So, you got your modem and you’ve plugged the power cord and the co-axel cable from the wall to it. If you have a combo unit, and other than securing it, that’ll be all you have to do to start using the device, but if you do not have a combo unit, you’ll have to attach a router to your modem via an ethernet cable.
When you have your Router connected and working, you’ll want to log into the administrative portal of the router and make some necessary adjustments to secure your home network and prepare for daily web access.
Configuring your router is not very difficult and it shouldn’t take you more than 10 to 15 minutes to secure. The two settings that you’ll need to change are:
- The name of the SSID (Service Set Identifier) aka, the name of your home network.
- The password for network access.
Before you begin this process, you’ll want to prepare yourself and create an SSID (network name) that is memorable and unique to you and your network, this could be anything from your initials to the name of your dog or the name of your high school mascot. The password on the other hand, should have the next requirements:
- The password should be at least 10 digits long
- It should use at least one capital letter
- At least one number
- And at least one special character
The more complex the password is, the harder it’ll be for anyone to hack into your network. Below is a short checklist to follow:
- Find the make and model of the router and write it down
- Look on the back/underside of the router to find the default access credentials
- Pull up a browser (Chrome, Edge, Safari etc.) window and enter the IP address into the address bar
A login window will appear where you’ll enter the routers default username and password.
Once you’re inside the portal, you’ll need to navigate to the appropriate tab, “Basic Tab” or the “Wireless Tab”.
Here you’ll find the options to change the SSID (network name) and the password for your network. You’ll want to leave everything unchanged or as default here except for the network name and password.
Make sure you write down your changes and save them someplace secure. Click on the save your changes button and restart your router for the updates to take effect.
If for whatever reason you want to change those settings back to factory default, there will be an option -typically in the advanced settings of the online portal- that will allow you to reset the router to factory default settings. Alternatively, there is a small button or pin sized hole on the back or bottom of the router that will allow you to change the settings back to factory default as well.
At this point, your network now has the name you gave it, and the password should already be restricting access to your network. If you find your network on any of your devices (computer, mobile device etc.) you should see a small lock next to the name of your WiFi indicating that it’s a secured network.
If you have a lot of visitors or guests, it is recommended to setup a separate “guest” Wi-Fi network. Setting up a Guest Wi-Fi is relatively simple and can be an advantageous process in securing your data. Of course, just like your main network, it can and should be password protected, the only difference is, that the two networks will be separated. This practice is important in case a visitor decides to access malicious websites or download unwanted data, while on your network. Basically, you’ll be able to maintain the security of the primary network while at the same time accommodating visitors with access to your network.
While there are many other security measures to help keep your network secure, setting up a personal SSID and password is the first line of defense to help protect your network from unwanted intrusions. That’s why we recommend updating/changing your network name and password on a quarterly basis. And yes, you’ll have to go through the trouble of update all your wireless devices, but it’s better to have a periodic change to your network security than it is to keep the same credentials over time and risk being hacked.
Setting up a home or office network isn’t something only a trained IT person needs to do for you anymore. Unless you’re running a multi-network environment with complicated access points and firewalls, you can very easily setup your own secure network and feel confident that you’ve do it right.