A router is any device that acts as a gateway between 2 or more separate networks. In our case, that means that the local network is connected to the Internet, and vice versa. The router ignores traffic local traffic or traffic it is not configured to handle, but when Internet access is attempted from within the local network, it springs into action. With NAT (Network Address Translation), the router shares the Internet connection to all the computers connected to the local network. The router keeps track of the originating local computer and manages the connection with the outside Internet server. If a computer on the Internet attempts a connection with the router or to a local computer past the router, the router denies the connection unless the router was specially configured to allow that connection.

Many routers can treat the wireless LAN (WLAN) as a separate network from the wired LAN. This is often done because wireless networks are easy to break into. The idea is that people can keep their wired computers away from the untrusted wireless network. The router will still share the Internet connection (WAN) to both the wireless and wired LANs, regardless of this configuration.


WAN Settings

WAN stands for Wide Area Network. With a wireless router, it is used for the Internet connection. All of the WAN settings are the settings for the Internet-facing side of the router.

Router MAC Address (Clone MAC address)

A MAC address is a hardware identifier that is roughly unique. Many companies, especially cable ISPs, must store the MAC address of the router or Internet-facing computer, and they are configured to only allow that MAC address to connect to their network. If that is the case, your two options are to notify your ISP of the new MAC address or set the router’s MAC address to the MAC address of the previously Internet-facing router/computer.

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Routers will show the router’s current MAC address and offer a form to change the MAC address. Enter the MAC address if needed.

DHCP client

All routers have a DHCP client (also called “Dynamic IP address”). DHCP is the protocol that automatically configures an IP address, netmask, gateway, and DNS addresses. The DHCP client gets the router’s IP address and other network info. Usually, this is just a radio button to select if this is how your ISP offers connection info. Most cable ISPs use this method.

Static IP

If your ISP provides a static IP, then fill in the IP information they provided you with when you signed up. This includes the IP address, netmask, gateway, and DNS addresses. Most T1/T3-type connections and business DSL services provide static IPs and use this method.


PPPoE stands for Point-to-Point Protocol over Ethernet. PPP is the technology used for dialup Internet access. PPPoE works similarly except it works over a network connection. Most DSL ISPs now use PPPoE. You’ll need to enter your PPPoE username and password. Some ISPs also require a service name to be entered. Usually, you do not need to enter the IP/DNS addresses. However, if you have a static IP through PPPoE, then you will need to enter your IP and DNS addresses your ISP provides.


Not every router supports PPTP connections, but many do. PPTP stands for Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol. PPTP is used to join 2 networks using the Internet as an intermediary network. It allows your home computers to connect to your work network over the Internet. It is also commonly used by xDSL ISPs in Europe. The key is to enter the PPPTP userID, password, and PPTP Gateway IP address. The IP addresses, subnet mask, and default gateway may or may not be required.

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Some routers break the DNS addresses into their own setup. Just enter the IPs for the DNS servers your ISP provides. There are also many DNS servers that can be used from any connection. You can search for those DNS servers with Google.

LAN Settings

The LAN settings are for your Local Area Network. This is the settings section for the local computers connected to the router. This includes setting up the local IP for your router and configuring the DHCP server so your computers can be automatically configured via DHCP, rather than requiring manual static configuration.

Set router IP

This IP is the IP your local computers see the router as. Generally, you’ll want to use an IP inside one of the reserved IP address ranges. Router IPs typically end in .1 or .254. The most common home router IP is

DHCP server

A DHCP server provides automatic configuration to computers that are connected to it. It assigns an IP address to the computer, and gives it the network netmask, gateway IP, and DNS IPs. If you choose to disable the DHCP server, you can configure your computers manually to use the router. That is generally more complicated, so I generally recommend enabling the DHCP server.

The starting and ending IP addresses determine what the range of IP addresses will be assigned to the local computers. It is a good idea to give a larger range than the computers you have. Doing that means you won’t have to worry about running out of IP addresses.

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The lease time determines how long a specific computer will be assigned a specific IP. This can be as short as a few minutes or as long as months. If you want to make sure that your computers keep the same IPs for a long time, then set a long lease time.