for both businesses and home users. Before you can use your wireless router with your broadband service, you must connect your computer, cable modem and wireless router using Ethernet cables and configure the wireless router's settings.
Connect your cable modem to the wireless router using an Ethernet cable. Turn off and unplug your cable modem's power before connecting it to your wireless router. Plug the Ethernet cable that was connected to your cable modem into the Internet/Modem port on the back of your wireless router. This port is usually located next to the wireless router's power port and is labelled.
Connect your computer to the wireless router using another Ethernet cable. Turn off your computer before connecting it to the wireless router. Plug one end of the Ethernet cable that came with your wireless router into your computer's Ethernet jack, which is located on the back of your computer. Plug the other end of the Ethernet cable into a LAN port on the back of your wireless router. Your wireless router will have several numbered LAN ports and it does not matter which LAN port you use.
Turn on the cable modem, router and computer, in that order. First, power up your cable modem, then wait at least two minutes. This allows the cable modem time to connect to your broadband provider's server. Make sure that your cable modem's status indicators show that it has successfully connected. Next, plug the wireless router's power adaptor into the wireless router and into a power outlet. Wait at least two minutes for your wireless router to connect to your cable modem. You will know that it has successfully connected if all of the lights on the front of the wireless router are on. Lastly, turn on your computer. Failing to plug and power on the devices in this order may prevent you from connecting to the Internet.
Open a web browser and log on to the wireless router's URL. In the address bar of your web browser, type in the wireless router's address. This address can be found in your wireless router documentation. After typing in the URL, press "Enter." This will take you to the wireless router's settings page.
Input the username and password. After entering the wireless router's URL, a dialogue box will appear requiring you to enter a username and password. Most wireless routers' default username is "admin," and the default password is "password" or is left blank. Keep in mind that the text boxes are case-sensitive.
Configure your router's settings and wireless settings. On the main page of the wireless router's set-up menu, you will find links to change several settings. You can change the default SSID (wireless network name) to a custom name, and you can select the type of encryption you want to secure your wireless network. When you finish changing your settings, click "Apply" or "Save." Remember the SSID and encryption settings so that you can input this information into your wireless devices.
If you have the set-up CD that came with your wireless router, you can insert it into your computer to install the router by following on-screen instructions rather than installing it manually. If possible, place your wireless router in the centre of your home (or office) on an elevated, non-metal surface away from walls to maximise signal strength in all areas of the building. To connect to the Internet wirelessly using your wireless router, you must have a laptop equipped with an internal or external wireless card or some other Wi-Fi-enabled device.