A wireless router connects to a modem via an Ethernet cable, which is designed to transfer data packets from one device to another. The router uses radio waves to transmit these packets to and from computers connected to the network. Once you've turned on your router and connected it to your modem, you can immediately sign onto the wireless network that's created -- but so can everyone else in the vicinity. To prevent unauthorized third parties from connecting to your hot spot or spying on your Internet activity, password-protect your network via the router configuration page.
Plug one end of an Ethernet cable into your modem and then plug the other end into the "Modem," "WAN" or "Internet" socket on your router. On some routers, this socket might not be labeled but instead color-coded yellow.
Plug one end of an Ethernet cable into the Ethernet jack on your computer and then plug the other end into one of the numbered jacks on the router.
Connect the router to power and then review the bottom of the device to find the default administrative name and password. If it's not there, check the router's documentation.
Sign onto your PC and then press "Windows-R" to open Run. Type "cmd" (without quotes here and in subsequent commands) into the window and then press "Enter."
Type "ipconfig" into Command Prompt and then press "Enter" to view your adapter configuration.
Review the information under "Ethernet Adapter" to find the address of the default gateway.
Open a browser and type the default gateway into the address bar and then press "Enter" to navigate to the router configuration page.
Log into the router using the default credentials. Select the following option or similar from the main menu, according to your product: "Wireless" for Linksys, "Setup" for D-Link, "Basic" for TrendNet or "Advanced" for Netgear.
Click "Basic Wireless Settings" for Linksys, "Wireless Settings" for D-Link, or "Wireless" for TrendNet or Netgear, for example, to open wireless settings.
Enter a distinct name for your hot spot into the "Wireless Network Name" or "Name (SSID)" field.
Click "Save Settings" or "Apply" to assign the name to your wireless network.
Click "Wireless Security" for Linksys. For D-Link or TrendNet, scroll down to Wireless Security Mode; for Netgear, scroll down to Security Options.
Set the security mode to WPA2 for your device using the following examples: Click "WPA2 Personal" for Linksys, "WPA-Personal" for D-Link or TrendNet, or "WPA2-PSK (AES)" for Netgear.
Enter a pass phrase consisting of eight to 63 alphanumeric characters, or 64 hexadecimal characters, into the appropriate field.
Click "Save Settings" or "Apply" to finish setting up the wireless router. Disconnect the router from the PC.
Things You Will Need
- 2 Ethernet cables
- To set up the wireless network name and password on your D-Link, you may need to click the "Manual Wireless Network Setup" option on the Wireless Settings page. Similarly, you may need to select "Manual" on the Basic Wireless Settings page on your Linksys.
- Some routers ship with a network name and password already configured. You can check the bottom of the router to find this information.
- Information in this article applies to Linksys, D-Link, TrendNet and Netgear routers. Instructions may vary slightly or significantly with other products.
- Linksys Knowledgebase: Setting Up the Wireless Settings on the Linksys Router Using Its Web-based Setup Page
- D-Link: Xtreme N Gigabit Router User Manual
- Netgear: I Have a Router With Netgear Genie; How Do I View or Change My Wireless Network Password (or Key or Passphrase)?
- TrendNet: TEW-633GR EWC Router | Basic / Wireless Settings
- Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images