Broadband routers support many settings for home networks. Among the available options and parameters, router administrators work with certain settings regularly and rarely, if ever, with others. Knowing these router settings is essential if you plan to install and maintain a home network.
Basic Wireless Network Settings for Routers
A router uses standard default values for Wi-Fi wireless radio settings. Wi-Fi mode controls which variations of possible wireless protocols a router supports. For example, an 802.11g-capable router can be configured to disable any backward compatibility support for 802.11b to improve performance or reliability or to enable proprietary speed boost or extended range features.
By default, these options are turned off. Wi-Fi mode is controlled by one or multiple settings, depending on the router model.
The Wi-Fi channel number is the frequency band a wireless router uses for radio communication. Standard Wi-Fi channel numbers in the U.S. and other countries range between 1 and 11. Broadband routers typically default to channels 1, 6, or 11, but you can change this setting to work around signal interference issues.
Wireless devices find and identify a router by its service set identifier (SSID), sometimes called Router Name or Wireless Network Name on consoles. Routers are preconfigured with a generic SSID, for example, wireless, or the name of a vendor.
Change the SSID to avoid conflicts with other wireless networks and to enhance security.
Internet Connection Settings for Routers
All broadband routers support a group of settings that configure a home internet connection through an attached or built-in broadband modem. The specific names of these settings as shown on an administrator console vary among router models.
Internet Connection Type
Home routers support popular types of broadband internet service. Most routers provide a list of internet connection types and require an administrator to select the one that applies to the network.
Most types of connections listed in the router menu are named according to the underlying internet network protocol technology rather than the name of the service provider company. Typical internet connection types on a router include dynamic IP (DHCP), static IP, PPPoE, PPTP, and L2TP.
Internet Username and Password
Some internet providers, including those for digital subscriber line (DSL), issue account names and passwords to subscribers. Subscribers enter these settings into the router console so the router can support the modem.
The maximum transmission unit (MTU) setting refers to the largest number of bytes contained in a single physical unit of network traffic. Routers set this value to a default number such as 1400, 1460, 1492, or 1500 to match the standard values for a given internet connection type.
In some cases, however, the internet provider's network requires a different number. Using a mismatched value causes technical difficulties including timeouts when accessing websites. Set this number according to the service provider's directions.
Security Settings for Home Network Routers
Change the router administrator password immediately, because default values (such as admin and password) of all models are well-known to hackers.
In wireless networking, the Wi-Fi security mode and Wi-Fi encryption and authentication settings ensure proper protection of data and connections against hackers and unauthorized users. Depending on the security mode (for example, WPA), additional settings for wireless keys and passphrases apply.