How to Use a Router

Level of difficulty: Intermediate

A router is a device used to connect several computers. It is a more efficient way of networking computers than the hub, but more expensive. Today, the router is the device of choice in homes and offices when building networks that connect to the Internet. Most routers today come with 4 Ethernet ports. Some also have wireless routing capabilities.

Materials Needed:
- One (1) 4-port router
- one (1) or more Windows computers with built-in Ethernet ports installed on each of the computers
- one (1) or more straight through Ethernet cables (depending on the number of computers to be connected to the router)
- Internet connection if needed
Step 1
Turn on the computer and wait for Windows to boot properly.
Step 2
Power the router by attaching it to an outlet. Make sure to check the voltage ratings before plugging the router into an outlet. Consult the manual regarding this. Do not connect the router to the computer yet at this stage.
Step 3
Insert the disc that came with the router’s package. Follow the instructions to properly configure the router. Steps 4 and 6 discuss the usual activities done when the disc is inserted.
Step 4
A prompt to connect the computer to the router will also appear. This time, take a straight through Ethernet cable and plug one end into the computer’s Ethernet port. Plug the other end into one of the router’s ports. Make sure the ends are properly inserted to the ports.
Step 5
The software tool may also prompt for the configuration of the router. During this step, specify the addresses of the router and the address range of the systems that would be connected to the router. Commonly, the address specified for the router is 192.168.1.1 and the router configuration is available via an HTML interface. The router 'username' and 'password' may also be asked here. The address range for the computers connecting to the router is usually in the 192.168.1.X range, but different from the router’s address. The subnet mask is also specified here. It is normally 255.255.255.0 for home networks.
Step 6
Make sure that Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) is enabled on the system connected to the router. To enable this, launch the 'Local Area Connection Properties' of the system. Click Start > Control Panel and look for the 'Network Connections' icon. Double click the icon to view the available network connections. An icon for a 'Local Area Connection' should be available. Right click. Move down the options and left click the 'Properties' option. Under the 'General' tab, a small area shows several protocols. Look for 'Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)', highlight it, and then click the 'Properties' button below the selection.
Step 7
The Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) Properties window now appears on the screen. In the General tab, select 'Obtain an IP address automatically' by clicking the radio button beside it. Mark 'Obtain DNS server address automatically'.
Step 8
For each computer connected to the router, repeat Steps 7 and 8.
Step 9
To reconfigure the router, open a Web browser and navigate to http://192.168.1.1 (or the specified router address in Step 6). This will take you to the HTML browser interface of the router. A login using the specified username and password in Step 6 may be required.


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