Let’s start with the basics: every home router has an associated address, called an IP address, which is most often 192.168.0.1 or, alternately, 192.168.1.1. To change your router settings you need to access your admin console or router interface. This is a quick and easy process, but basically you need to open your browser (Internet Explorer, Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, etc.), enter the 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.1.1 address, and a log-in screen will pop up where you’ll be prompted to enter your username and password.
A preconfigured username and password usually comes with the router by default; try using admin/admin or admin/1234 to access your router interface. If you’re unable to access the interface using one of these two combinations, you might have to do a factory reset to restore the router to its original settings. Most routers have a button on the back that says “Reset”. Use the end of safety pin to press this button and erase all settings and configurations.
What is the 192.168.0.1 IP used for?
There are infinite options for configuring your router once you access the admin console. These options vary by model and your ability to change these settings depends on if your router is “open” or associated with an operator or Internet provider.
Configure your router
The most important thing when it comes to setting up your Wi-Fi network is to make it as secure as possible while allowing configurations that help you get the most out of everything your router has to offer. To that end, we will focus on the most common settings and issues that users encounter when they open their router interface, like ports. There are ports that can and should be opened in order to use an entire range of applications, while at the same time users should take precautions to ensure that these ports do not provide a gateway for unsolicited information or unauthorized users. Your router interface can also provide a host of other useful information and settings, from detecting if someone else is connecting to the network to changing the network name and password to adding MAC filters and enabling UPnP (Universal Plug and Play).
Every Internet or IP address is assigned different ports or segments that serve as communication channels for sending and receiving information. Some services, like e-mail and messaging apps, are already assigned certain ports by default and are usually open.
Users can protect their computers by connecting to their router and opening or closing these ports, thus preventing the unauthorized exchange of information.
While it is good to keep ports closed as a general rule, you may also need to open ports when you want to use certain games or applications – some require communication with your device through a port that the router closes by default and therefore requires authorized mapping before it can be used.
Detect if someone is connected to your Wi-Fi
Think someone might be using your Wi-Fi? Unauthorized users of your network might do more than just slow down your connection: moochers could have access to some of your information and could even be using your network for illegal purposes.
Checking to see if your Wi-Fi is being stolen is easy, however, and your router interface provides two ways to find out. You can use your router’s administrative console to navigate to the appropriate wireless settings section that displays the connected devices, where you can see who is connected to the network as well as block any unwanted users. You can also install a network monitoring software that detects unwanted users and provides their MAC information so that they can be identified, blocked and prevented from reconnecting.
Rename your network
You can also use the 192.168.0.1 admin panel to change your network’s name, which you might want to do for any variety of reasons:
- To make it more recognizable and set it apart from nearby networks who are also using the same default names.
- To beef up the security of your home network. While changing the name does not increase your network’s protection, it can help deter potential attackers who see that the router is more consciously administered that ones with default names.
- To personalize your network name – a great idea for businesses that want to be more easily recognized by customers.
- To rename your network, simply navigate to your router’s basic wireless settings page and change the network’s SSID name.
Change your password
Changing the password to your network is probably the number-one reason people access their home router settings. Routers generally come preset with passwords that are impossible to remember (a mix of numbers and uppercase and lowercase letters) and therefore it is often convenient and more comfortable to change your password for one that is easier to type.
We also recommend changing your password if you detect any changes like slower speed at certain times a day or find that other people are mooching off your Wi-Fi.
To change the password, access the WLAN router configuration option and change the value of the WPA pre-shared key.
Most routers include an optional feature called MAC address filtering, one of the many ways to protect Wi-Fi networks but undoubtedly one of the best in terms of improving security by limiting the number of devices that can join the network.
It is an extra layer of protection: the router checks a device’s unique MAC address against a list of approved addresses. If the address matches one on the list, access to the network is granted; if not, the device is blocked. There are two ways to configure MAC filtering, either allowing devices that have been added to the list to connect or denying them access to the network.
The first option means that the administrator must configure a list of devices that are allowed to join the network, entering the physical address of each approved device manually into the router with the MAC address filtering option turned on. This option comes in handy when you want to allow only certain devices to connect to the Wi-Fi network, but it does have a disadvantage: if you get a new device or want to let a friend or family member connect to your Wi-Fi they’ll be blocked from accessing your network unless you add the device to the list.
The second is ideal when you want to block a certain device with an identified MAC address from accessing your network, like your kid’s cell phone or the neighbor’s computer, when they try to connect to your Wi-Fi without authorization. Navigate to the MAC filter or MAC filtering option from the admin console to set up this option on your router.
Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) is a network architecture based on standardized communication protocols, designed to facilitate connectivity between networked devices. In most cases it automatically opens ports and more precisely configures each device and application that needs access to a Wi-Fi network, such as state-of-the-art videogame consoles, smart TVs and a range of different applications.
By enabling UPnP, which you can do by checking the Enable UPnP box in the UPnP advanced options menu, the router will provide the necessary resources to ensure that all networked devices automatically run smoothly simply by tapping in to the Wi-Fi network. However, in some cases an issue or conflict arises that may require you to configure certain details manually.