Your router is the manager of your home or office Wi-Fi network. Taking your new router straight from the box and plugging it into the power may give you a basic network, with some routers coming preset, for instant use, or the router may need configuring. For either case, as the preset network is less than ideal, you first need to login to your router at 192.168.8.1 before you can start to get your new internet network setup. Even if the installation was done for you by your internet service provider or ISP, there might still come a time when you need to login to 192.168.8.1, to perform updates and other adjustments, as just some examples.
For that reason, the simple instructions below will get you logged into your router, even if you do not consider yourself to be techy enough to perform such an action. The steps to log in at 192.168.8.1 are:
If this is the first time you have logged into your router, the details will be the default ones associated with your router, which you can usually find on the base of your router. Failing that, you may be able to find the login details in the manual of your router. If you exhaust both options, you can search for the make and model of your router online, which should reveal the login details you need. Note that some models of routers will not need any details for the initial login.
If you or someone else has logged in and set a username and password before, it is those details you will have to enter. If you ever forget the login details or the router is second hand, for example, you can reset the router, though this will also reset any other changes that got made before. A common way to reset your router is detailed below, though the process may differ depending on the make and model of the router:
Once you have logged in to your router interface at 192.168.8.1, it is time to change the settings to meet your preference. The vast strings of numbers and acronyms can seem intimidating, but you can rest easy knowing that any settings can get reset back to default with the press of a button. However, it does help to know where to start, so the first thing you should change is those login details mention above:
You should also find the username for the router on the same menu, which you can change to the name of your preference.
Another setting you may wish to change is the local IP address of your router, with more on the differences between the local and the public IP address detailed below. If you do change your router’s local IP address, you will not be able to access the router with 192.168.8.1, so you should ensure to remember your new address. To change the address:
With the settings of the actual router changed, you can start to explore further with the name of the router’s Wi-Fi network being an excellent place to start. The SSID or Service Set Identifier is the name that distinguishes your router’s Wi-Fi network from others nearby. The name can be anything you want, provided it is not offensive. By default, the name can be somewhat generic so to help differentiate your network you should:
While changing the name of your Wi-Fi network, you can also set a password. The password field will be on the same menu as the network name.
The above settings will allow you to get your router’s security in order, which is vital to ensure anyone browsing the internet via your network is safe doing so. From there, you are free to explore the options of your router further. Most routers come with parental settings that you can put in place, and some will allow the setup of multiple networks or a VPN service.
192.168.8.1 is known as a private, local, or gateway IP address that is considered the head of your Wi-Fi network. 192.168.8.1 gets used to both access your router’s interface and to allow internet-capable devices to connect to the router. You can think of your router’s IP address as a PO box for your mail. Any packages you receive through the post office go directly to your PO box, though instead of you going to collect, your router will then send the post to the computer device that requested it.
Your private IP address, such as 192.168.8.1, will be assigned to your router by default. If you are not sure of your default IP, you can often find it detailed on the base of your router, in the user manual that came with the router, or via the manufacturer’s website. Some websites can show you the necessary details for your routers make and model, with a simple google search providing such sites. Failing that, you can use your computer device to find your router’s IP address, with different methods for different operating systems:
Your private IP address will never change on its own, with you being able to change it with the above instructions. If, for some reason, the IP address is not 192.168.8.1 or a similar alternative, it is possible someone has changed it previously. A hard reset will return the router to factory settings, and though this will reset all settings, it shouldn’t be a problem as, without the IP address of your router, you cannot access the router’s interface. Being unable to access the router’s interface means you will not be able to make any changes to the network and will struggle to troubleshoot any issues if and when they arise.
As stated above, 192.168.8.1 is the private IP address associated with your router. As the name suggests, only people who have access to the network can see this IP address. This address is not unique to your router, with most brands opting to use a selection of private IP addresses across their range of routers. Even then, the address is not unique to a brand, with two different companies able to use the same IP address for their routers. The only person who will ever see the private IP address is the person managing the network.
Your router is not the only device in your home or office that has a private IP address. Any computer device that connects to the internet will receive an address, which often relates to the IP address of your router. For example, your router may have 192.168.100.1 as its set address, and then your laptop will have 192.168.100.2, and then your smartphone could have 192.168.100.3. By using these strings of numbers, your router knows where to send information from the internet, just like the PO box example above. However, it is not just internet-connected devices that use a private IP address. Other devices connected to the network, such as printers or servers used for storage, also have a private IP address, which allows the other devices on the network to make use of their functions.
But who decides what numbers are for private IP addresses? All IP addresses, when talking about IPv4 addresses, whether private or public, are four blocks of numbers separated by a period. However, certain sets of numbers get reserved for private IP addresses by the IANA or Internet Assigned Numbers Authority. Those sets fit into the following ranges:
These ranges allow for about 18 million different private IP addresses though manufacturers keep to a set of two or three for their products.
As we now know, the private IP address, such as 192.168.8.1, is directly related to your Wi-Fi network and allows you to access the router’s interface, as well as allowing your devices to connect to the network. Your router has two different IP addresses, with the other briefly mentioned being the public IP address.
The public address gets directly assigned by the ISP or internet service provider, with the string of numbers able to be any except part of the ranges listed above, though each public IP address needs to be unique. This public IP address allows your router to connect and communicate with the internet. Any website you visit can see your public IP address and then uses it to deliver your requested content to your network.
Unlike your private IP address, a public IP will most likely change. If it does, then your ISP has assigned you a dynamic IP address. With so many people using the internet at any one time, ISPs must distribute their available IP addresses on a per-use basis, or risk running out of addresses to assign, meaning some users would not be able to access the internet. It is possible to have a static public IP address which will never change, with these being popular for hosting a website or cloud servers, which always need to be online.
As a public IP address is public, there is a concern with regards to security among internet users. A private IP address cannot do much more than allow you to access the router and enable people to connect to the provided network, but the public IP address can reveal the rough location of a user. A skilled hacker can devise more information than just your area, as with the right tools, and the data provided from your public IP address, someone could create an accurate personal profile of a network user. If security is a concern for you, then a VPN service, which some routers have built-in, can help you rest easy. A VPN service will not show websites your actual public IP address, which is why a VPN is also a viable option when trying to view content restricted by location.