Routers and Wireless Networks

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Most networks start at the modem. A modem is the piece of equipment received from your Internet Service Provider. Sometimes it is just a modem, but other times, it can act as a router as well. If a modem acts as a router, it might also have a wireless network. If you aren’t sure what kind of modem you have, or what it is capable of doing, contact your Internet Service Provider.

Some common setups are:

A) Modem only
With just a modem, you most likely won’t have a wireless network, but will have at least 1 wired connection to the internet.

B) Modem and router in one device
If your Internet Service Provider says your modem is also a router, they may be able to assist in getting the wireless network configured.

C) Modem and separate router
With this setup, you would have the modem from your Internet Service Provider and a router you purchased at a store or online. Even if your modem is also a router, you can still set up a separate router. 

Setups B and C usually work like this:
1) A cable from your Internet Service Provider enters the premises
2) This cable attaches to the back of a modem
3) On the modem, there is a network port. This port has an Ethernet cable plugged into it. This cable is then plugged into a port on your router. Sometimes there is a dedicated port on a router for the internet connection, but on others, it can be plugged into any port. Your router manual will have further information.
4) Other ports on the router can have Ethernet cables plugged into it, that are plugged into computers. This is how most desktop computers get their internet connections: through a wired network.
5) After the wireless network is setup on your router, wireless devices can connect to your wireless network. Wireless devices can be: laptops, smart phones, tablets, gaming consoles, and desktops with wireless cards.

Setup B would skip steps 3 & 4, since the router isn’t a part of that setup.

A wireless routerWireless Networks
Most wireless routers have a default wireless network name (SSID) and password/passphrase (usually WPA/WPA2). These default settings are normally displayed on a sticker on the router. The settings can be changed by accessing the configuration setup through your web browser. For specific instructions, see the manual for your router. 

Wireless network security is important. It is recommended to change your wireless password to something more complex than the default. This helps prevent unauthorized people gaining access to your wireless network, and using your internet connection. 

If you have any questions about your network setup, feel free to contact us at 907-868-7300.

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