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How to Measure Wireless Router Performance

Does your wireless connection take more time to open webpages than your wired connection? Do you experience a dip in your Wi-Fi network when you shift from your living area to your bedroom? If yes, then this article is meant for you. In this article we’ll be discussing how to measure the performance of a wireless router.

If you are not a techie, this important piece of information is dedicated to you. A router is a device which is used to channelize the flow of traffic between local computers networked together. A network which is connected via Ethernet Cables is referred to as a hard-wired network, while a network created using radio wave networks is called a wireless network. A wireless network is created with the use of wireless router.

Determinants of the performance of a wireless router

Performance of a wireless router depends on two factors viz. signal strength and throughput. Signal strength is the strength of the radio waves at a given point which is at a significant distance from router. In a nutshell Throughput can be defined as the amount of work a computer can do in a given time period.

How to check signal strength?

To check the signal strength it is advisable to install inSSIDer. inSSIDer is a freeware wi-fi network scanner for windows. inSSIDer, when running, notifies you about all the wireless networks present in your periphery including the one you are using. The signal strength is shown under the RSSI column which is updated in real-time. You can walk around with your laptop or any other receiver device and check the signal strength, your wireless router is providing at different locations.

Checking the throughput?

If you are getting the correct signal strength it’s time to check your computer’s performance. To determine the throughput capacity of your computer we recommend you to use Qcheck, a network troubleshooting utility program.

To find your throughput using Qcheck install Qcheck on your computer and Ixia’s Performance endpoint software on another computer. The second computer should use the Ethernet to access the network.  Once both programmes are running enter IP address on your computer and the partner computer i.e. the PC using Ethernet. Then click on the ‘Throughput’ in the options panel and press the Run button to get your throughput results.

The above steps will help you in determining your signal strength and get more out of your wireless router.

How To Check Unauthorized Access to Wi-Fi®

Wireless networks are gaining popularity with each passing day and more and more people are getting rid of the old Ethernet cables and getting a wireless network installed. Ethernet cables are considered to be the safest way of communication because no one can illegally hook a cable into your router and steal your network resources, but when it comes to wireless networks this can be easily done if proper measures are not there. Wireless signals are broadcast equally in all directions and anyone who somehow knows the password of your wireless network can easily access the Internet and your network without you even knowing the same. In this post I will let you know how to identify if someone is accessing your home wireless network and how to make it secure again.

Identification

Every router has a few LEDs on its front. One of these LEDs is for the Internet. This light stays solid if Internet is not in use and it flashes if information is going or coming from the Internet. The easiest and quickest way to check if someone is connected to your router or not, is to check the status of Internet LED on the router after turning all your home computers off. If it is flashing then somebody is definitely connected to your router and is using your resources.

We mostly name our computers by our own name so if the person who is illegally using your network has also named his computer as his name then you can even come to know about the same. Let us see how.

Step 1: Open the Router console by typing ‘http://<IP of your default gateway>’. This will take you to the router set-up page also known as router console.

Step 2: Enter the username and the password and enter into the console.

Step 3: Go to the Status section of the router. It may be named as something else in different routers but you need to look for it. Here in the status window router displays all the devices which are currently connected to the router. You obviously will identify your home devices and computers and can easily make out the one which is not in your house.

Step 4: This list displays the IP address, MAC address and even the computer name which is connected to the router. So this way you can come to know about the name of the computer or person who lives nearby and is illegally using your computer.

Fix the problem

Once you know that someone is using your network then you can take measures to stop the same. First would be to change the security key and make it hard to guess. This will at once disconnect the unauthorized computer and he will not be able to connect again until he knows the new password. Second best thing will be to note down the MAC address from the status screen of the router and block the MAC address completely in the router. This ways even if the person knows the security password, still he would not be able to connect to your network.

How to Network Computers Using a Hub

Network is a logical or physical arrangement of computer to share data and resources. We need to have some network devices to build a computer network and these devices can be anything like a router, switch or a hub.

A hub is a device which is used to connect multiple computers in one network. The most common type of hub is an Ethernet hub.

Here are some of the simple steps to make a network using an Ethernet hub:

Step 1:

All the computers in the network must be switched off while you try to set up a network using a hub. Now connect the power adapter with the Hub and insert the power cable on the electrical outlet so that the hub can get the power.

Step 2:

Now you need a network cable which has to be connected on the uplink port of the hub. The other end of the same network cable must be connected into the unlink port on the router. This step is necessary if you are going to make the network with internet connection.

Step 3:

Now is the time to switch on all the computers. Now join once end of the straight-through network can on one of the numbered port on the Hub and connect the other end of the same cable on any of the computer in the network. If the setting is correct then you must see a green light on the same port.

Step 4:

You have to repeat the above steps to join all the other computers on the network. After this you need to configure an internet or network connection in the Operating System. Click on Start button and select ‘All programs’. Now go to Accessories and select Communication. Choose the ‘Network Setup Wizard’.

Step 5:

Now you will see a network setup wizard where you need to select the type of network or the connection method. You must endure that all the cables are connected and the network devices and computers are switched on.

Step 6:

Select the option ‘this computer connects through the internet through another computer on my network or through a residential gateway’ if you are using an internet connection. The other option ‘this computer belongs to a network that does not have internet connection’ is for the users who do not have an active internet connection.

Step 7:

Now a new message ‘this computer connects through the internet through another computer on my network or through a residential gateway’ will appear once you click on next for the wired and wireless Ethernet capabilities.

Step 8:

After this, you need to select the computer name for each computer and make the settings so that each computer gets the automatic IP Address and DNS Server address. You must also decide a workgroup name and all the computer in the same network must be under the same workgroup name.

These simple settings can have all the computers in one network and will allow users to share data and resources. Network can also be built even if you do not have any working internet connection.

How to Set up a Wireless Network

Nowadays setting up a wireless network within home/small organizations have become the preference of almost all the people. The reason behind this likings is wireless network allow them flexibility to work on their laptops in their comfortable place/position within the range of the wireless network. It also cut cost any less messy as compared to wired networks. But only likings is not enough, coz apart from flexibility issue it can be dangerous from the security point of view. If one does not setup a wireless network properly then it can be misused. So it’s really very essential for the user to understand certain facts before going to implement wireless network within its home or organization. Understand properly the concepts of wireless networking and benefits of using wireless network, its flexibility and how it can help you to cut-cost with increase in production. Evaluate your business activities as well as network usage to identify the maximum possible areas that can get benefited from wireless connectivity and then plan for integrating wireless connectivity into your wired infrastructure if your evaluation shows that you will be benefitted.

This article will teach you how to setup a wireless network but before going ahead one must be familiar with the simple basic concepts of networking like-wireless router, setting up a wireless router etc, if not you need not have to worry, this article you sort out your problem. And coming to the security point of view if not set properly it might be hazardous. So proper security measures (like-setting up the firewall, updated internet security should be installed and security measures) should be taken before implementing a wireless network.

There may be various scenarios for a wireless home/organization networks (like-you already have a modem and wireless router or you might not have). Router converts the signals coming across your Internet connection into a wireless broadcast. In this tutorial we will assume that you have a broadband connection which will include a cable/DSL modem but not a router, and that your desktop PC is directly plugged into your modem. To be on safer side, it’s a good practice to keep your desktop PC wired in your network configuration. It will work as a backup to the network. There may be situations sometimes where you lose your security settings and you can’t enter the network. In this situation the wired desktop PC will sort out your problem. So in this tutorial we will also assume that your desktop PC will have the wired connection on the network and you want to set up a notebook/another desktop PC etc for wireless access. For this wireless setup you will need to buy a wireless router, a wireless PCI card for your desktop PC, and a wireless PCMCIA card (also known as a PC Card) for your notebook if it’s an old one. The latest notebooks come equipped with it.

Steps to setup a secure wireless network in your home:

Step1:

Choose your equipment from among various products available in the market according to your needs. While choosing the router you will notice that you have the options to choose from among the three different wireless networking technologies 802.11a, 802.11b, and 802.11g, of which we recommend you to choose 802.11g as it gives outstanding performance and is compatible with almost all the devices. Now let’s assume that you have all your equipments and you are ready to proceed for the next step.

Step 2:

Locate your cable/DSL modem and unplug it. Then connect your wireless router to your modem. [Note: Your modem should be directly connected to the internet.] Now as you are done with it, your PC will get connected to your router wirelessly. The router will communicate through your modem to the internet.

Step 3:

To complete setting up the network process, Login to your PC and temporarily connect your PC to one of the open network ports with the network cable (that came with your wireless router) on your wireless router. [Note: Confirm that the port on which you connect should not be labeled either Internet, WAN, or WLAN.] When set, open Internet Explorer type in the address from among the list 192.168.1.1/192.168.2.1/192.168.0.1 (varies from manufacturer to manufacturer) or as given in the manual of your router. On doing so, you will be prompted with username and password. The user name will admin and the password will be admin/password/or can be blank (i.e.: no password, after you enter username just hit login button) or as given at the manual of your router.

Now the Internet Explorer will open the router’s configuration page. Most of the default settings will remain the same excluding a few which you will have to configure. Don’t get surprised, this tutorial will help you out to configure your router. Firstly you have to give name to your network which you will see on the router page as SSID name. SSID stands Service Set Identifier. It helps to identify your network. Choose something unique which will not be similar to the one your neighbors are using. Next step is to secure your wireless network so that no third-party can use it. In order to do so, go to Wireless encryption (WEP) or Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA). It will help you out to protect your network. Almost all the routers will give you two options to provide security keys. One option is they will generate a key for you and the other is you can set a key of your own. Be sure to keep your key unique and long. Last step is to change the Administrative password which in other words will control your wireless network. At times when you change your network’s settings you will need this password. Don’t keep your password as a simple word. It should be unique, long and combination of words and numbers.

[Note: The steps to configure these settings will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer as well as the type of router you have.]

Be sure off to “Save” the settings you have made and then to “Apply/Ok” to save your settings, else it will not get saved. Next what you have to do is to disconnect the network cable from your computer and then plug in and turn on your cable/DSL modem. It will take little instant to connect to the internet, give time. On successful connection to the modem as well as internet, the Internet/WAN/WLAN light on the wireless router will light up.

Step 4:

If you PC has in-built network card, then all you have to do is turn on the wireless button and then click on your network from among the list and then hit connect. You will be prompted with network security password. Don’t get surprised, it’s the same security key you have given on the third step for WEP/WPA. Enter that security key and Ok. Now what use it? As everything has been set you are good to go now.

If your PC does not have in-built wireless network support, insert the network adapter into an empty PC card slot (in case of Laptop) or plug your network adapter into the USB port of your PC and place the antenna on top of your monitor or where ever you want to keep (in case of desktop). Turn on your PC and windows will automatically detect the new adapters and will install it or at times prompt you to insert the CD that comes with the adapter. In the installation process, all you need to do is to follow the on-screen instruction, and the configuration will be done.

How to Change Router Passwords

Network security is an issue that is a growing concern for businesses and home users alike. Protecting your network is a sensitive concern as it is most prone not only to dangers like Virus and malware but also to hackers and other unauthorized users. These unwanted third parties derive satisfaction in breaking security codes and stealing valuable and confidential information from the computer. Most of these hackers also steal such information for the purpose of financial gains.

All possible measures need to be implemented to stop such acts. One of the very important measures for protecting the router and the network is to change the password from default to one that is private and unique.

Instructions to change Router Passwords

 

Following the instructions will help you learn how to change the default password for your router.

Step 1: In the first step, access your desktop and open the web browser icon on it. This will open the default web page through which you need to access your router setup page. In the address window at the top, enter the IP address in the form of ‘192.168.x.x’, where the last two numbers vary according to the router’s manufacturer. These details can be accessed from the manual which usually comes along with it or from the manufacturer’s website. Alternatively, the default IP addresses of different routers can be found out by visiting the website ‘www.routerpasswords.com’.

Step 2: The next step involves entering the Username and Password in the dialog box that opens, the information which can once again be accessed through the manual. Entering the correct information will take you to the router setup utility.

Step 3: Keep navigating through the setup utility until you get to the screen where you would be allowed to change the password. For changing it, you would need to enter the old password.

Step 4: You must choose a password that is very difficult to guess, especially for a hacker to gain access to the network. Passwords which have only letters or numbers must be avoided and those with a combination of letters, numbers, symbols and upper case and lower case letters must be chosen to ensure maximum security.

Step 5: In the change password page of the router setup, enter the old password and then enter the new password when prompted. You would be asked to confirm the new password again for making sure that the correct password is entered.

Step 6: The new password must be recorded in a secure location so that you can recall it later when the need arises.

Step 7: Log off from the router page after confirming the password change. You can confirm the changes by opening the router page with the IP address and going through the login information. You have successfully changed the password if you are able to login successfully.

It must be ensured that the password isn’t shared with anyone who doesn’t have access to the router. Care should also be taken in entering the password correctly because if you mess it up, you would have to reset the router to its default settings.

How to select a Wireless Broadband Router

Wireless network is computer network in which information is transferred without the use of traditional electrical conductors i.e. wires. The Hardware like printers and scanners are also attached to your computer without any system of wires.  Wireless Network is generally associated with Telecommunication Network and hence it is implemented with some type of remote information transmission system that uses electromagnetic waves. This networking is done through routers to forward the information to nearby or distant areas in a complete form.

Routers are the electronic devices to interconnect two or more computers networks and also selectively interchange packets of data between them. Routers, first checks the address in the data packet and then see that the pathway is on the same network or on the other. They select the network as per the requirement of the address and forward the information to its destination. There are different kinds of routers used for different purposes. Wireless Router is one of them and is commonly used to allow access to Internet because of its capability for wireless access point.

Selecting a Wireless Router can be an easy task if you are familiar with some of its basic features. So all you need is, keep in mind the following general points about the Wireless Router:

  • At first you have to see that if your house/building is a small one or a multiple storey. For a small house Wireless-G Router will be useful in respect of needs and range. But, if the house is multi-storey then you will need the Wireless-N Router for its greater range and faster speed. By using this you will be able to reach every computer in the house.
  • Secondly, it should meet your speed needs. Wireless routers have their speed in megabits per second (Mbps). So check for the speed as older WiFi models offers a speed of 11 Mbps, mid-range have ‘G’ have 54 Mbps and the latest ‘N’ Routers claim to have speed up-to 300 Mbps. You must remember that the actual performance is much lower than the maximum rating shown on the package.
  • Thirdly you can check for the models that can compete with your most of the needs. You can check for the best models available through online search and list them. Also check for the warranty it provides with the package. The length and terms of warranties shows how much a manufacturer is committed to support his product.
  • Size, style and the budget are also the key factors determining the selection for a Router. You can ensure about the portability it allows and the style that can make this an attractive addition to the decor. As far as budget is concerned you can shop around to find one with all essential features.

Wireless routers are a real support for Internet and other networks at home as well as in small Enterprises. So while selecting a Wireless Router you must ensure the above points. Some common brands available for purchasing it includes Linksys, Belkin, Netgear etc.

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