Need to know about WiFi routers

What you need to know about WiFi routers and related matters

WiFi routers - Back view of an Asus dual band router with 8 Gigabit LAN ports

WiFi routers – Back view of an Asus dual-band router with 8 Gigabit LAN ports. Click on the image to view its full size

This article summarizes the information that a video provides on this subject –  a need-to-know video about WiFi routers and related matters by the PC technician Carey Holzman. That video, a link to which appears at the end of the article, is 2 hours 45 minutes long, .

Dual-band routers

Mote that dual-band routers can broadcast on both the 2.4GHz and 5.0 GHz bands, but they cannot swap between them in order to broadcast the best signal. What they do is make it possible for client network adapters on computers that support either or both of the bands to receive broadcasts. For example, some older network adapters on laptops might only support the 2.4GHz band, so they will be able to receive a signal as well as laptops set to use the 5.0GHz band.

Dual-Band Wireless Networking Explained –

https://www.lifewire.com/dual-band-wireless-networking-explained-818279

WiFi routers – Changing WiFi password and SSID

When you receive a new router of your own or from your Internet Service Provider (ISP), before putting it into service to create a wireless network, you should change the WiFi password. The router configuration settings is where you make changes. You should also change the SSID – the Network Name shown in image below – that identifies your router to a name that you recognize. When your computer system searches for WiFi connections, the list that comes up contains the SSIDs of routers within range of yours. Some of them might have similar names because they come from the same ISP. Therefore, it’s a good idea to make the SSID easy to identify. For example, I call my wireless network HackersSuck. I only use WiFi to synchronize my Kindle with book downloads from my PC. For better security and a faster connection, I use an Ethernet cable to connect to my router.

WiFi routers – How to access a configuration settings’ webpage

The access username and password to access the router’s configuration settings usually appear on the back of the router. As does the Internet IP address  (e.g., 192.168.1.1) that you enter, as is, into your web browser in order to bring up the router’s settings’ webpage. The router’s login information – username and password – usually cannot be changed on routers that ISPs provide (EE, Plusnet, BT, etc.). No doubt because ISPs do not want users forgetting the password and locking themselves out of the router, etc.). Therefore, anyone with access to that information will be able to access the router’s settings and change them, such as the WiFi password and enable the WPS setting that allows wireless devices to join the network by pressing the WPS button on the router. Anyone who knows the WiFi password and the wireless network’s SSID can find and then log into it.

Don’t change the broadband connection’s username and password

The broadband username and password is preset and is what logs an ISP-supplied router into the Internet, so never change it. If you do, your connection won’t work. If you want to use a router of your own – made by Asus, TP-Link, etc. – you’ll need to know that information in order to establish a broadband connection to the web.

WiFi routers - Router security and WPS settings

WiFi routers –  Security and WPS settings. Click on the image to view its full size.

Read the following post on the website that provides further information.

Make a WiFi router secure against hackers –

https://www.pcbuyerbeware.co.uk/blog/make-wifi-router-secure-against-hackers/

WiFi routers – Changing channels on the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies can fix slow connections and dropout problems

The 2.4GHz frequency provides 11 channels – 1 to 11 – but only using channel 1, 6 and 11 makes any difference to congestion. Moreover, the congestion occurs because most routers come preset to use Channel 6. The more users using Channel 6, the slower the connection and the greater the likelihood of dropped connections. Consequently, usually just by choosing Channel 1 or 11 on the router’s configuration webpage fixes those issues.

Note that the 5GHz frequency provides its own channels that are set separately. There are four Bands available on the 5GHz band, each containing a number of WiFi channels, which don’t overlap as they do on the 2.4GHz band. Dual-band routers can use both frequencies, one or the other, but cannot switch between them automatically. The 5GHz frequency is faster than the 2.4Ghz frequency but has a shorter range and, being newer, is much less congested.

What’s the Difference Between 2.4 and 5GHz Wi-Fi (and Which Should I Use)? –

https://www.howtogeek.com/222249/whats-the-difference-between-2.4-ghz-and-5-ghz-wi-fi-and-which-should-you-use/

For more information on this topic, click the following link.

How to Find the Best WiFi Channel for 5GHz Frequency –

https://www.maketecheasier.com/best-wifi-channel-for-5ghz-frequency/

WiFi routers – Hardware and software firewalls

A router that connects to network devices by Ethernet cable or wirelessly, provides a hardware firewall that protects your network from illicit intrusions from the Internet. A software firewall running on computer systems does the same but not as reliably. That said, the router’s firewall, plus the Windows software firewall that Windows enables by default, provides all of the intrusion protection that a home user should have.

Cable modems

Cable modems provide high-speed cable broadband Internet connections. Most cable modems do not have a built-in router. You can connect a cable modem directly to a desktop or laptop computer that has a Network Interface Card (NIC). An Ethernet cable makes the connection,. If the computer has an Ethernet port, then you can connect a cable modem directly to the computer. However, the best option from a security point of view is to connect the cable modem to a router that has a built-in hardware firewall and then connect the router by Ethernet cable to the computer.

Cable modem – https://www.computerhope.com/jargon/c/cablemod.htm

EnGenius Outdoor Access Points and Powerline adapter networks

In the video (link at the end of this article), Carey Holzman provides information on weatherproof outdoor EnGenius WiFi Access Points that provide a WiFi connection to outside areas.They don’t require a separate power cable because they use Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) network cables. For your information, an IPS rating is a measure of how weatherproof a device is.

He also touches on Powerline (HomePlug) networks that use the electrical wiring in a building to create a network. The adapters that plug into the mains sockets come in pairs. One adapter connects to the main computer by Ethernet cable. The other adapter plugs into a mains socket elsewhere in the building that connects by Ethernet cable to other devices on the network that it brings into being. Some Powerline (HomePlug) adapters can also provide Wi-Fi connections.

Turn an old router into an Access Point

It is easy to turn an old router into an Access Point that extends the range of the network. The following video also shows how to access a router’s configuration settings. You can connect the second router to a Powerline (HomePlug) adapter. Note that the configuration settings provide the same settings but differ in how they are accessed between router manufacturers.

How To Connect Two Routers On One Home Network Using A Lan Cable Stock Router Netgear/TP-Link –

Note that if you plug a Powerline adapter into a surge protector, it will not work. Always plug them directly into the mains supply.

Networking: Cabled Ethernet/Powerline and wireless Wi-Fi home networks  –

https://www.pcbuyerbeware.co.uk/hardware/wired-and-wireless-networking/

WiFi routers – Tips

USB 3.0 Wi-Fi adapters/dongles

If the WiFi adapter on a laptop PC fails, don’t waste your money getting it repaired. Instead, buy an inexpensive USB 3.00 WiFI adapter/dongle. Have a look at them on Amazon. It will probably use a later and better 802.11 WiFi standard, such as 802.11ac. Moreover, you can also use it on any desktop PC that has a USB 3.0 port. If a desktop PC’s WiFi card fails, a dongle is a handy replacement. Some of them even come with an antenna. You can also attach a dongle to a USB cable in order to lengthen and optimize its placement.

Customize the router’s DNS server

The Domain Name System (DNS) translates the domain names of websites into the IP addresses that the web uses. The IP address of this website is 95.142.155.121. Entering it into a web browser brings up my website, just as entering its domain name – pcbuyerbeware.co.uk – does. But no one can remember IP addresses, so the DNS system translates the memorable domain name into its IP address. Every device connected to the Internet must also have an IP address. Currently, my computer’s IP address is 2.35.0.316.

Your ISP provides your connection with its DNS server. However, you can use DNS servers that provide extra security protections to your connection. For example, if you try to access a website known to be fraudulent, you will receive a warning from the DNS server. The most popular free one is OpenDNS. The router’s configuration settings have an option that allows you to let your ISP provide the DNS server or you can enter the IP addresses of an alternative, such as OpenDNS. The two IP addresses for OpenDNS are 208.67.222.222 and 208.67.220.220. Those addresses are on the OpenDNS website. – https://www.opendns.com/

WPA2/WPA3 encryption security and standalone routers that Carey Holzman recommends

A router that uses the 802.11ac WiFi standard is well-worth having. If configuring  a router you bought yourself, you should choose the WPA2 encryption option. If WPA3 is available, choose it. In January 2018, the Wi-Fi Alliance announced WPA3 as a replacement for WPA2. I got a new router from my ISP in January 2020, which only provides WPA2.

Holzman recommends routers that Asus and TP-Link manufacture. He avoids Linksys, Netgear and Bekin routers.

Amazon eero standalone router

Here is a link to the Amazon eero standalone router that comes in pack versions that extend WiFi through a house depending on how large the house is.The larger the area to cover the more expensive a pack is. It can be set up by using a smartphone app. Professional installation is available.

Introducing Amazon eero mesh Wi-Fi router/extender –

https://www.amazon.co.uk/eero-mesh-wi-fi-router-extender/dp/B07WGJ9S9S/

Range of the router

The range of a router depends on the strength of its signal and the environment it is operating in. What is surrounding it – the kind of walls (Victorian buildings have much thicker, less penetrable walls than modern buildings), other buildings and plants within its range. WiFi devices must obviously themselves have a signal strength that can connect with a router.

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)

Holzman discusses VPNs from 1 hour 55 minutes to 2 hours 7 minutes into the video . For more information on VPNs, visit the following link to an article on this website.

Does using a VPN protect privacy? –

https://www.pcbuyerbeware.co.uk/blog/using-vpn-protect-privacy/

How to increase the number of Ethernet ports that a router provides

Holzman uses more than the 4 Ethernet ports that most routers provide. It is possible to buy a router that provides 8 ports. His Asus router provides 8 ports. Alternatively, connect a switch with its own 4 Ethernet ports to 1 of the 4 ports on a standard router.

MIMO – Miltiple-Input-Multiple-Output

MIMO is technology that employs multiple transmission and receiving antennas in order to increase WiFi performance levels.The technology is now common in 802.11n and 802.11ac broadband routers

What Is Multiple-In-Multiple-Out (MIMO) Technology? –

https://www.lifewire.com/mimo-wifi-routers-818332

Travel routers

For some reason, Holzman does not mention travel routers, Using one is an excellent way of providing the same level of security that a home router provides when you make use of the WiFi in a hotel or in public places. Due to the possibility  of monitoring, I would never use my credit card or bank from a hotel’s or hotspot’s WiFi.

The Best Travel Routers For Any Situation –

https://www.reviewgeek.com/2877/the-best-travel-routers-for-any-situation/

Resetting a router

If for some reason you need to reset a router, switch it off or pull its main plug out. Wait for about 10 minutes so that any capacitors can discharge. That way retains its settings. Never poke a pin into the small hole with Reset written under it, because doing that resets the router to its factory state. That is, removes its settings, which you will have to re-enter manually to get it working again.

Carey Holzman video

All about WiFi [2017] – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BVcluRCWIbY