“How to access my router” is a common search term, actually. When you bring home a new router, you can plug it in and start connecting computers and mobile devices to it immediately if you want.
However, if you want to change any of the settings from the wireless channel to security settings, you need to know how to access the router setup utility. Most manufacturers include a setup wizard disc with their products these days, but this isn’t always the case.
You may have even picked up a used router from a friend or family member that didn’t come with the setup disc. We’re going to try to help you feel more comfortable accessing your router.
How to Access My Router: The Configuration Menu
To give a simple answer to this question goes like this:
- Open a browser → Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, etc.
- On the address line, type in the numerical address of your router. (See image above)
- Enter the correct username and password for the router administrator.
You can use whatever browser you want. The address that is used will depend on the manufacturer and model number of the router. You can go to the web and search for this vital piece of information. However, for Windows users, Microsoft was nice enough to include a utility that will give you this information. The username and password will depend on the router, but is usually admin/admin or completely blank. If you don’t know the username and/or password, there is a reset button on all routers which will normally remove the password. Typical user/pass combinations for popular routers are as follows:
- For most Belkin routers the username is admin and there is no password
- For most Linksys routers the user will be either admin or administrator with no password
- Comcast/Linksys routers will have a username of Comcast with no password
- All D-Link routers use a default username of admin with a password of admin
Determining the Correct IP Address to Use
The IP address mentioned above is similar to your home address. It is a unique identifier for your router. As I mentioned above, you could spend quite some time searching for the online owner’s manual or help section for your particular router, or, you could make use of the utility that Microsoft includes with all versions of Windows. This is my preferred method, especially with a used router, since you never know if the previous user changed anything. The utility of which I speak is called IPconfig. Here’s how to use it. The procedure is different for XP and earlier is different than for Vista and Win7 so I’ll list them separately, XP and earlier first.
- Click the Start button.
- On the menu that pops up select “Run.”
- Type in cmd and hit.
- A black window that looks similar to the one above will open.
- In this window, type winipconfig and hit.
Windows 7 and Vista users, your procedure looks like this:
- Click Start.
- Type cmd on the text line that says “Search programs and files and hit
- The black window will open. This is what’s known as a DOS window.
- Type ipconfig and hit. (Image below)
Now, the magic begins. After you hit the return key, you’ll see a bunch of information scroll. This information tells you about the TCP/IP settings for your network adapter. The piece of info you need is listed as “Default Gateway.” The Gateway is the address through which all your network traffic flows or will flow once you’re up and running. As you can see my Gateway is at 192.168.0.? (For my security, I have removed the final piece of the address.) Use this address (yours not mine) in No. 2 in the first section above.
What You Can Do in the Configuration Menu
Once you’ve gotten into the configuration menu for your router you can accomplish numerous tasks. These include the following:
- Change the default IP address for the gateway
- Limit the number of devices that can access the network at any given time
- Open and close ports (these are similar to doors inside your house giving access to different rooms and allow you to do things like gaming)
- Setup network security including security type and passwords
- Change the wireless channel in use of there is interference (Like from a microwave)
- See who is currently on the network
- And quite a bit more
Security is an important topic to me, so I’m going to walk you through making your wireless network as secure as possible once you have accessed the router interface/menu. I am going to give you the settings I normally use.
- Click the System Settings tab
- In the window that opens, type in the current password
- Type in a new password and confirm the new password (See image on right)
- If the setup lets you change the admin name, do so
- Write this information down and keep it near the router, but secure
- Click the Wireless Security tab
- In this window, for security type, select WPA2 (only) (See image below)
- For Authentication choose password
- Type in a password of between eight and 13 characters (numbers and letters) and confirm it
- Write this password down and share it with all authorized users
- Click Save changes and exit the configuration men.
You can accomplish both of these tasks on the Wireless SSID and Channel page. This should help you when you’re wondering “how to access my router.”