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How To Connect A Router To A Modem?

Today there is usually no need to connect together a router and a modem because the ones you buy from most retail stores or online are modem-router combinations. They are actually 3 devices in one because they also have a 4 port network switch.

What is the difference between a modem and a router?

Modem: A modem is a device that acts as an interface between your computer or router and the network. Essentially, it is how your computer communicates on the internet. You need to connect your modem to a phone line before it can be connected to a network via a wireless or wired connection.

Router: A router creates a network for use in some type of environment like home, small business, school or enterprise network. There are many different types of routers available; however, most modern routers have similar features such as DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) which enables devices on the network to automatically obtain an IP address from the router without any user configuration required.

To find out more about: What is the difference between a router and modem?

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How to connect your router to your modem.


Step 1:

First, you need to connect a Cat-5e (or higher) Ethernet cable from the LAN port on the back of your modem to a WAN port on the router. The cable will only fit one way so it is important to check and make sure that the cables are connected properly before powering them up.

With combo devices, connecting through Ethernet ports is recommended vs wireless because there can be potential issues with wireless connectivity if not set up properly in most cases. Most users will choose to use their routers for wireless connectivity in a home or small business network and leave the modem to function simply as an internet gateway.

One benefit of using a combo device is that you have access to 4 wired ports on the other side of the router which can be used for connecting devices like a computer, DVR, PlayStations/Xbox’s /Roku/Tivo/Smart TV, however, you wish to connect them.

Modem -> Router -> Computer

Step 2:

After making sure that your modem and router are connected together then plug in your modem power cable into a standard electrical outlet. Wait 1-2 minutes before turning on your networking equipment (computer, gaming consoles etc.). The power supply light should light up green after everything is powered up.

Next up you will need to log in and enter your modems user credentials. So go and find your log in details because we will need them in the next section.

You will need to enter the username and password for your internet provider into both devices. The information should have been provided by them or located in the user manual or on their website under how to set up your account and configure your equipment.

The most important reason for doing this is so that you are able to change any settings like IP addresses if needed, or update firmware on either one of these devices at a later date (modem/router manufacturers release updates for security reasons quite regularly). You also need access to the web administration page of the modem and router so that you can set up port forwarding if you need to.

Modem <-> Router

Step 3:

You will now need to connect an Ethernet cable from the LAN port on your computer or other network devices into a free available port on the back of your router.


Step 4:

Now turn on both the modem and router and wait a few minutes for them to boot up. You will be able to access the admin page from any web browser such as Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, etc. Simply enter in your router default IP address which is how it identifies itself, (or whatever yours happens to be) into the URL bar at top of the browser window and hit ENTER key after typing it in. It should look like this “http://192” (can also be found under “Setup -> Basic Setup”), then type the password they provided and hit ENTER key once more. The username and password are usually Password: password Admin: admin. You can change them once you are logged in.

After logging into the router web administration page there will be a few basic setup settings you can go through like firmware update; your local network information like IP address, subnet mask, default gateway, DNS servers etc., how to change the router admin username and/or password if desired, how to set up port forwarding (if needed), how many connected devices you have on your home or small business network at this time, how much bandwidth has been used since last reset / rebooting of the router and so on. It also shows how much bandwidth is available per connected device is used.

Some routers have a built-in firewall, however, most do not and will require you to enable the built-in one for better security. If so, simply click on “Firewall / URL Filtering” from the left-hand side menu bar. From there you can turn it on or off (recommended), and allow or block certain incoming and outgoing traffic etc. It is always recommended that you use a firewall with any router for extra protection against intruder access attempts via the internet, because if they gain entry through your router then they could easily monitor your activities using ports 80 (HTTP) or 443 (HTTPS) which can be used to distribute viruses or malicious code.

The steps to set up a router are not complicated, but it is important that you follow the directions carefully. The more time and attention you put into setting up your home or small business network, the better off everyone will be in terms of connection speeds and overall security. Keep this article handy for when you need help with any future configuration changes as they happen so that your internet always feels fast and secure.

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Jason Kearney

Jason Kearney


Jason is the head technician and founder of SECURE A COM. He has worked in the industry since 1998. Working on Telstra infrastructure projects, install and maintenance contracts, and now runs SECURE A COM servicing  B2B and B2C customers.

We are the best private NBN technician service you will find anywhere. We are ACMA registered technician who has been servicing our Sydney clients for over 15 years. We can do the same for you.

Phone:  02 9188 1577

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