Many people prefer a Belkin router over products from other manufacturers because they’re less expensive, or because the store they went to buy a router is currently out of products from other companies. Belkin makes an excellent router that I will recommend to network installation customers if they’re looking to spend a little less. Belkin routers are usually lower in price than those from the more well known names.
Belkin Router Setup Is a Two-Step Process
Setting up a router from Belkin is an easy two-step process: configure the router for access and locate the router. Yes, it’s true that the configuration step consists of a few steps, but broken down to its most basic, two steps is all you need. The actual router configuration step consists of:
1. Setting up router configuration access control
2. Setting up network security
3. Configuring the router for any special applications (These instructions will be included with the special applications and typically include routing certain types of information to a specific computer.)
How and where you locate the router depends on whether it’s a wireless router and where you may want to be able to access the wireless network from.
Login to the Router Configuration Utility
Most routers from Belkin come with a setup wizard CD that walks you through the whole setup process, but, if you don’t have that CD, you need to configure it manually. Connect an Ethernet cable between a computer and one of the Ethernet ports on the router. Next, login to the router:
1. Open a browser window and type the router’s IP address. With Belkin this is usually 192.168.2.1. Hit OK.
2. You will be presented with a login dialog box. Leave the password and username blank. Click OK.
Internet Connection Type
Belkin is one of the few router brands that require you to set this parameter. If you’re on Cable Internet, you most likely have a Point-to-Point-Over-Ethernet (PPOE) connection. Click on the “Connection Type” and select the correct radio button. You’ll also have to enter the username and password given to you when you signed up for service, clicking save afterwards.
Select Wireless Network Name and Channel
Routers come with a default name for their wireless networks (Belkin, for example). The problem with this is that the people we don’t want getting into our networks know this. So, click on the link for “Channel and SSID” under “Wireless” and change the SSID (Service Set Identification – the network name) to something different. If the signal strength isn’t very good, change the channel to a higher one by clicking the down arrow button. Finally, click “Save Changes.”
Configure Your Belkin router for Security
Router security configuration is a three-step process. First, you need to change the username and password, then you need to change some address information, and finally you need to configure network access security. Here’s how:
1. Click on “Utilities” and then “System Settings.”
2. Type in the current password — by default this is blank.
3. Type and re-type a new password and write this down somewhere.
4. Click “Save Changes” or “Apply Changes.”
5. Under “LAN Settings” click “LAN Settings.”
6. Change the last number of the IP address to a higher number (greater than 100).
7. Under the DHCP section, change the starting and ending addresses. Count the number of devices you will allow on the network, and then add between three and five — for friends that may drop by. The last number in this pool should start between five and 10 above the IP you set above.
8. Click “Apply Changes” or “Save Changes.”
9. Under “Wireless” click “Security.”
10. For Security mode, choose WPA/WPA2-Personal.
11. For Authentication, choose WPA/WPA2-Personal.
12. Choose TKIP+AES for Encryption Technique.
13. Write down a random set of numbers and letter of between eight and 63 characters.
14. Type this set of numbers in the Pre-shared Key box.
15. Click “Apply Changes/Save Changes.”
Locate Your Router
Router location is easy. If there won’t be any wireless devices connecting to the router, just leave it near the cable modem. However, if you have wireless devices, and plan to connect from somewhere more than a few feet away from the router, get the router as high as possible, so the signal can go farther. In houses, I normally put them in the attic and run Ethernet cables to them.
A Word About Advanced Configuration Options
I mentioned something about special applications above. If you plan on setting up an FTP server to provide a single storage point for members of your family (and/or friends) in various locations around the world, you’ll have to do some IP mapping, so that the router sends all that traffic to the correct computer. If you plan on setting up something like a Network Attached Storage (NAS) drive, you’ll also have to map that drive. This is a process that I’ll cover in a later article since it’s fairly involved and won’t fit in the allotted space here.
It may seem that Belkin router configuration is something best left to the professionals, but it really isn’t. If you have the setup CD, you can quickly do a very basic configuration. With the steps outlined above, you can quickly and easily complete the configuration process manually, making your network more secure than the basic setup can do.