I've given a few tips for ways to configure your router, and a reader asked how to log into a specific model. If you act as your own IT department, that basic step may be the only thing keeping you from administrating simple network tasks. I'll explain the process to get started.
Since manufacturers often use the same default settings for all of their products, here's another reminder to change the SSID and reset the administration password. Anyone in proximity to your network could easily follow these instructions to enter your wireless network, just as you'll use them to initially configure the router.
First, connect a computer to the router. This step can work through Wi-Fi, especially if you're reconfiguring a router instead of beginning new. But I recommend sticking to a wired, Ethernet cable to eliminate potential problems. Connect the cable between a PC and one of the router's LAN ports. (Turn off Wi-Fi on the PC, if needed.)
The next step is similar for different routers, although its specifics vary by brand. Consult your documentation or search online for "[your router model] default IP address." Frequently, Linksys routers use 192.168.1.1, D-Link uses 192.168.0.1, Belkin uses 192.168.2.1, and Netgear uses 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.1.1. Open a web browser, and enter the address, such as "http://192.168.0.1".
You should next be prompted for a username and password. Again, you can look in your manual or search online for your specific brand. Often, Netgear uses "admin" and "password". D-Link and Linksys often use "admin" and "admin", or just use "admin" for one and a blank value for the other. Belkin often uses "admin" and a blank value.
That's it, if the router and computer are set for DHCP by default, as most are. Once you're in, be sure to change the default password (and login if possible). Also, change the internal (LAN) IP address for the router. Pick something such as "192.168.n.1", where n equals anything between 2 and 254, like "192.168.22.1". Write down all of this information; you'll now reach the router in a web browser through that new IP address. If you lose any of these details, follow the manual's directions to reset the router, often involving holding a button with a paper clip for several seconds.