How to set up a wireless router on your laptop

Peeeee Essssss. I get a lot of hits to this page. So if I helped you set up your router, at least have the courtesy to say Thanks in my latest post, ya know? I took the time to help you out. It’s kind of nice to know it worked. Or didn’t work. Or whatever….



It dawned on me just how many people are afraid to set up a wireless router on their computer, and they end up paying a geek to do it for them. So I figured I would tell you how to do it for a laptop.  That way, instead of paying somebody, you can just mail the money to me.

It’s not that hard if you follow instructions to the letter. Normally, your router comes with these instructions but they aren’t always written for normal humans instead of digit heads.

These instructions are the same for a PC too, except I am not going to deal with how to add computers to your network.

If anyone else who reads this notices that I skipped something, please correct me so I can correct this post. Thx.

What you will need:

1. You will need a Cable or DSL connection.

2. You need to buy a wireless router. You have seen them everywhere, with many familiar names. LynkSys, Buffalo, NETGEAR, etc. They are fairly cheap and you can get a decent one for $50.

Ok let’s get started.

1. Power down your laptop.

2. Connect the router antenna to your new router. It usually just screws in.

3.  Disconnect your  laptop and Modem power cords from the power sockets. If your modem has an On/Off button, turn it off first.

4. Remove the (usually yellow) ethernet cable plug from your laptop ethernet port. (This is the thick wire that looks like it has phone jack connecters on it, but they are larger)

5. Place the ethernet plug you just removed from the laptop into the WAN port on your new router. The other end is already plugged into your modem. Leave it there. Note: the router’s WAN port is usually labeled so you can tell it from the other ports on the router. Make sure it’s the WAN port.

5. Take the second ethernet cord that came with your new router and place one end in the ethernet port on your laptop. Same port you just removed the other one from.

6. Place the other end of the cord you just plugged in to your laptop and place it in the free port on your new routers. Some routers come with mulitple free ports, pick one.

Now you are ready to connect power.

WARNING, follow the sequence EXACTLY.

1. Plug in and turn back on your internet modem. Wait until all the lights indicate that it is “Ready”. Can take up to 60 seconds, but all lights should show as they always do when you are using the internet. DSL light should be glowing steadily, not blinking.

2.Now you can connect your new router to a power source. Plug the router’s internal end of the plug into the proper place on the router. Then plug it into the wall. After you plug it in, depending on the router you bought, lights will be flickering, etc, while the router initializes. Check the manual for which lights indicate the router is ready. This can take a minute. Generally, there is one specific light they want you to watch for, it would stop blinking, for example.

3. You can now reconnect your laptop to the power source, socket, strip, etc.

4. Boot/Power up your computer to the desktop.

Now you are ready to go to the setup IP website of your router’s manufacturer.

1. The IP of your router’s manufacturer on the router, usually on the bottom.This is four sets of numbers separated by a “period” and it is unique to your router’s model. It always starts with 192.168 and is followed by two other sets of numbers. For example, Whatever the number is, you will be typing this in your browser.

2. You will also notice that the router has the “Username” that you will key in. If they want you to use a password, that will also be shown. Some just tell you to leave “Password” “Blank.

3. Open a browser. It can be Firefox or Intenet Explorer. Type in the IP number (192.168.x.x) you found that matches your router.

4. The screen that comes up will ask you for User and password. This is the information on your router. Type in their “user” name and password as designated. If it’s “blank” just leave password blank. Hit ENTER.

Now you are ready to initialize your wireless. This is the point where the setup can be automatic if you are on Cable broadband. If you are on DSL, you will have to know some information that your ISP provider can give you. Or you can find it yourself. I will address that separately if you want me to.

1. Let the setup do its thing. If they ask you to “Save” anything do it.

2. Log out of the IP site and go down to your windows taskbar. If you are in XP, you will click on the network Icon near your clock. Click on it and pick your network name to connect. You can see your network name on your router, it’s usually affixed with a label.

3. You should be able to connect to your network. I haven’t used XP in awhile (have windows 7 now) but you also right click on that icon and open available networks. If I have any of this wrong, please, someone on XP correct me. In windows 7, you need to make sure that you are on a HOME network and not a PUBLIC network. You can change it at that time to HOME NETWORK.

Okay so now you are online with your router working well. But you aren’t done yet! You MUST SECURE YOUR NETWORK! Now WHY should you do THAT? Well, the truth is, if you don’t secure it, some clown in your neighborhood can just hop onto your network and use up your bandwidth downloading porn or whatever turns him on. A clown could drive by and do it too.  Furthermore, a creep could see all of your personal information, that you are typing in. Imagine you are at your bank’s website and keying in your password. Get it? You must password it so that you and only you and only your computer can use it.

At this very moment, there are a dozen of so networks active in my area. I see them all by name. All of them are secure except one. At this very moment, if I were a shithead I could just connect to that network and do some serious peeking. Get it?

So here’s how you do that.

1. Go back to the IP address of your router. (192.168.x.x)

2. From the HOME page, click on WIRELESS SECURITY. This will bring you to the security setup page, where you are going to pick the type of security you want. There are basically two kinds: WEP and WPA. Of the two, WPA is better. This is because WEP passwords are usually HEX (using characters A-F, 0-7) (Hex means Hexidecimal and those are the only characters you can use).  So they are easier to crack. WPA, on the other paw, allows you to type a whole string in as a password and it’s harder to crack. You can use spaces and punctuation too. So you could type “My dog has fleas.” as your password.

Right now of the dozen or so networks I see listed in my area, all of them are WEP protected and only one besides mine is smart enough to be WPA protected. If somebody comes by with one of those electronic descramblers that thieves now have, they won’t be wasting their time with my connection or the other connection. Why would they when they have all those easier to crack WEP connections?

So, we are going to set up WPA security. You can also pick PSK as an option.

1. If you see the opportunity to pick  PSK as a choice at any time on the screen do it. If not, Chose WPA and it will come back with a screen for your PSK. You can now type in a password string such as, “I read Uppity Woman first every day” or “I hate my mother in law” or if you’re a bot, you can use “i luv u 2 mutch 4 wordz“.  Or you can just use, “Hey hacker, go fuck a duck, you *&^$!”. With WPA any characters are acceptable. One thing to note: If you are gramatically correct and use real punctuation, most Obots will never figure it out.

Okay, so now you have your password. REMEMBER THIS PASSWORD string!




2. Don’t forget to click on SAVE before you exit the router’s IP site.

Now you can go back to your desktop screen and click on the network icon again. If you are connected, click on Disconnect. Next time you click on CONNECT, you will be prompted for your password.

You are now secure and another computer can’t get onto your wireless with you without the WPA password string.

You can also now unplug the ethernet cord from your computer. You are wireless and FREE FROM ALL THOSE DAMNED WIRES and can either keep your laptop plugged into a power source, or you can go naked and use the laptop’s battery by unplugging the laptop from it’s cord.

Your laptop can now do in your home what it was meant to do! Move around!

You can now also relocate all the modem and router hardware, along with the phone wire to another spot in the house where you don’t have to look at all those annoying tangled wires any longer. You can relocate it anywhere where there is a phone plug if you have DSL.  If you have cable, the wires will remain where your fixed cable line is.

You can try various places in the home for hardware location, and check the reception in various parts of the home where you plan to bring your laptop.

My favorite place to buy computer stuff is NewEgg. Here are the routers..


10 Responses

  1. Ok gang, if you are interested, or when you are interested, I did a post here on how to set up a wireless router. That way you won’t have to pay a geek and you can just send the money to me. lol.

    Anyone who knows how to do this, please read my post here in case I forgot something. THX.

  2. Looks good UW. The only thing you missed was have the number to you local window repair person handy. Since it never goes smoothly and after you spend an hour on hold to India for Linksys support and they tell you “I doon’t know hoooowww to make it work wwwiiiith a mac” and you throw your laptop through the window.

  3. Try Buffalo routers, DE. they are easy. And it’s what you get for having a MAC. I don’t know about MACs, can’t help ya one bit. I am also not a LinkySys fan. Signal never worked well for me.

  4. I’ve hooked up 5 of them already. One for me and 4 for family and friends. I would keep forgetting the IP address for the mac is 2.1 on the end instead of 1.1
    It’s all good. I just like to bitch about India based customer support.

  5. I use a buffalo wireless card on my beater laptop, it works great. Angi’s 17″ has built in wireless that has crazy range.

  6. DE I take my computer out on the deck in the summer with my Buffalo. The thing’s range and speed are fantastic. And I have an old one. I also have a multi level house and the thing works everywhere I go. With the new ones they have all the lastes security setup options. I just think Buffalo is a well kept secret, taking a back seat to LinkSys in recognition. But every digit head I know has a Buffalo.

  7. Excellent instructions! All set up and secured! The option was there for WPA-PSK and WPA2-PSK so we are all secure now here!
    Your instructions were clearer than the website- but I am not surprised!

  8. Glad you got it set up and glad to help MOM. Yes WPA is far more secure than WEP. By a mile.

    Did you follow the other instructions I have you, re removing things from startup? I have more things for you to remove from startup too.

  9. I followed the instructions- disabling the items one by one- double checking each before I hit the button to make sure- ready when you are!

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