The computer industry has worked hard to make sure that a lot of the gadgets we use are mostly plug-and-play. In other words, you just fire up the device, login and you're ready to go--no configuration necessary. One device you should never consider "plug-and-play," however, is your home's network and wireless router.
After the technician leaves your house there are a few important things everyone should do.
Log in to your router and change the admin details
The first thing you should always do when you have a new router is log into its control panel. You want to do this so you understand where to change the Wi-Fi access password, change the type of security protocol your router is using, change the router name, et cetera. Most importantly, however, you need to login to your router so you can change the admin name and password.
Alas, some routers won't let you change the admin user name, but changing the admin password is the crucial part. If you don't do this and a bad actor is able to get onto your home network, they can easily log in to your control panel and own your router using the device's default settings.
You don't want that.
If you don't know how to login to your router check the manual that came with it, ask your Internet service provider, or try to find a user manual for your model online.
Now that you've logged in to your router, it's time to make sure you are using WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access II) as the encryption standard for connecting to your router.
Right now, WPA2 is considered the best way to secure your router connection. This standard works by encrypting all traffic between devices and the router, making it much harder for anyone to nab your data as it travels through the air.
One thing you'll also want to do is make sure that Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) is disabled. This feature allows a weakness in your router that could be exploited by a determined attacker.
Your router's encryption protocol settings are often found under the Security heading or something similar.
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.