Chances are, you have a router running your network at home or at the office, but at the same time, you probably have no idea what your router wants when it asks for different Wi-Fi settings, NAT, and encryption data. This guide will help you understand the basics when it comes to your router and the different terminology that it talks about in its setup.

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Terminology

There are a few terms that you should know:

NAT: NAT stands for Network Address Translation. It relates to the IP sharing functionality. It is the feature in the modem that controls data packets coming in and sends them to the correct device that requests the data.

DHCP: Dynamic Host Configuration. DHCP controls how each new device that connects to your modem is assigned an IP address. Without DHCP, you would need to assign an address for each new device that connects to the router. It is basically the feature that makes all our lives easier.

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Wireless Settings

There are a few things you need to know about the Wi-Fi settings on your router and how they all tie into the setup and functionality of your devices.

 

Interface Type refers to the band waves in which your router functions. You will often see 802.11 b/g/n, this is actually the technical term for Wi-Fi, and the b/g/n are the different variations of speeds and waves which the Wi-Fi works on. b and g are old waves which support the speed of 150mb. Keep in mind that this does not mean that your internet speed is 150mb, it just means the transfer rate is up to 150mb, which is actually around 10mb in real time. n on the other hand is a better Wi-Fi setting as it reaches speeds of 300mb per second, and it also has a better signal range than b/g.

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Then we get our GHz frequency which ties into your b/g/n setup. b and g are older settings which will slowly be phased out soon, and they run at 2.4GHz, a slower frequency than n which runs on 5GHz.

If you have a router, you would want it to be set to n to get the most out of your connection. There are very few devices around that actually support b/g anymore, so chances are, you will not have any issues in that field. When purchasing a new router, you should always try and go for a 5GHz model. This will have far better reach in signal, and a faster rate too. All this means is the following

  • 802.11b – 11 Mbit/s = 1 – 5 Mbit/s transfer rate
  • 802.11g – 54 Mbit/s  = 22 Mbit/s transfer rate
  • 802.11n – 300 Mbit/s = 100-150 Mbit/s transfer rate

It would be ideal to run off 802.11n, but many routers run at a mixed mode called MIMO (Multiple-Input Multiple-output) to make up for mixed devices that support different version of Wi-Fi. This is not an issue as it allows for a mix of speed depending on what you are using at the time.

Wireless Security

Wireless security is the most important thing about any router. It is what keeps you safe and your bandwidth secure from imposters (your neighbours). Here are a few tips to get the most out of your modem’s wireless security.

Always use WPA 2 (Personal Protected Access 2)

WPA is the best when it comes to protection. It has the strongest encryption out of all the security settings such as WEP and WPA. It allows you to have a password between 8 and 63 characters long, so you can make it all your kid’s names and y0ur home address all in one.

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Disable WPS button

Although the WPS button helps by making connecting to your modem much faster by just pressing a button. It is not the most ideal method of connecting. I recommend disabling the button altogether and rather use the traditional password method. This is because hackers have found that cracking the WPS protocol is much easier than traditional encryption. It uses an 8 digit pin that is transferred across the Wi-Fi to your device and back. In order to crack it, hackers would only need the first 4 digits to be accessible, therefore leaving your modem open to hackers.

So there you have understanding the basics of your router’s Wi-Fi settings. Remember to change your password every 2 months or so and keep it safe at all times.

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