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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

1611. Using WPS to Configure a Wireless Network Painlessly

I recently purchased a new wireless router, and have no idea how to set up my own wireless network. I have neighbors close by, so I need some sort of security (I don’t want them freeloading on my Internet connection), and I have multiple computers, mobile devices, wireless printers, and other devices to add to the wireless network. Is there some easy way to make this happen?
Setting up the network isn’t really the problem—if you’re not terribly worried about the specific password and SSID (that is, the network name), you can simply plug in the new wireless router and let it “do its thing.” It will provide a default SSID and password; given the documentation for the device, you can simply enter that information into each wireless client device (laptop, mobile phone, tablet, and so on) and everyone should be connected and happy.
You can, of course, follow the instructions that come with your wireless router to change the SSID and/or password, and most likely, you should: It’s really easy to find the default passwords for all of the standard wireless routers with a simple online search, and an intrepid neighbor could quickly log into your router and make changes to your settings (and lock you out) unless you do. (Ken admits to having logged into a public wireless router that was misbehaving at one point, given the easy-to-find default password, and fixing some settings surreptitiously, in his younger days.) Best to take a few moments and set up a non-default SSID and password for your new wireless router: Ask for help from a friend or professional if you don’t care to dig into it yourself.

But back to the original question: How to set up wireless clients in a simple way. Normally, you have to manually enter the SSID and password for your wireless network on each device that you wish to connect to the network. There is an easier way, for most modern wireless routers. Take a moment and look at your wireless router. Most likely, you’ll find a small round button labelled WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup). To use this simplified method of adding devices to your network, start by pressing the WPS button. This action allows the router to automatically discover new devices. Then, go to each device you want to add to the network, start following the steps particular to that device to add it to the wireless network, and allow the magic of WPS to automatically configure the wireless network’s password. (This is also a great way to add guests to your wireless network without having to explicitly tell them your wireless network password, in case you’re worried about security—of course, in that case, one must wonder why they’re a guest at your home, but that’s a different story.)

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