I recently needed to set up a new Wi-Fi network in our home, and was totally confused by all the settings and options. Is there a simpler way to set up a home Wi-Fi network?
Yes, the number of settings and options can seem totally daunting when you first try to set up your home Wi-Fi network. Whether you use a modem/Wi-Fi combination from your ISP, or you use a separate Wi-Fi router, every Wi-Fi vendor has made an attempt to simplify the process, with varying results. Some vendors require you to log into a specific Web address. Others ask you to insert a CD (although these are getting rarer, as fewer computers include CD/DVD drives these days). Either way, even the simplest software requires you to answer questions for which you may not have answers.
Although there’s no way around answering some of those questions, you can simplify the process a little—setting up the network, adding wireless devices, and configuring security can be made simpler through the use of WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup). Most modern Wi-Fi routers include a WPS button, allowing you to set up your network with just a push of the button (at least, that’s the goal—we’ve never actually set up a network this way, but that’s the promise, anyway).
Before you even consider WPS as a means of setting up your network, you should be aware that the technology WPS uses can be hacked, and therefore, if you live in a dense area, or are concerned about security (that is, you’re nervous about a dedicated hacker breaking into your network—a casual user wouldn’t be able to break in), you should consider not using WPS. On the other hand, in a less-dense area where it’s unlikely that a neighborhood hacker is going to try and break into your network, WPS should work fine.
Each Wi-Fi router implements WPS slightly differently, so you’ll need to investigate the documentation included with the router to determine how you can activate and use WPS. Doing so generally involves pressing the button, and then using the WPS feature on your devices to connect them to the network. Assuming that both the router and your devices support WPS, you should be all set.
To be honest, neither of us has ever used WPS, and probably never will. We’re happy to dig into the settings of the router, and find it generally pretty simple to supply a unique Wi-Fi SSID (the text string that identifies your Wi-Fi network to all devices attached to the network) and password. In addition, most routers supply tons of other options that you can modify, including things like the ability to limit access times, share devices, and more. On the other hand, for a quick and dirty setup, nothing beats WPS. For more information about WPS, check out this article: