How to Configure the Wireless Base Station - dummies

How to Configure the Wireless Base Station

By Dan Gookin

Setting up a wireless base station works similarly to configuring a router for a wired network. Each router has a different set of instructions for setting it up and making connections. All the steps that you need to set up a wireless network are in the manual. Here is a basic overview along with a few hints that the manual isn’t likely to provide.

Connecting to the router is done by setting it up according to the manual. Next, access the router by using a web browser on your computer. (The computer can be connected to the router wirelessly or connected directly with an Ethernet cable.)

To access the wireless base station’s configuration menu, start a web browser on the computer connected to the base station. In the web browser’s Address bar, type the router’s IP address, such as

The exact address is found in the router manual. You’re prompted for a username and password; that information is also in the manual.

You can probably set up a lot of things; a configuration tool may walk you through the basics. For security’s sake, ensure that the following items are all set when you configure the wireless router:

Change the base station’s administrator password. Set a new password for accessing the base station’s configuration program. All routers come with a default password and the bad guys know them, so set a good, strong password for the base station!

Set the network name or SSID. The SSID is basically the wireless network’s name. It’s not the workgroup name, which can be set separately. Instead, it’s the name that people see when they look to join the wireless network. Change the name to something unique.

Suppress the SSID. It’s more secure not to broadcast the SSID, so if you have the option to suppress it from being broadcast, consider setting this option. When the name is suppressed, only by typing the proper name can someone access the network.

Password-protected access. To join the wireless network, you want users to supply a password. Set a good one.

Set up a firewall. Ensure that the wireless router has its firewall settings activated. Nothing protects your computers from the nasties of the Internet like a good, solid hardware firewall.

The items listed here represent only a small taste of the vast assortment of settings and options for a wireless network — another reason why many people find wireless network setup to be a pain in the rump.

  • When the wireless router setup goes haywire, you can restore the router’s factory settings by punching its Reset button.

  • For wireless security, use a password on your network and the WPA-/WPA2-level security. WPA, or Wi-Fi Protected Access, is a replacement for the older WEP standard. You might also see the term PSK, which refers to a preshared key, a common security method for wireless networks.

  • The wireless network’s WPA/WPA2 password is anywhere from 8 to 64 characters long. After you set it, write it down.

  • Set a nice, tough password for your wireless network. You can configure Windows to remember the password so that you don’t have to type it every time you turn on the computer. But you also don’t want something that one of the Bad Guys can easily guess.

  • Instead of suppressing your wireless hub’s SSID, you can use MAC address filtering to help restrict access.