Setting Up a Home Network

With the increase in high-speed or broadband usage, it is more common to see more homes connecting multiple computers to the Internet. Setting up a home network to allow multiple computers to connect to the Internet is easy to do.

Use the following steps to get your network running.

  1. Necessary Equipment

    Before creating a network, ensure that you have the necessary equipment. You will need the following:

    1. A broadband internet connection. This includes cable and DSL, but not dial-up.
    2. A router, preferably one that includes a firewall.
    3. A desktop or laptop with a network card. If you currently use broadband, then the card the modem is plugged into is your network card.

    Once all the equipment is unpacked and ready to go, it is time to connect it all up.

  2. Connecting the Router

    At this point you may want to print the instructions first before continuing. The next few steps will require your Internet connection to be disconnected temporarily while all the equipment is connected together.

    To connect the router, use the following steps:

    1. Disconnect your computer from the modem by removing the network cable from the modem. This will now prevent you from connecting to the Internet since you are no longer connected to the modem.
    2. At the back of the router, there are several ports. They look like large telephone jacks. Connect the network cable from your computer into one of these ports.

      Note: Some routers have a port that can be used to connect a computer or your modem into. These ports are usually labeled Internet or Uplink. Don’t plug your computer into this port.

    3. Connect the power cable into the router and ensure that it is on. There should be lights on that indicate which port your computer is connected to. If you are unsure of where to look, please read the documentation that came with the router.
    4. If the computer is off, turn it on and log in. Once the computer has finished loading, click Start->Run and then type cmd.exe in the Run window.
    5. A DOS command prompt should be displayed on the screen. At the prompt type ipconfig. If your computer is connected to the router correctly, you should see some important information:
      • IP Address This is the address assigned to your computer from the router. Usually it would be in the form 192.168.1.nnn, where nnn is a number between 1 and 255.
      • Subnet Mask This is also assigned by the router, and usually is
      • Default Gateway This is the internal IP address of your router. This information is important because using a browser a connecting to that IP address will open up the router setup.

      Save the default gateway address, since we will be using that next.

    6. Open a Web browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Netscape) and type in the following address: http://Default Gateway IP Address where Default Gateway IP Address is the address from the previous step.
    7. When prompted for a user ID and password, use the one supplied by the router. You can find this information in the documentation that came with your router. Router makers have different user IDs and passwords.
    8. The first step to securing the router is to change the administrative password, and if possible, the administrative ID. One of the options in the setup will allow you to change the password. Make it easy to remember, but not easy to guess.
    9. Don’t close your Web browser just yet before we connect the modem. If you do, simply reopen the Web browser and navigate back to your router setup.
  3. Reconnecting to the Internet

    Once the router has been connected to your computer, it is now time to restore your Internet connection.

    1. Connect a network cable into the modem, in the same port as last time.
    2. With that same cable, connect it into the port labeled Uplink or Internet on your router. A good indication that a connection has been made is a new light may be lit on your router.
    3. Open up a new Web browser and try to connect to the Internet. If you get a Web page then your Internet connection is up and running. If you don’t see a Web page, then continue to the next step.
    4. Return to the router setup Web browser. There should be a page that indicates your IP address assigned by your Internet Service Provider (ISP). Once again, please check the documentation for the location of this page. This will usually contain a refresh button. Click that button to update the router information with that provided by your ISP. If an IP address is populated in that page, then you have now re-established your connection to the Internet.
    5. Open up a new Web browser and try to connect to the Internet. If you get a Web page then your Internet connection is up and running. If you don’t see a Web page, then continue to the next step.
  4. Troubleshooting

    If you are having trouble accessing the Internet after connecting the modem, use the following steps to solve the problem:

    1. Disconnect the power from your modem and router.
    2. Wait a few seconds, then connect the power to the modem.
    3. Once the modem has finished loading, connect the power to the router.
    4. Wait for the router to finish starting, then attempt to connect to the Internet.
    5. If you still can’t connect, click Start->Run and then type cmd.exe.
    6. At the DOS prompt, type ipconfig /release to release all your network connections.
    7. Once you get the prompt again, type ipconfig /renew to refresh all the network connections.


If you would like to disconnect the router and connect directly to the modem, which I don’t recommend, use the following steps:

  1. Power of the router.
  2. Remove the cable from the computer that is connected to the router.
  3. Remove the cable from the router that is connected to the modem.
  4. Connect the cable from the modem to the network card in the computer.

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