Sunday, February 21, 2010

Configuring the NetGear DG834Gv5 wireless router

Wireless router configuration is simple and straight forward in most cases. It's only a few strange brands that have overly complicated web configuration software and procedures that are the headache. It's generally a good idea to avoid those since they also tend to be problematic.

As for the NetGear DG834Gv5 router, things are mostly simple. The main thing to keep in mind is that the router has a "old man" syndrome where it occasionally forgets everything and resets itself for no apparent reason. This might be firmware related since I haven't experienced it since v1.6.01.34 so you might want to try it out.

Login

Most routers use 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.1.1 as its IP so you'll want to start by navigating to the correct address from your browser. There's also the odd browser that uses 10.0.0.2 or some other IP schemes that you can check from its quick setup manual. Unconfigured routers will not be accessible wirelessly so be sure to connect using a network cable for configuration purposes. Most routers disallow wireless configuration anyway for security reasons.

Underneath the DG834Gv5 are the default settings for the router. Router IP address, default username and password. It's all written there. For reference, it's 192.168.0.1 with the username "admin", and password simply "password".


You'll be prompted to enter the username and password to the router. The quick setup manual will also state the defaults you'll need to use for first time configuration purposes. Be sure to change this as part of your configuration process. More on this later.

Basic setup


First time logins will usually bring you to the router's setup wizard. The wizard basically asks you some basic questions and does the essential configuration for you. In most cases, this is enough but some routers don't get this right so if yours doesn't then you'll need to do things "manually". Be sure to click the "Apply" button on each configuration page once you've made any changes or they'll not be saved.

Head over to "Basic Settings" listed on the left navigation pane.


You'll need to set connection type to PPPoE, and key in your Internet account username and password in the provided fields. The rest can usually be left as defaults. The NetGear lists connection type as "encapsulation". Different routers may use different terms so find something that lets you choose between PPPoE, PPPoA, LAN, etc...


Next, head over to ADSL settings and set VPI to 0 and VCI to 35, if they're not already set that way. For most routers, it's already correctly set and can be left alone.

Setting up the timezone


This is something that even experienced people sometimes forget. If your router isn't set to the correct timezone then your router may not be able to connect to the ISP's server due to incorrect time. Be sure to set it to your timezone. Mine is GMT+8 so that's what's shown here.

Changing the password


It's a good idea to change the default password of your router for security reasons. While it's not strictly needed for wired-only setups, if you connect to your router wirelessly it's definitely a necessity to prevent intrusion, accidental or otherwise.

If you don't need wireless access then this is basically all the setting there is. You're done.

Wireless configuration


The last thing you'll need to setup will be wireless on your router. Here, the least you'll need is to set SSID (Wireless network name), region, and wireless security. Simply choose a name that is unique and easily identifiable for your SSID, you'll need to set this on each and every computer that needs to connect wirelessly to the router as well, so short and sweet is good.

Region is mainly to set your default wireless channel. Simply set it to your region (Asia in my case) and that's generally it. You can also opt to select a different channel than the default to prevent overloading a frequency, especially if you've got a lot of neighbors using wireless but that's questionable. You neighbor may have done the same for the same reasons and coincidentally selected the same channel as you, after all.

Wireless security is a bit more tricky. There's generally 2 schemes for home users but that doesn't mean the routers will make your life easy. Just look at the schemes listed in the screenshot I made of my NetGear router.

A lot also depends on the wireless hardware of computers that will be connecting to your router. It's no use setting WPA if your computer's wireless only supports WEP, for example. Specific configuration like security keys also depends on the scheme selected so you'll need to read up on those elsewhere or read your manual for more info. I'll not be covering those in detail here.

Generally though, most wireless devices nowadays support at least WPA so selecting WPA or WPA + WPA2 should work in most cases. For your security key, WPA allows pass phrases so typing a simple phrase is usually enough for a start. Afterwards, you'll need to key in the SSID and WPA key in each and every computer that connects to your router to gain access. Yes, security is that troublesome.

That's about it. Router configuration isn't too hard once you focus on the essentials. Most people tend to confuse themselves by thinking that they need to set every single thing in there but really it's just a matter of finding the minimum setting changes you need to make to get things to work.

Related posts:

A brief look: NetGear DG834Gv5
How to setup wireless in Ubuntu