Setting up a home WiFi network requires more than just plugging in a WiFi router, but the process is still straightforward enough that you don’t need to be intimidated by it.
That’s why before you purchase a WiFi router, there are a few things you need to consider to design the best WiFi for home:
You’ll need a few things to deploy WiFi for home:
Usually, you won’t be able to select your modem because it will be provided to you by your ISP. The job of the modem is to act as a bridge between your local home network and the public internet. Its type will depend on your internet connection (cable, fiber, DSL).
Deploying WiFi for home typically takes around 30 minutes.
If you already have a wired internet connection at home, you can skip this step. If not, you need to select the best ISP in your area and wait for a technician to install a modem for you. Most ISP offer modems that double as WiFi routers, and it’s up to you to decide if you want to go this route.
The biggest advantage of purchasing or renting a modem router from your ISP is that you won’t have to purchase a dedicated WiFi router and set it up by following the instructions below. On the other hand, the modem router supplied by your ISP might not be able to cover your entire home with a strong WiFi signal, or it might not have certain features.
Assuming you’ve already purchased a suitable WiFi router, it’s time to plug it into your internet modem. For this, you’ll need an Ethernet cable, and you should be able to find at least one inside the box in which your router came in.
Look for a port labeled WAN or Internet on your modem’s rear side and plug one end of the Ethernet cable into it. Now, look for a corresponding port on your WiFi router’s rear side and plug the other end of the Ethernet cable into it.
Turn on both your modem and your router. Both devices should have LED indicator lights indicating their status.
Now it’s time to configure your router (your modem is already pre-configured to work with your ISP). Grab another Ethernet cable and connect one end to any empty Ethernet port on your router’s rear side and the other end to your laptop or PC.
Launch a web browser on your laptop or PC and enter 192.168.1.1 or a similar address (look inside your router’s documentation if you’re not sure what the address is) to enter the router’s admin panel. It’s very likely that you’ll be presented with a login screen asking you for the admin username and password. Often, the defaults are “admin” and “admin.” If that doesn’t work, look for an information sticker on the bottom or back of your router.
Once you're in your router's admin panel, you can modify and change all settings. Look for a section titled “Wireless” or “WiFi.” From this section, you can create a new WiFi network and specify its name in the SSID field. Select a unique name that’s easy to remember and make sure it doesn’t contain any identifiable information.
Most routers support multiple security modes, and we strongly recommend you select WPA2 because it offers the best protection against hackers. Typically, WPA2 operates with a single password, and the longer and more complicated password you select, the better. When you’re done configuring your WiFi settings, click Apply or Save and wait for the new settings to take effect.
With your new WiFi network up and running, you can connect all devices to it. The process will differ from device to device, but it always boils down to selecting the right network name and typing in your WiFi password.
Of course, you may still want to connect some devices via an Ethernet cable simply because they’re close to the router and always stay in one place. You don’t have to enter any password for wired internet connections.
NetSpot is a software tool for wireless network assessments, and you can use it visualize your WiFi network and discover all areas of signal weakness, also known as dead spots. NetSpot runs on macOS 10.12+ or any laptop with Windows 7/8/10/11, and it works with any 802.11 network.
In addition to discovering dead spots, NetSpot can also gather useful information about nearby WiFi networks, such as their SSIDs, security settings, channels, and signal strength.
After spending several weeks with NetSpot, we find that it’s definitely worth the cost for the network performance gains you’ll see.
Patrick Hearn • help desk geek
To achieve the best WiFi performance, you should configure your router to broadcast on the least used channel (preferably one that doesn’t overlap with any adjacent channels).