The device that sits at the heart of any wireless network is a router. Get the router set up correctly and you're halfway to setting up and securing your wireless network.
If you do not secure your wireless network, your neighbours can easily use your internet connection and potentially access your computer.
In this guide we'll show you how to set up and secure a combined ADSL modem router - in this case we've used a typical router, the Linksys Wireless N WAG325N.
Wireless router setup - step by step
1) Choose a telephone socket
The first step is to physically connect the router. If you're connecting to the internet connection the router should be positioned near a phone socket.
To get the best connection, it should be near the main phone socket, where the line enters the house.
Before connecting your router attach a microfilter (pictured right) to the phone line. One of these will typically be packaged with your new router.
2) Connect your router, part 1
You should have all the cables you need included in the box with the router.
The phone cable, pictured, plugs into the back of your router and from there into the microfilter.
Now plug in and connect your router’s mains power supply and switch the router on.
3) Connect your router, part 2
The easiest way to set up your router is to connect it to your PC or laptop via an ethernet cable (again you'll have the necessary cable in the router box).
Put one end into the socket on the PC and the other end into one of the four identical sockets on the router - it doesn't matter which.
4) Log in to your router
Start up your computer. You can now start to configure the router. This includes the wireless network and, since our router includes an ADSL modem, the broadband connection.
To access your router settings first open your web browser.
Enter the address of your router into the browser’s address bar. This is a number listed in your manual. In the case of our Linksys (and many other brands) the number we need to enter is 192.168.1.1. Press Enter.
The browser will ask for login details. Our default username is admin with a blank space for the password – you'll find your details in your manual.
5) Change your password
You'll see a page that looks like a web page, which is hosted in the router. From here you can make changes to the router.
To change the default password, click the Administration tab, enter a password in the password window, confirm it and save.
6) Internet settings
To connect to the internet you need to configure the ADSL part of the router with the right settings. Click on the Setup tab. The router will ask you for your ISP user name and password.
You may also be asked to enter details about ‘encapsulation’ or ‘multiplexing’. You don't need to know what these mean. Instead, ask your internet service provider about what you should see in these settings. Scroll down and save your changes.
You should now be able to connect to the internet on the PC connected to the router. If you don’t want to connect any PCs wirelessly, you're done. Otherwise, read on for further steps.
7) Set up your network
To set up the wireless options so that you can access the router wirelessly from another PC, click the Wireless tab in the router setup tool.
Change the name of your network (in the ‘Network Name (SSID)’ field) from ‘Linksys’ or ‘BT home network' to a name of your own choosing.
8) Secure your network
Turn on security for your new wireless network in the Wireless Security option.
WPA is newer and more secure than WEP, so select WPA from the drop-down menu and enter a pass phrase. This works like a password when you need to connect a PC to the wireless network (make it memorable but not obvious). Click Save.
9) Connect to the network
You're now ready to connect to the wireless network. Your computer should automatically detect wireless networks within range of your computer. Yours will show up under the name you gave it in step five.
Select it from the list, and connect to it. You'll be prompted for your security pass phrase – this is the same one you entered when setting up the network.