router - can I set it up myself?

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legio XX
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Location: NYC

router - can I set it up myself?

Post by legio XX » Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:28 am

My techno-competent neighbor who usually "helps" with computer issues is not here right now. I need to buy and set up a new router.

Right now running on IS- provided modem and need to add router. I don't want a combo - that's what stopped working a little while back. I've been busy/travelling and couldn't take care of it right away. Now I have a bit of time to get on it, but I'm on my own. Uh-oh.

I guess question 1 is: How to choose the right router? Anything beyond searching on "how to buy a router?"

Then I'll have to get it working. The connecting cables part should be easy; it's getting the settings right that will be confusing. When the ISP installer set this up all he asked were a few basic questions. Then he told me the router's password, and we tested the setup and that's it. No idea what I would use the (now dead) router's password for . . . Question 2: Other than searching on "how to set up a router" what should I do to improve my chances of getting it right?

All suggestions appreciated.

Vic

DKelly
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Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2015 8:58 pm

Re: router - can I set it up myself?

Post by DKelly » Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:00 am

This is a good place to start to answer the question "How to buy a router?"

https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-wi-fi-router/

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lthenderson
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Location: Iowa

Re: router - can I set it up myself?

Post by lthenderson » Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:02 am

When I replaced my router a few years back (my first time) it was pretty much plug and play. Of course I had to read the instructions to set my passwords and such but the instructions were very easy to follow. As for brand, I just went onto Amazon and read the reviews for awhile to get a sense of quality. I ended up with one by ASUS.

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cockersx3
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Re: router - can I set it up myself?

Post by cockersx3 » Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:03 am

Yeah, you should be able to set it up yourself. My parents aren't very computer literate (I get calls frequently from them asking for help), but they were able to get their router set up on their own without any phone calls. Routers will generally have a setup guide / program that is easy to follow. They'll also have the WiFi password generally on a label on the outside of the router, which helps as you set up all of your mobile devices to work with it.

What I'd look for in a router is:
  • Speed. You'll want the router to support "gigabit ethernet" or "10/100/1000". This refers to the max speeds the router will support between the wired devices attached to it. Many (most?) wired devices nowadays will support Gigabit ethernet, so this is good future-proof feature to have. Even if you don't have much wired to your router now, you may eventually want that in the future.
  • Number of ports. Most routers will have a minimum of 4 wired ports. If you need more than that, you'll want to buy a router with the right number of ports (or purchase another device called a "network switch" that basically acts as a splitter for network cables).
  • Wireless signals used. Most routers will support 802.11b/g, while newer models with support a/n as well. My understanding is that 802.11a or 802.11n allows for faster wireless speeds, and most mobile devices out there support the speed.
  • Wireless range. You want one with the largest range possible. I've typically relied on other reviewers to give me a sense of how far the signal will go. There are some threads on this forum where people have used the new "mesh" network routers, which basically involves the use of multiple routers in the house that "talk" to each other and allow for wider distribution of the signal in your home. If you've got a big house, may be something to think about investing in. I don't have one of these, and will defer to others on setup and value.
I've generally used Netgear routers and had good results. It's usually best to set up the router using a wired connection at first (ie Cat5 cable from a desktop computer or laptop), and once you've set it up according to the instruction manual you can unplug and start configuring your mobile devices to see it. Good luck!

JBTX
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Re: router - can I set it up myself?

Post by JBTX » Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:04 am

It isn’t terribly hard. You should be able to do it yourself and if you can’t the company will
Usually have a help line.

I finally broke down and bought an Orbi while on sale at Black Friday. They are more expensive than conventional WiFi routers but they provide much better WiFi especially if cable modem is on one side of the house and your tv used for streaming is on the other.

clutchied
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Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2015 12:11 pm

Re: router - can I set it up myself?

Post by clutchied » Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:43 am

legio XX wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:28 am
My techno-competent neighbor who usually "helps" with computer issues is not here right now. I need to buy and set up a new router.

Right now running on IS- provided modem and need to add router. I don't want a combo - that's what stopped working a little while back. I've been busy/travelling and couldn't take care of it right away. Now I have a bit of time to get on it, but I'm on my own. Uh-oh.

I guess question 1 is: How to choose the right router? Anything beyond searching on "how to buy a router?"

Then I'll have to get it working. The connecting cables part should be easy; it's getting the settings right that will be confusing. When the ISP installer set this up all he asked were a few basic questions. Then he told me the router's password, and we tested the setup and that's it. No idea what I would use the (now dead) router's password for . . . Question 2: Other than searching on "how to set up a router" what should I do to improve my chances of getting it right?

All suggestions appreciated.

Vic

I'm a pretty tech savvy person, but I have very tech non-savvy people in my house.


I've recently grown tired of constantly providing tech support so I bought a 3pack of google wifi and now I don't have to worry about it anymore.


It's been so successful I'm now applying this concept to other areas of my life!

nativenewenglander
Posts: 66
Joined: Sun Jul 30, 2017 6:05 am

Re: router - can I set it up myself?

Post by nativenewenglander » Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:59 am

I just bought a new Netgear router, it was up in running in 20 minutes. You do have to read the instructions and follow the prompts, but it's not that hard. You need to be patient.

Doom&Gloom
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Joined: Thu May 08, 2014 3:36 pm

Re: router - can I set it up myself?

Post by Doom&Gloom » Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:13 pm

I just bought a new Asus router. I think it took more time to get it out of the box than it did to get it up and running.

Silk McCue
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Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2016 7:11 pm

Re: router - can I set it up myself?

Post by Silk McCue » Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:18 pm

I installed Google Wifi product yesterday. Easiest install ever using the app on my iPhone. They also have app for android. I bought a 3 pack and my wifi access throughout my house is greatly improved.

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Watty
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Re: router - can I set it up myself?

Post by Watty » Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:24 pm

lthenderson wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:02 am
When I replaced my router a few years back (my first time) it was pretty much plug and play. Of course I had to read the instructions to set my passwords and such but the instructions were very easy to follow. As for brand, I just went onto Amazon and read the reviews for awhile to get a sense of quality. I ended up with one by ASUS.
+1

I replaced one a few months ago and it was no big deal and except for setting things like a IDs, network name, and passwords which it prompted me for I did not need to change any of the advanced settings . If you ask "what is the best router" there will be lots of valid points and counterpoints but if you are just looking for a basic router then something like this one I got should be fine.

https://www.amazon.com/RT-ACRH13-Dual-B ... outer+asus

rgs92
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Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2009 8:00 pm

Re: router - can I set it up myself?

Post by rgs92 » Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:59 pm

When I had Verizon FIOS installed, the Verizon installer guy couldn't get the newest version of the official Verizon router to work so he had to just use my old one that is a couple of generations old. So I've been reluctant to even try the newer routers since I'm afraid it won't work.

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telemark
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Re: router - can I set it up myself?

Post by telemark » Fri Dec 08, 2017 1:01 pm

Routers vary widely in what they can do, so which one is best will depend on your situation. Do you need to blanket a large house with fast wifi, or do you have a small apartment with lots of neighbors nearby? Will you be streaming video to multiple devices at once, or is your use limited to checking email? What is your budget? How fast is your upstream connection? Etc etc etc...

For nontechnical people I've had good luck with the Securifi Almond, but it won't be right for every situation.

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Epsilon Delta
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Re: router - can I set it up myself?

Post by Epsilon Delta » Fri Dec 08, 2017 1:50 pm

Setting up tech like routers it's sometimes easy to set them up so they kind-of, sort-of-work, but much more difficult to set them up so they work to their full potential. On the other hand for many applications (particularly home networks) kind-of, sort-of works is much more than enough.

SittingOnTheFence
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Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2015 5:30 pm

Re: router - can I set it up myself?

Post by SittingOnTheFence » Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:46 am

You don't mention if you are referring to a wireless router or not. I presume you mean wireless.
If the ISP Installer set it up why not have them do it again? Where I live the ISP 'owns' the modem/router (I did not get a wireless one) and prohibit me from using my own. It's a cable modem/router. Thus, if it fails, they should replace it.

As others have said, it is very easy to set up a wireless router. Problem is that there are vulnerabilities that leave you open to exploits.
You should disable WPA (wifi protected setup), UPnP (Universal plug and play), and Remote Administration. All of the former are easily exploitable. Furthermore, you should change the Administrator (sometimes called default or root) password because you can google these default passwords by vendor/model and exploit routers that have not been changed. Google these terms to learn more about them. Most vendors default to activating all of the above. Don't do that.

Whatever router you buy, it most likely is older than the latest firmware available for the router. Find out how to update your router's firmware, usually by saving your current configuration and the downloading & installing new firmware. It's a simple process that appears intimidating but is not.

Good luck

2comma
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Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:37 pm

Re: router - can I set it up myself?

Post by 2comma » Sat Dec 09, 2017 3:10 am

telemark wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 1:01 pm
Routers vary widely in what they can do, so which one is best will depend on your situation. Do you need to blanket a large house with fast wifi, or do you have a small apartment with lots of neighbors nearby? Will you be streaming video to multiple devices at once, or is your use limited to checking email? What is your budget? How fast is your upstream connection? Etc etc etc...

For nontechnical people I've had good luck with the Securifi Almond, but it won't be right for every situation.
Really, most routers these days are dead simple to configure using their quick start guide and a web interface but you should at least change the login/password so nobody else can login and it is a good idea to go check if you have the latest firmware update.

I'd spend more time deciding which router is right for you. What speed are you paying for? How big is the area you need to cover? How many floors is the house and are there any obstacles lite brick walls between where your router will be and where you will use your internet. Are you a gamer? How big is the area you want to cover? How many simultaneous 4K video streams will you want to run in your house?

Let us know what your needs are and you'll get plenty of advice, Same forany initial setup and configuration issues.
If I am stupid I will pay.

Dyloot
Posts: 109
Joined: Mon Oct 14, 2013 8:04 am

Re: router - can I set it up myself?

Post by Dyloot » Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:26 pm

clutchied wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:43 am
legio XX wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:28 am
My techno-competent neighbor who usually "helps" with computer issues is not here right now. I need to buy and set up a new router.

Right now running on IS- provided modem and need to add router. I don't want a combo - that's what stopped working a little while back. I've been busy/travelling and couldn't take care of it right away. Now I have a bit of time to get on it, but I'm on my own. Uh-oh.

I guess question 1 is: How to choose the right router? Anything beyond searching on "how to buy a router?"

Then I'll have to get it working. The connecting cables part should be easy; it's getting the settings right that will be confusing. When the ISP installer set this up all he asked were a few basic questions. Then he told me the router's password, and we tested the setup and that's it. No idea what I would use the (now dead) router's password for . . . Question 2: Other than searching on "how to set up a router" what should I do to improve my chances of getting it right?

All suggestions appreciated.

Vic

I'm a pretty tech savvy person, but I have very tech non-savvy people in my house.


I've recently grown tired of constantly providing tech support so I bought a 3pack of google wifi and now I don't have to worry about it anymore.


It's been so successful I'm now applying this concept to other areas of my life!
Another up-vote for Google WiFi. I lost my home in the Northern California fires and moved in with my father-in-law to await rebuild. Instead of purchasing my normal go-to Asus router, I went Google WiFi.

I've been incredibly impressed with performance, home coverage (the 3 pack spreads signal throughout the 2,400 square foot home), and ease of setup and maintenance. I have everything running off WiFi--I decided to skip "hard-wired" Ethernet connections to see how everything performed--and I've been very happy with the cord-cutting approach.

Streaming 4k Netflix? No problem. 4 devices streaming at a time? No problem.

The 3-pack costs $300, which may turn some people off. For me, consolidating the router, network extenders/bridges, and switches, to the 3 units, was affordable. It's also greatly simplified my network. I basically now have a cable modem, Google WiFi, and streaming devices and computers.

I will say up front that Google WiFi has less configuration options than many routers. With that said, I think 99% of all customers will never need those extra configurations anyway.

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