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10 biggest home networking mistakes (and how to fix them)

Keith Shaw | July 2, 2013
The chances are pretty good that you have a wireless home network, or you've been asked by friends, family or co-workers to help install one in their home.

#1 The mistake: Jumping too soon to the "hard reset" option. 
Most routers have a "hard reset" button, a small area on the back that can be accessed via a pushpin or paper clip, which returns the unit to the default settings. While this sometimes is a user's only option should something go wrong, too many users jump to the hard reset before trying something else. The problem is that when a device resets, all information that was entered by the user during configuration is lost, including information like the ISP username, password, IP addresses, security keys, and ports/services that were opened.

The fix: If you are well prepared by writing down all this information in advance, doing a hard reset shouldn't be too much of an issue. But it could create more work than is needed through other fixes.

Other tips and tricks to consider:

  • Don't try to optimize the router before it's working. Make only necessary changes (setting your SSID or turning it off, configuring security) and get the device working before you go in to make the tweaks. For the most part, regular users don't need to make a ton of changes. But be careful, write down any changes you make so you can fix/change later if you need to.
  • Use 5GHz channels whenever possible. There's nothing magical about 2.4Ghz, so use 5GHz and get better performance -- less interference is always a good thing (of course, with 802.11ac, it's all 5GHz).


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