How to Tell if Your Router Is Set Up Right

After setting up your router and your home wireless network, you should take some time to ensure everything is in working order. Make sure every computer connected to the network has a strong and stable network connection, and that applications requiring a network connection work properly. These steps will save you time and headaches later.

Connectivity

  • The first step in ensuring your router is working correctly is confirming that all computers on the network have a stable connection. Check for network connectivity and the strength of the signal if the computer is connected to the router via Wi-Fi. If an Internet modem is connected to the router, open a Web browser and load a Web page on each computer. Make sure everything loads properly and without significant delays. If you are experiencing slow loading times or poor signal strength, check for kinks in the cable and/or proper connections on wired networks; also, limit obstructions between the router and the connected computer on a wireless connection.

Application Testing

  • Incorrect router settings may also cause trouble. Some applications require certain ports to be open in order to operate, so it’s a good idea to test applications that use the network for connectivity. For example, Skype requires outgoing TCP ports above 1024, and ports 80 and 443 to be open. If they’re not, Skype does not function properly. Consult the help documents for applications that appear to be malfunctioning to check if any additional settings need to be changed on the router in order to ensure proper operation.

File Sharing

  • Make sure that each computer has file-sharing functionality enabled if you want to use the network to share files. If not, other computers on the network will not be able to connect to your shared folders and files. On Mac computers, click the Apple Menu, then “System Preferences,” and then “File Sharing.” On Windows 8 computers, click go to “Settings,” then click the “Network” icon. Right-click on the network you’re connected to, then click “Turn sharing on or off.” Choose “Yes, turn on sharing and connect to devices.”

Network Setup Considerations

  • If connection problems seem to be your biggest issue, you will need to rethink your network setup. The range of wireless routers is highly dependent on the placement of the router itself and any obstructions, including the construction of your house — for example, metal walls significantly decrease range. Consider placing the router in a central location that gives all computers at least good signal strength. If you have a wired network, place the wires in areas where the cable will not be kinked or bent at a hard angle. This can disrupt the flow of data through the cable.
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