Thursday, January 20, 2011

Wireless Router Configuration

Now we can start to configure wireless router, and I will use Linksys WRT54G Wireless Router as an example. This router supports 802.11g and backward compatible with 802.11b standard. The authentications supported are WEP, WPA/WPA2 authentication with pre shared key or RADIUS server. In case you plan to get a new router, I recommend you to get one of these wireless routers.

Read the router manual before starting to configure it. This is useful for you to understand the router features and how to configure it. If the manual is not came together with router, you can download it from vendor website.

Sometimes the vendor will prepare some quick setup wizard to expedite router configuration, but I’m not going to explain this method here. I will explain some important and common setting which will be found in most of the wireless routers from different vendors, so you can use wizard to start the installation and then check out the details here.

Open your popular web browser (Internet Explorer, Opera, Netscape Communicator), then type and press "Enter". This IP address is factory default IP assigned to the router, you will be able to find it in wireless router manual. That’s why I said it’s important to read the manual.

You need to set computer with the IP sits in the network same as wireless router, so you can only access and configure it. In this scenario, I set computer IP as (you can set 192.168.1.X, X= number between 2 and 254), net mask as and gateway as

After that, the logon screen will pop up, type in default user and password you found in router manual also. You will then log on to the router web-management page.

Wide Area Network Setting.

First go to Setup tab and click Basic Setup, this is the place you set public IP address provided by your ISP in order to access Internet. It can be one of these 5 options:

Automatic configuration - DHCP - Choose this option to obtain an IP address automatically from your ISP. (For most cable modem users). Optionally key in a name for this router. The default MAC address is set to the WAN’s MAC address on the router.

Sometimes you will need to clone MAC address under MAC Address Clone tab. This feature is required by cable modem users with the service registration via computer network card’s MAC address. That means the ISP will authenticate your network card’s MAC address whenever you use the connection service. If so, you will need to click clone MAC address in order to clone the computer network card’s MAC address to your network router. If you are not sure, check with your ISP technical support. Click here to check MAC address of network card.

Static IP - Choose this option to set static IP information provided to you by your ISP. You will required to type in all network information manually if select this option. This option is mostly used by business users. Lot of works if use this option, try to avoid this if possible.

PPPoE - Choose this option if your ISP uses PPPoE. Your ISP will provide you with a username and password. This option is typically used for most DSL services.

PPTP - Same as PPPoE, This option is mostly used by DSL service users with provided username, password and IP information.

L2TP - This option is mostly used by DSL service users is Europe with provided username, password and L2TP server information

Telstra Cable:  This option is mostly used by DSL service users with provided username, password and Heart Beat server information.

As a cable modem user, I will choose Automatic Configuration – DHCP option. I won't clone MAC address because the service registration is tied to cable modem's MAC address.

Local Area Network Setting

At the same setup page, set up the IP address for the router. This will be the router/gateway IP address that you will set on your network computers. The LAN IP address is private in your home network and cannot be seen from the internet. I set my router with IP and subnet mask

Dynamic Host configuration setting

Most of the routers has built-in DHCP server, so does this router. The DHCP server will automatically assign an IP address to the computers in your wireless network. At the same setup page, you must specify the starting IP address, number of users and lease time. Lease time is the length of time for the IP assigned to the computer.
For my case, the starting IP Address is, maximum dhcp users is 50 and I set the Lease Time for 1 day (0 minutes).

SSID and other basic wireless setting

Now click Wireless tab and you will see Basic Wireless Settings. These are unique features for wireless router, it’s not available for those wired routers:

Wireless Network Mode – 3 wireless operating modes are supported, it can be 802.11b (B only), 802.11g (G only) or both (Mixed). I select Mixed, so that wireless client with 802.11b or 802.11g wireless network adapter can join the network.

Wireless Network Name (SSID) – The SSID is the network name of this wireless network and must be identical for all devices in the network. When wireless clients first start up, they scan the wireless frequency band for special beacon frames that content SSID sent by wireless routers or access points, finally connect to the network that preferred by users.

SSID is case-sensitive and must not exceed 32 alphanumeric characters. Change it and don’t use default SSID due to security concern. I set it as home-network.

Wireless Channel - There are 13 wireless channels (1-13) supported. All devices in your wireless network must use the same channel in order to function correctly. I select 13.

Wireless SSID Broadcast - If you enabled this feature, the router will broadcast SSID and would be detected by wireless clients in the network. For security concern, I would recommend you to disable it.

Wireless network authentication

Although wireless client can join wireless network without authentication, but it’s dangerous! So please set authentication on wireless router, so that wireless client can only join the network after successful authentication. This router supports legacy WEP and WPA/WPA2 authentication with pre-shared key or RADIUS server.

Usually home users will use WEP, WPA personal or WPA2 personal security mode. WPA/WPA2 features are only available on 802.11g router, whereas WEP is the only authentication feature supported by 802.11b router.

Use WPA personal or WPA2 personal mode if supported by your wireless adapter. You need to supply pre-shared key for authentication. Choose AES as your WPA or WPA2 algorithm.

You can only use W PA-enterprise or WPA2-enterprise if you have set up RADIUS server. This is the WPA/WPA2 authentication with RADIUS server instead of pre-shared key .

If your network card is 802.11b standard, you need to choose WEP option, then set pass-phrase with 64 and 128 bits encryption.

You can leave group key as it is. This settings determines how often your group key changes.

Since my wireless network card can support WPA2, I use following setting.

You don't have to follow all settings I used above, you can also tune the wireless router as according to your needs.
One last thing that I would like to tell you, if you wish to connect all home computers to access to Internet via this router, please select Gateway mode in Setup->Advanced Routing page and save the setting. If another router exists on your network, then you can select Router mode.

If you plan to have wired connection from computer to this router, check out this article to get it done quickly. If not, proceed to check articles below to configure wireless adapter.