Basic modem/router setup and what you should change

The ZTE modem/router supplied is pre-configured to connect to the Internet and setup a Wifi network at home.

We recently changed our Internet Service Provider (ISP) to switch to a better value plan with National Broadband Network (NBN). A modem/router was supplied by the ISP as part of the new plan. This was pre-configured to connect to the Internet and establish a Wifi network without needing to change any settings.

It is common practice to receive a modem/router from your ISP pre-configured which makes setup quick and easy. Despite this my wife still wanted my help with it so you are not alone if you still find this daunting. She also said my last post about UTMs was too technical for most people and I should simplify things to make it more helpful.

Anyway the settings for the Wifi network are printed on the back of the modem/router as is the case for most models – look underneath if these are not obvious. This included the network names (or SSID) for the 2.4GHz band and the 5GHz band along with the password to login to the wireless. In this case the sticker simply said security rather than password.

The main difference between the two bands is 2.4GHz has slightly longer range buy may be slower and 5GHz is shorter range and will usually be faster. Some older devices may not display or be able to connect to the 5GHz band. You will usually want to connect your device to the 5GHz band if you are able to.

The grey DSL port on the modem should be connected to the phone socket using the phone cable supplied if you are connecting over a phone line rather than direct Internet connection.

It was quick and simple to setup. First we needed to connect the DSL socket of the modem (this is the grey port on the left) into the phone line using the grey phone cable supplied. Then after we turned it on, it connected to the Internet and broadcast the WiFi signal for both bands. To connect we just needed to select the SSID from the Wifi setting on our phone or computer and we had access to the Internet.

Of course there are a few basic settings that you should consider changing. The instructions for the modem included how to login which was to enter the URL in a web browser which is typically something like http://192.168.1.1. This presents a login screen and in this case the user name was admin and the password admin. This password should be changed immediately to something secure that will be remembered.

The other settings that you should consider changing immediately are the default network names and passwords which are printed on the router. Anyone with access to the router can use these to login to your network. I suggest you use something that is unique but does not identify you by name or address such as mynewnetwork2G and myothernetwork5G. Please make sure you remember the new network passwords.

Changing the admin password and the network names and passwords is are the most important first steps in securing your home network. You should also ensure that auto update is turned on for your router software and consider disabling WPS if there is an option to do this. Next you can look into the security features of your router’s firmware. In most cases I would recommend using an alternative router to those supplied by ISPs but you may not want or need to do this.

Published by Adrian Bugg

I am an experienced leader of innovation through data and analytics for digital transformation, small business owner, and father of four children. I want to share my expertise and experience to help others in their workplace, at home and in their daily lives.

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