A broadband account, whether it is a DSL modem or a Cable modem, usually only gives you one IP address, so only one machine can go on the internet.
The answer is to get a router. A router takes the single WAN IP address that the Internet service provider (cable or phone company) gives you, and creates an internal network for your house, with your own internal IP addresses. It then allows all of the computers and smartphones in your network to share the single connection provided by the internet provider.
Almost all modern routers have four ethernet network jacks built in (4 port switch) and virtually all of them have WiFi Wireless Internet for WiFi equipped laptops, tablets, smart TVs, media streaming boxes, printers and smart phones.
When you set up a router, you need to set up some security. You don’t want neighbors and passers-by to be able to hook up to your internal network. It is important that you choose WPA or WPA2 as the wireless security method, and enter a strong password – one with a combination of letters and numbers, at least 10 characters long, and not any easily guessable words (like your street address or name). Write this password down, it will be needed by every device that connects wirelessly in your household.
Your choice of security setting depends on what your household devices are compatible with. Older game consoles use WEP security, which is very weak and will lower the security of your whole network. Avoid using WEP if at all possible.
You also want to establish security on the router itself, by setting an administrative password, turning off remote administration, and disabling SSID broadcasting. Refer to the owners manual of the router for instructions, and write these passwords and settings down for future reference.
Once you have the router installed, once it it powered off and on again it should automatically pick up the Internet settings from the broadband modem. In a few cases, the ISP may have to provision the account for the router, contact the ISP if you have any problems.
The router should be set to serve DHCP (automatic address settings) so each of your devices can be set to DHCP or “Get Settings Automatically”, so when your machine connects with the router, it will ask the router for the appropriate settings. The router will assign an IP address to each device in turn, within the internal network range of IP addresses, it could look something like 192.168.0.2, 192.168.0.3 etc.
The base internal IP address of the router is set by default, and can vary by brand. It should be noted on the bottom of the router or in the user manual. For example, the router may have a base address of 192.168.0.1 If you are setting up the Network settings of a machine manually, then this is the number to use as the “Default Gateway” or router address. The IP addresses of the devices in the network would then need to fall into the same range of 192.168.0.xxx with each device having a unique number in place of the xxx from 2 to 255.
A router provides a basic level of security by insulating your machine from the open internet with NAT (Network Address Translation) and through the administrative interface of the router you can block certain types of incoming traffic, but you still do need to have ant virus and firewall software active on each machine.
Setting an administrative password – instructions for the most popular brands of routers
Remember to set an administrative username and password immediately, so it canâ€™t be hacked:
Note: some DSL modems have to be provisioned for the device that is connected, so you may have to call your ISP to set the modem up for your router.