With falling prices and simpler user interfaces, it's now easier than ever to set up your own home network with a Cisco router. Manipulating your router's features can seem difficult at first glance, though. A standard router user interface might have countless menus and submenus, and figuring out where to start can be tough. Knowing how to manipulate a few common features, however, allows you to get the most use from your Cisco router.
Once your Cisco router is set up, you'll want to immediately change the default access information. Routers have a stock password by default, but if it's kept unchanged, malicious users can use it to log in and tamper with configuration settings.
On the router's main menu, look for a "Password" tab. Change the password from the default to something easy to remember.
Routers with antennas or other broadcast capabilities are able to form a wireless network with other computers. Within the Cisco router, you can customize nearly every aspect of your wireless connection, ranging from the broadcast channel to the network name.
You can also lock down your wireless network by setting up a password. This prevents unauthorized users from gaining access to your network.
MAC Address Filtering
Every device --- ranging from a computer to an iPod --- has a MAC address, which is an identification tag tied to the device. MAC address filtering allows you to allow or block specific users by inserting the MAC address of a specific device.
Some applications and noncomputer devices, such as video game consoles and Blu-ray discs, require the usage of certain ports. These are numerically labeled entry points where data can pass from a device through the router to the Internet. Port forwarding allows you to set an exception for any specific device, so it can freely transmit and receive data.
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