Wireless networking provides an easy and convenient way to connect computers at home or a small office. If you have a Netgear router, setting up a secured wireless network will ensure that your data is safe from snooping, and that no unauthorized users can get into your network. With the right configuration, you can prevent intruders from accessing your wireless network, while giving authorized users full access.
Setting up a secured wireless network on a Netgear router will usually involve implementing a wireless authentication method. This will either be through Wireless Encryption Protocol or (WEP) or the stronger standard, Wireless Protected Array (WPA).
- Start your setup by connect the cables. Plug in your router to the power supply, so you can initiate setup. Connect one end of the Ethernet cable to the modem and connect the other end at the back of the router marked “input.” Connect another Ethernet cable to one of the router’s “network” ports and the other at the back of a computer. You have the option of removing the wired connections later on, after setup.
- Set up the modem, router, and computer. Turn on your devices to initiate setup. By this time, your Netgear router will not connect directly to the Internet unless you have a DHCP-enabled connection (such as cable Internet).
- Setup the router. Take note of the default IP address of your router that is indicated in the manual. Open a web browser and type in the router's IP address. This is usually 192.168.0.1, 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.2.1. An alternative to this is using the bundled CD installer, which will manage the setup for you.
- Key in the username and password. When the page has loaded, you will be prompted for a username and a password. This information can be found in the manual, but by default, the username is “username” and the password is “password.” Hit the “Enter” button after keying these in.
- Configure the security settings. Assuming you have already configured your basic connection settings, you will now need to move on to the wireless security settings. Click the “Security Settings” link. First, change the SSID, which is the public name of the wireless network. You can chose to have the SSID published or not. For added security, you can hide the name, although each device that will connect to the network will need to specify the name.
Set the wireless encryption method. You will be given choices, and between WEP and WPA, choose WPA. You will also be given different encryption methods under WPA, like TKIP and AES. Some models will even let you choose WPA2. Choose the most common denominator that your devices have. If you have older devices, these will likely be able to support up to WPA. If you have devices that only support WEP, you have no choice but to use WEP (but do note that WEP is easily hacked by packet-sniffing software).
Use a password that you can easily remember. Do not settle for obvious things like your first name, birthday, or any other word that can easily be guessed. With WEP, your password is limited to a few characters. With WPA, you can choose a longer password or even a pass phrase, which can be anywhere from eight characters to 255.