Lesson 1- Configuring the Router


Overview

In Lesson 1 we begin by logging into the router and creating an admin password making sure know one but you can get into the routers configuration.  We then go through the settings required to get the router and the modem to connect to each other.  Next we go to the wireless network settings and make changes so that only your computers can get onto the network.  We will connect our computers to the router and get them online in Section 4.

Recommended Networking Hardware

D-Link DIR-655 Wireless N Router
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Encore ENLWI-N Wireless N PCI card
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D-Link DWA-140 Wireless N USB adapter
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LINKSYS WPC600N Wireless N Cardbus Adapter
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ENCORE ENHWI-N Wireless N Router
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ENCORE ENUWI-N Wireless N USB adapter
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Logging into the Router

We’re using the desktop computer located in the home office the one that we connected directly to the router with an ethernet cable. To configure the router were going to use Internet Explorer here and you have to enter the IP address of the router and typically this is 192.168.0.1 and on some routers it’s actually 1.1 will change it to zero and press enter.

We’re at the routers login screen and the user name we will use is admin.  Depending the router the password will either be admin also or it will just be blank. If the IP address or the username and password don’t work for your router look on the bottom of the router and there’s always a sticker with the IP address of the router as well as its default username and password. On this one it’s blank for password so we’ll just login.


Setting the Admin Password

Now that’s not very secure having no password or having it just be admin for the user and admin for the password so the first thing we’ll do is set a password to get into the router. To do that we’ll go to tools and the admin password we will enter one it’s best to use numbers and letters not just a simple word. This router also has a user password that we’ll also set, most routers do not have this.

On a Linksys router to set the administrator password you to go administration and it’s just called local router access.  We’ll save the settings and it tells us that when you reboot to make this setting takes effect.  Rebooting the router is just like your computer rebooting when you go to start and shutdown and restart, only this only takes about 15 seconds where as your computer can take minutes.

Okay back at the logon screen will type in the password we just put in and press enter. Next will make sure the router and the modem can see each other. We’ll go to setup and we’re on the Internet connection screen.  This router has a wizard it can walk you through to help you set up the connection to the modem. Were going to use the manual Internet connection set up just so we can show you all the configuration options and walking through them.


Connecting to the Modem

Now the Internet connection type, the default on most routers will be a dynamic IP. This means that the router goes out to a DHCP server that your Internet service provider has setup to get its configuration information and IP address. Most cable modems use this Internet connection type. If we click this we see we also have an option for a static IP. A static IP is also sometime used by cable modems mostly for business lines where instead of going out to a DHCP server to get the IP address you enter one manually as well as sometime you also have to put in a gateway and a couple of DNS servers.  This is all information you would get from your cable provider.

The next one is a PPPoE, this is used by DSL modems. It can either be a dynamic IP or static. Static again is where you click and enter the IP address. You also have to put in a username and password and some other information that you would get from your DSL provider. This is all information that you would ordinarily put into the network setup of a computer directly connected to the modem but instead since this router sitting between the computers and your modem you enter the information here.

The next one down is a PPTP. This connection type is mostly used in Europe and Israel. There is also L2TP also used in Europe and the next one down at the bottom on this router there’s an option for big pond which is an ISP located in Australia.

On a Linksys router the Internet connection type is set on the main screen under setup and basic setup. If we like it we’ll see that the options are very similar to our D-Link router with options enter static IP address, gateway, subnet mask, DNS just like in the D-Link router and of course the different connection protocols that are available.

The modem were using as a cable modem and it gets its information from a DHCP server. We don’t have to enter any of this information it just gets it automatically from the server. We haven’t made any changes so we don’t need to save anything. If you had to enter information here for your modem and you click save settings it will ask you to reboot. On this D-Link router for the status page it shows us the network status established and the connection up time of about eight minutes.  As well as an IP address, a subnet mask, gateway, DNS server, IP address information it got from the DHCP server.

On a Linksys router the status pages at the top right and it gives you very similar information. The router name the IP address it’s  getting from the cable modem, subnet mask, a default gateway and some DNS. If we open up another tab here in Internet Explorer if we go to lets say Google we do indeed have a Internet connection.


Wireless Configuration

Now let’s set the router up so we can share this connection with all of our other wireless devices. Will go back to the configuration. On this router you go to set up, wireless settings and this also has a wireless network setup wizard where it will walk us through the configuration. We’ll choose the manual wireless network set up so again we can show you all the different options.

By default it’s enabled the wireless network. The wireless network name is D-Link. That’s the default that D-Link routers ship with. Linksys routers are usually Linksys for the network name. We’re going to change that to something else. We’ll call it “homenet”. You can call it anything you like but for security reasons try not to use anything that’s personally identifiable to you like your name.

This router here has an option to change the 802.11 mode. Its set as mixed with wireless N, wireless G and wireless B.  If you click that you have options to set it to any one of the standards only or different mixes of the different wireless standards. Were going to set it to a 802.11 N and G because that’s the two kinds of wireless devices were going to have on this network.

If you have all N wireless network devices you can set it to N only and that will improve the speed a little bit. By having mixed N and G the transfer speeds between computers are a little bit slower.

The next option you’ll find on most routers is a wireless channel to use. This D-Link router has auto channel scanning if we uncheck this we can see it’s on channel 6 and he gives you the gigahertz. There is a list of channels we can choose.  What this allows for is so that several routers can be in the same range as one another and not interfere with each other.

If you’re having trouble with your wireless network there may be another wireless network perhaps that your neighbor has that using the same channel and you can change this setting to a different channel to hopefully get rid of the interference.  Were going to leave it set to auto channel scan and it will figure out what channels best to use on the fly.

There is an option for a transmission rate. You can choose different options. We’ll just let it do automatic.

The channel width here is set to 20 MHz by default. {unreg}

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For better performance you should choose auto 20 or 40. It will try to use the 40 MHz which will give you better performance and if it runs into problems it will default back to 20. We’ll let it try 40.

There’s also a visibility status and by default it’s set to visible. On other routers this is usually referred to as broadcasting the SSID. The SSID is the network name that you set up here. If we were to set this too invisible or in other routers to turn it off it wouldn’t broadcast that you have a network. So unless you knew the name of the network that you set here you wouldn’t be able to connect using any wireless devices. You have to manually put in the network name. If you very concerned about security you can turn the SSID off or here use the invisible mode. That way your neighbors or people just driving by in cars won’t be able to see your network. Just for ease-of-use were going to leave it on a set to visible and were going to rely on our wireless security mode and the key that we choose to do most of our security for us.


Wireless Security

Right now the security mode is none which means that anyone with a wireless device can connect to the network. We’ll click this and on here we have three options WEP, WPA personal and WPA enterprise. WEP, if you choose that option this is considered very poor security. Anyone with the right software and a little bit of know-how can break into a WEP secured wireless network in about five minutes. Don’t use it. You want to use WPA personal. With WPA enterprise there’s lots more configuration options. You have to have a special server, aside from this set up to use it.

The WPA personal is sometimes also called PSK in other routers. On this router it has WPA mode, auto WPA or WPA2. If we click that we can choose WPA2 only or WPA only. Both of these are very secure modes. Were going to choose Auto. On this router what it lets us do is wireless network devices that only support WPA and not WPA2 will be able to connect and the devices that do support WPA2 which is a newer security mode will use that.

On your router you may see PSK and PSK2.  It’s the exact same thing as WPA and WPA2.

The cipher type.  If we click this you can see we have TKIP and AES or both. AES is more secure than TKIP but some of your wireless devices may not support AES. If you were to set it to only AES those wouldn’t work for you and you’d have to either lower the cipher type to TKIP or buy new wireless adapters so they support the AES. Were going to leave it as both and let the router figure out which one is best used with the different wireless adapters.

The group key update interval this is called different things in different routers but it’s usually about 3600 seconds or one hour. What this means is that every hour it will reshuffle the key that would put in down here. So if someone is next-door or in a car trying to break into your network they’re going to have to do it an hour which is extremely difficult. Were going to have a very secure network here.

Now the pre-shared key what this is is a series of numbers and letters that you’ll need to enter into all of your wireless adapters in your computers to get them on the network. You want this key to be fairly long and again be both numbers and letters, very random. Uou don’t want to put words in and you’re looking for at least 15 characters if not closer to 25. The longer the key and the more random the more secure network will be.

On the Linksys router to get to the wireless configuration settings you to wireless at the top and it’s actually broken into a few sections. Whe have the network name or the SSID. The wireless network mode is mixed which we can set on this router to B or G only. This is a wireless G router. We can also set the wireless channel. It’s defaulted to six and we can change it if we need to in case of interference from another network. For the security options would click wireless security at the top its set to WPA personal. There is a choice for WPA enterprise, WPA2 personal and enterprise as well as WEP which you should never use. The algorithm, AES or TKIP and our shared key.

To make this easy to take around two of our computers around the house we are going to open up a notepad. Here we just need to start hitting random characters on our keyboard, numbers and letters. You can use some of the special characters at the top were the number keys are with a shift and hit and get get like a $ but it’s really not that critical to user other characters. That looks pretty random and it’s 40 characters long which is plenty. The maximum is 63 characters.

What we’ll do is we’ll highlight and we’ll copy this, go back to our router setup. We’ll highlight the characters it has in it now and we will right click and paste in the key we just created. We’ll go to the top and save the settings and the router is not secure.


DHCP Settings

There’s one more thing we need to check in the router setup to make sure that all of our computers around the house can connect to the router, get online and share files and devices between each other. That’s to make sure that the router’s DHCP server is turned on. In this D-Link router it’s under network settings and if we scroll down a little bit we can see the DHCP server settings and it is enabled by default.

If you remember when we were talking about the Internet connection types the default connection type was for connection to a DHCP server. That DHCP server was for connecting the router and the modem to the Internet service provider. This DHCP server is actually on our router and it will make sure that all the computers around the house get their own IP address. With the DHCP server enabled this all happens automatically.

On a Linksys router the DHCP server setting is in the setup, basic setup page and it’s enabled by default.


Taking the security key to other computers

Let’s go back to the notepad document we just created with our key. The reason we put this into a notepad first is to make it easier for us to take this key to all the different computers we want to get on the wireless network. It would be tedious to write this time a piece of paper and take it to each computer or even printed out because you still have to manually use the keyboard to enter it. What we’re going to do to get around that is we’re going to save this onto a USB thumb drive. On this computer the O drive is a USB thumb drive  and we’re going to call the file name “key”.

We have this document with the key inside of it saved to a USB thumb drive.  If you don’t have USB thumb drive you can also burn the key.txt file to a CD or if all of your computers have floppy drives you can put it on a floppy disk. Basically you just want to put it on something you can take around all your computers.

Next in Section 3 Lesson 2 to were going to show you how to update the router’s firmware and setup access restriction.