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How to set up a router

Receiving broadband into your home or office continues to be made easier every year by growing technology. One of the best improvements in technology has been WiFi, which enables you to access the internet without having to be connected by wires. You could be in the lounge, kitchen, or any room of your house and still surf the internet. Not only that, but broadband manufacturers continue to look at improving the speed, strength and range of the internet connection you use to improve your experience almost every year.

Setting up a router in your home or office is the next step to getting internet access after signing up to a broadband package that suits your needs. More functions are becoming available for the internet, and fortunately, devices are developing at the same speed to match the demand of its users. Wireless routers  are the hub and command centre of your home or office broadband, and they make it possible for everyone in the building to connect to the internet via WiFi.

Is it easy to set up a new router?

If the thought of setting up an internet access device fills you with dread, you’re not alone. However, once you understand the jargon, installing a wireless router is far more straightforward than you might imagine.

Not only is it perfectly easy to install a new router, but it’s also a quick process which can be completed quickly. As long as your broadband package is active when you receive your router, the whole process practically does itself as long as you’re connecting the correct cables into the correct sockets. No tools are required either as it primarily involves plugging in wires and entering your broadband username and password.

How to set up your own router

After you’re received your router with all included accessories and checked that there’s no missing pieces, we’ve made the process of installing it even simpler, with step-by-step instructions to help even the most relentless technophobe:

1. Plug in your router to mains power

When everything’s unpackaged, you need to find a suitable place for your router, bearing in mind that it must be near both a mains power source and the master telephone socket in your building. It’s crucial that you do this, as you’ll need to attach your router to the phone socket. The lights on your router should now be lighting up, indicating that it is fully functioning. Once you’ve powered up your router to check for faults, turn it off during installation.

2. Connect your router to the internet

Included somewhere in your router’s packaging, you should find a microfilter. The microfilter connects to your phone socket, with two open ports on the opposite end to provide service to your router and telephone.

You’ll need to check if you need a microfilter first, as some telephone sockets do not require one due to their telephone sockets already having a filter built in. The broadband cable (DSL) will be applicable to this stage regardless of whether or not you need a microfilter.

For telephone sockets that need a microfilter:

If your telephone is directly plugged into the phone socket, unplug it and replace it with the microfilter. Your telephone can now be reinstalled via the telephone port on the microfilter, so it’s best to check at this stage that your telephone is working as normal.

Now use the broadband cable to attach your router to the microfilter. It’s usually obvious which slot is for which purpose but the microfilter will often be labelled with text or small images to make this clear.

For telephone sockets that don’t need a microfilter:

If your telephone socket has a built-in microfilter, you won’t need to connect a microfilter. Instead, connect your broadband cable directly between your telephone socket and the corresponding socket at the back of your router.

3. Turn on your router and check the service lights

Checking that all cables are correctly attached, you can now power up your WiFi router. It could take a few minutes for every light to show on your router, but you should eventually see at least two active lights to indicate the router’s power and internet coverage.

Failure to successfully connect to the internet could also be an issue when your broadband goes live, so it’s best to check that your package has started before worrying about why you’re struggling with connecting to the internet.

4. Fix any issues with your router

If your router bases performance on colour, green will mean running without any issues, orange will mean partially working or a minor issue with your connection, and it will be either red or black if there’s a serious signal error.

Most routers are made with a built-in reset button. If you’re experiencing problems that aren’t caused by wiring, interference, the weather or your service provider, there’s a good chance that it will be fixed by pressing the reset button and giving it time to restart.

Difference between AC and N router

There have been several different levels of WiFi router since they were first introduced in 1997. The B router was the first iteration, and it was the absolute bare minimum, only able to hold a speed of 11MBps. It was followed by the G router, which stepped up to 54MBps four years after the release of the very first WiFi router, but the N router allowed internet users to make more use of their broadband connection.

As WiFi routers continued to develop based on the demand for quicker broadband speed, stronger signals and more range, the N router - also known as a standard router - finally reached more workable internet speeds, going as high as 300MBps.

Released in 2013, AC routers are the most recent edition. They’re capable of providing three times faster broadband speed, defeating all competition by a distance. Every previous router could only offer a 2.4GHz frequency, but the AC router offered both 2.4GHz and 5GHz. The 5GHz radio offers high speeds within a short range of the router, whereas the 2.4GHz offers 300Mbps but a wider range. This means that any device which is capable of connecting to the 5GHz radio has a faster throughput at close range to the router, and the 2.4GHz radio still provides a steady signal to the rest of your building.

AC routers were made to connect the internet to more devices and facilitate all the expected uses such as streaming videos, downloading music and online gaming, but it ends up being a matter of preference rather than anything else, especially as new N routers are perfectly usable in most modern households.

How to set up multiple routers in your house

Running more than one router in your home or office can be applicable if you’re looking to extend your network range , make your broadband connection more reliable, or remove any frustrating dead zones. Alternatively, it’s common for people to use WiFi boosters, extenders or repeaters for this, but installing a second router usually provides more reliability due to these other devices often returning mixed results on how effective they can be.

Setting up a second router starts with the same process of plugging it into your mains and checking that it isn’t faulty, but instead of connecting it to the microfilter, it is connected to your original router via the LAN port. As your original router is the only one to be connected directly to your phone socket, this will be your primary router, with the other only offering additional broadband coverage.

It’s important to be aware of what can and what cannot be the same between both of your routers. The service set identifier (SSID), security technology (WPA2) and WiFi password can all be the same, but things like the WiFi channel, wireless frequency and dynamic host configuration protocol (DHCP) must be different or there will be issues, as they will attempt to compete with each other.

How to connect your wireless router without a modem

Depending on your needs, it is technically possible to install a wireless router without a modem. These two devices are often confused with each other, and it’s perfectly understandable as they’re both quite similar. While your router allows several devices to join the same WiFi network, your modem works with your router to supply internet to everyone using the broadband connection.

These days, a lot of service providers will combine modems and WiFi routers so everything’s included in a single device, which is often referred to as a gateway or hub. If you’re choosing to use a separate modem and router rather than this combined alternative, you need both devices together or you won’t be able to get everything out of your broadband package, including access to the internet.

Using a wireless router without a modem could be worthwhile if you only want to link a few devices in the same building on a local area network (LAN), but you wouldn’t be able to use the internet without introducing a router.

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