Why should it be so difficult to set up a router? And add an extra PC? Get help solving the issues in the TroubleTechTuna’s new series of the most annoying router issues.
Nowadays, it is imperative to have access to wireless broadband both at home and at work.
Nevertheless, the regular wireless gateway / router has not yet been developed to perfection.
Many routers offer great features, but most also contain cumbersome errors, such as a confusing setup or limited security.
We look at a number of the most annoying issues with routers – and come up with good recommendations for solving them.
The problem: How long does it typically take to set up a router? When did it ever succeed in the first attempt? What if you want to add an extra PC to the wireless network? And how do you connect the wireless printer to the network?
You might as well realize it: All networks are different and it is part of a task to find the right combination of settings.
Even relatively experienced PC users do not necessarily understand the difference between security settings, nor is it self-evident that they know that WPA-2 offers better protection than WEP and regular WPA.
It’s the kind that can help make any router setup an annoying experience for even experienced computer users.
Some routers, such as the Buffalo AirStation Wireless-N 300Mbps Cable Router WHR-HP-G300N, contain a packed multi-layered menu. It makes it difficult to navigate.
Others, such as the Netgear RangeMax Dual Band Wireless-N Gigabit Router WNDR3700, use a protected setup model that requires a wide range of instructions to add an extra PC to the network.
Possible solutions: Several vendors have tried to make things easier with ‘easy-setup’ CDs or one-click solutions, but there are still problems. Buffalo’s and Netgear’s setup instructions are extensive and tell exactly in what order to put everything before running the CD. (For example, cable modems must be turned on before connecting them to the router.)
This is of course good – but it also presupposes that you have read the instructions. And when did you last read the manual before putting on a new device?
Almost all routers have web-based configuration screens, and as long as you remember the device’s IP address, username and password (which one should change when the setup is complete), it should be possible to access the setup screen where You can make the necessary adjustments. Then just find out which adjustments are needed.
The Best Routers: The Cisco Valet M10, which is part of Cisco’s new Valet series, comes with a USB key with configuration software. Once you have set up a PC for the network, you can use the USB key to run the configurations on any PC or Mac (the key includes Mac software), without having to write down the wireless encryption key or other information.
Cisco has also made it much easier to set up other devices, such as a wireless printer, by offering an index screen with all the relevant information that can be printed and used when running the setup program via a USB key.
Buffalo offers a good diagnostic routine to check and see if the Internet is connected and whether the router is properly configured. It can be run via the web configuration console.
Apple’s AirPort Express is easy to set up and features great features, such as the ability to share USB printers and audio across the network to a connected stereo receiver. One can also extend the range of one’s existing AirPort base station, which can otherwise be difficult with many routers.
But if your PC comes with Windows, you must install Bonjour, and adding a new PC to the existing network is not particularly easy.