Home WiFi network setup

How to Set up a Home or Small Office WiFi Network

Do you want to set up a WiFi in your home or small office but you don’t have the budget to hire a network technician? In this article, I would be explaining the process of setting up a WiFi network for your home or small office.

Setting up a simple home or small office WiFi network is easy to do, and the configuration can be done within minutes.

Why set up a home or office WiFi network?

  • You set up a home or office WiFi network so you and family or friends, and office staff can easily connect to the network and access the internet.
  • So you and the members of your family or friends, and office staff can connect to the network and watch online TV, or play online games, monitor online resources, share printer or files, access other smart-resources like Alexa, smart locks, Sono theatres, and many more.
  • WiFi network allows you to extend your existing network so it can be accessed from every corner of your home or office. Especially to that favourite corner of yours where you like to stay and work or relax.
  • Lastly but not the lease, so you can effectively manage internet subscription cost. It is far cheaper to share a single internet subscription plan than having multiple internet plans for every member of your family or office staff if they would be living or working from the place.

Things to Consider Before You Purchase Devices For a Home/Office WiFi Setup

  1. The size of your home or the area you want to have WiFi access. A small home may only require one WiFi device to cover every part of the home if positioned properly, and if interference such as wall thickness, furniture fittings, book shelve that would prevent wider WiFi signal is minimal.
  2. Internet Service Provider (ISP). The ISP that you choose must have adequate network coverage in your home or office location (You can contact your chosen ISP and find out). The ISP would provide you with a modem – either wired or wireless that you will use to set up your WiFi network. Choose a subscription plan that suits your requirement and budget.

Setting Up Your WiFi Network – Things You Need

Modem – Router – Computer. Image credit – Cisco

The items you need to set up your home / small office WiFi depends on the size of your home or office. They include:

  • Modem – wired or wireless modem. A modem is equipment that your ISP provides for you to connect to and access the internet. It could be wireless which broadcasts a wireless signal or wired -where you can only connect a network cable through to a computer or router.
  • Network cable
  • Wireless Network router: A router directs the flow of communication and exchange of data in a network. A router provides security through a firewall and helps you filter-off unwanted content (parental control feature also). It also helps to protect your network-connected devices from attack, which it does by helping to prevent unauthorized user access. Wireless routers have ports where you can connect the modem and few other network devices like access points and network attached storage (NAS).
  • Wireless Access Point: This network device helps you to extend the network coverage to the area where the WiFi network did not cover. You can also use a wireless access point to convert a wired network to a wireless network.

Note: Ensure to know how many network ports the modem/router has and if that would be enough for the devices you have, should you want to connect them to the router via cable.

Methods in Setting Up Your WiFi Network

Method 1 – Using a wireless modem (router) provided by ISP

Many ISPs offer a Wireless router modem. These types of modems are kind-of all-in-one WiFi devices; they provide a wireless signal, offer some basic protection and give you access to the internet. You may not need to purchase any other network device to set up a WiFi network if the wireless router modem provided by your ISP offers wireless signal coverage at every corner of your home or office location.

To set up this wireless router modem, choose a central location in your home or small office and plug it to a power supply. They are mostly plug-and-play.

You can modify the settings of this wireless router to make your WiFi more private or reflect what you want – such as the WiFi name and visibility. To do this, first obtain login info, – that is username and password of the wireless router modem – from your ISP (this information is usually provided with the device).

Open an internet browser and type your network IP address on the address bar. Enter the username and password provided by the ISP.

Go to WiFi settings and change the SSID to whatever name you want for WiFi. The SSID is the WiFi name that shows on the list of available WiFi networks on your computer or mobile device.

The wiFi key is your WiFi password. You can change it.

You do not have to change a lot of other settings as the router has already been configured by your ISP to best work with their own network settings. However, you can configure some features – depending on the type of router provided – to serve your purpose.

One more important setting to change in your wireless router-modem is the login password to your device. By practice, all new modem-routers come with their default login settings, and it is recommended that every user change the system login password. The system password is located on the system settings. The location for system password settings differs between devices and manufacturers.

You can connect a wireless printer, smart TV or game console to the network or via a cable to the network port of the router.

Note: Most routers provided by ISP’s have basic security settings and routing features.

You may be interested to read: How to Find the IP Address of Your Computer

Method 2 – Installing Own Router and Access Point
Configuring a Cisco router

This method is necessary when you are setting up a WiFi network for home or office that has a larger space and corners. It is also recommended you use this setup method when you want higher security or more WiFi management features.

In the case of a home or office that has a large area or corners, a single WiFi router may not be enough to provide WiFi signal to required areas. It is then necessary you extend the signal to all required areas.

To set up a WiFi network in this kind of situation, place your router at the centre of a section of your home/office and plug it to a power supply. Plug in a network cable (a network cable is usually provided with the new router) to the Ethernet port of your router (setup instruction manual is usually included in router package box), and attach the other end of the cable to your computer.

Open a browser on your computer, then follow login instructions on the manual.

Type in the router IP address into the browser address bar and hit enter. Type in the username and password to login to the router interface. Most SoHo routers provide a setup wizard that would guide an individual through the setup processes. This actually makes it very easy to set up a WiFi network.

Follow the wizard and enter the required details. The most important details are:

In Basic Settings, Internet connection type – Choose Automatic configuration when you are connecting a modem provided by your ISP, or enter the IP configuration details provided by your ISP.

(Many routers provide explanations of configuration items on the router interface. You can find these in the help section.)

Take note of your Router IP address, and enable DHCP so that devices can automatically connect to the network without requiring IP address configuration.To set up the wireless settings, choose Wireless – Basic Wireless Settings. Name your network (SSID) and enable SSID broadcast.

For wireless security, select WPA2 Personal for security mode, TKIP or AES for encryption, and enter your WiFi password under passphrase. This becomes your WiFi password.

You can also block some websites or keywords from being accessed through your WiFi network or restrict internet access within specific days and time. These you can do from the Access Restriction page on the interface.

To change your router login password, go to Administration – Management – Router access

Now, ensure that the WiFi signal is received in every corner of that section. Check to observe where the signal does not get to and mark that area as where you will install a new wireless access point.

There are different types of WiFi access points. A repeater type of access point is what you need. A repeater picks an existing signal from a wireless router or another access point and rebroadcasts the signal.

Cisco Linksys router or TPLink router would just be enough for your home or small office WiFi network.

Access Point Setup

To install an access point to serve as a WiFi extender, identify the area in your home or office the WiFi signal does not get to. Plug in a WiFi extender or access point to a power source around this location.

TP-Link’s TL-WA801ND, 300Mbps Wireless N Access Point is a good and affordable WiFi extender that I use for home or small office WiFi setup. If you require to extend the WiFi signal over a wider location within your home, you may consider TP-Link’s RE305AC1200 WiFi Range Extender. Please note that there are many different WiFi products as well as manufacturers. They all provide almost similar features. Choose the one that suits your purpose and budget.

Setting up the Access Point

You can choose to set up your access point or WiFi extender through the setup wizard or manually.

Setting up an access point or WiFi extender has the same process as a WiFi router, only that access point requires you to configure just a few things. The most important information to provide while setting up your WiFi extender is the WiFi SSID and password. I recommend you name your extender’s SSID the same as you named your router. Give all your access points and router same SSID name and WiFi password. Secure your access point by changing the default system login password.

Let me know in the comment section what you do not get clear or if you need further assistant setting up a wireless home or office WiFi network.

Read: How to Setup Google Text-To-Speech to Read for You

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Article written by Ifeanyi Okey

Ifeanyi creates content that help individuals develop their tech skills and be more resourceful and productive in their businesses. He's a web Designer and a WordPress Technical Expert.

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