Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Lost The Password? How To Reset Your Router

If you have lost or forgotten the User name and password, and cannot get in to your router’s control panel (or wireless access point) here are the steps you should follow to regain access, and control over your network settings.

1) If you do not know it already, determine the Make and Model of your router. This will often be found on a label on the bottom.
(“Make” is the manufacturer: Belkin, Netgear, Lynksys, D-link, for example; and the “model” will the “DIR 655”, or “WRT-54G” [your letters/numbers will vary].)

2) Use your favorite search engine and look up your router’s defaults – and write them down.
In the search pane, type the make, then the model, then “defaults” (D-link DIR 655 defaults, for example). From the list of results, look for the one that is the manufacturer’s Support page. Write down the:

  • IP address (this will be something like “”)
  • Username
  • Password

[note: if all you need is the User+Pwd, you can also go to]

3) Open your web browser (Internet Explorer/Firefox/Chrome)
Type the default IP address you just looked up into the browser’s address bar (where the goes) and press “Enter”.
This will open the router Control Panel login.

4) Try the default Username/Password (Often, this is “Admin” and the password is blank [empty].)

No luck?

5) Reset the router

IMPORTANT Note: resetting the router wipes away any changes you had made — and your connection settings to your ISP. You will have to create new user names and passwords and “wireless security keys” (WEP, WPA, WPA2) and reconnect to the Internet/ISP. (Which means you will have to reconnect each of your wireless devices by entering your new “key”.)

On the back of the router, look for a small button, or hole, labeled “Reset”.

• With the unit on, use a straightend paperclip to press the reset down for about 15 seconds, and then release it.
• The unit will restart on its own.
As soon as the lights stop blinking, the unit is ready.

Now repeat Steps 3 and 4, and this time you will be in, and you will have access to the router’s settings control panel.


Today’s quote:Fall seven times, stand up eight.” ~ Japanese Proverb

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

>> Folks, don’t miss an article! To get Tech – for Everyone articles delivered to your e-mail Inbox, click here, or to subscribe in your RSS reader, click here. <<

September 26, 2011 Posted by | computers | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Restricting Roommates Internet Use – Continued.

Reader Asks What He Can Do To Prevent His Roommate’s Internet Use From Slowing His Down To Useless.

Q:Hi paul,
After reading your post on limiting your roommates’ bandwidth,
(How To Limit Your Roommate’s Bandwidth – And Keep More For Yourself.) I tried to do this in my dorm. Considering that lag is sometimes so extensive that it ruins my games and browsing. However I have a Thomson TG712 router, and from what I could discover online, it is quite hard to limit the bandwidth usage. So I would really appreciate if you could write a guide for that, or explain me how to do it.
(name withheld)”

A: Dear Reader,
Let me start my answer by saying yours is a very “frequently asked” question. And, as your searching online has revealed, there’s no easy answer. I am going to ask that you return to the article, and look to the conversations in the Comments section – particularly, those with “Ash”.

(For example, in my reply to moble, I said, “But no.. there really is no way that I am aware of to choke down their kbps to a certain number. Hardware is designed to deliver maximum performance.“)

As far as I know, with our “consumer”-grade routers (and Wireless Access Points) about all you can do is:

• set your roommate’s machine to receive a “Low” QoS “priority”, and yours a “High” (as per the article’s How To) if your make/model router has the feature (most do).
[note: refer to your make/model router’s documentation for the exact steps/menu choices — these are often listed on the side of your router’s control panel, or can be found on the manufacturer’s website.]

• use Content Filtering/Access Control to completely block your roommate’s machine from accessing certain websites, using certain (high volume) protocols, and/or use at certain times of day.

• get your roomie to agree to install a program on their machine which will limit its Internet access.

• Pay your ISP for a higher level of (aka “upgrade”) of bits-per-second, so that you both get enough bandwidth. (Hopefully, your roommate will pay the difference..)

Also: I noticed your router’s wireless is a 54 Mbps “Wireless G” model. If you both are accessing the ‘net wirelessly, adding (or replacing the old with) a newer Wireless N router may give you both a better experience.

So, I remind you that I asked you to return to the article, (How To Limit Your Roommate’s Bandwidth – And Keep More For Yourself.) and look to the conversations in the Comments section – particularly, those with “Ash” (where dd-wrt is discussed…)

Today’s quote: “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”  ~ Thomas Edison

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

>> Folks, don’t miss an article! To get Tech – for Everyone articles delivered to your e-mail Inbox, click here, or to subscribe in your RSS reader, click here. <<

May 17, 2011 Posted by | advice, computers, hardware, how to, Internet, networking, routers, routers and WAPs | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A New Wireless Router

Internet security made me decide to buy a new router...”

Folks, the very first article I published was, “The first Tech Paul Post: secure your web connection Increase the security of your Internet connection for less than $50“, which described the importance of using a router/WAP – especially in the era of ‘always on’ high-speed Internet connection – and provided the How To for enabling the protection features.. such as wireless encryption (WEP/WPA).

Linksys Wireless-G WAP

If that was the first thing I wrote about, I must have thought it was pretty important.

Well, guess what? I still do. (In fact, a router’s NAT may be the most important defense available.)

Since I wrote that article, in June of 2008, computers (and technology) have changed and progressed (at the exponential rate known as Moore’s Law) and routers and WAP’s (aka “wireless access points”) have as well. In 2008, “Wireless G” was the standard, which has a whopping 54 Mebabits-per-second “speed” (way more than my 3 Mbps Internet connection has). I have been using a Linksys WRT 54G, arguably the “most popular” router/WAP ever sold.

Today, 300 Mbps wireless is available to us with “Wireless N” hardware (aka “gear”)(way more than my 3 Mbps Internet connection has). Many offer “Gigabit LAN” (wired) ports as well. And, Wireless N has been on the store shelves long enough now that the prices for this new hardware are well within the range of the “average consumer”. But it wasn’t these facts which got me onto thinking it was time to upgrade my router. My Linksys was serving me well (and I am not trying to do any “media streaming”).

It was Internet SECURITY that made me decide to buy a new router

While chatting with a friend, it inadvertently came to my attention that an Enterprise Grade security feature was now being offered to us consumers (sometimes called “SOHO”), finally! (I had written letters to the manufacturers about this..) This feature was previously only available on “gateway appliances” costing thousands.

Have I got your attention?

What I am referring to is sometimes called (marketed as) “dual firewall”, “packet filtering”, and more precisely “SPI“. I won’t bore you with the Geek gibberish and technicalities (you can click the link if you are interested) but, short version: the router analyzes each ‘packet’ of your Internet ‘traffic’ to make sure it belongs, and the good ones do a basic antivirus scan of the ‘packets’ as well. That’s right: antivirus in your router. I want that. So I bought a new router. (Not all new routers have SPI/”dual firewall: you have to look for it.)

Dlink DIR-655

What I looked for: What I wanted in a new router (and, maybe, you do too) boiled down to 3 “factors”. Um.. four factors, actually.
* Gigabit Ethernet ports
* 300 Mbps version of Wireless-N
* Dual firewall/SPI
* Under $100

What fit my bill best turned out to be the DIR – 655 from D-Link. It is an older model, and I found it priced at $70. (For those interested in a “virtual tour” of the DIR- 655,

Unfortunately, I happened to get one of the devices which had a ‘bug’ and would not do a special, advanced ‘trick’ (port forwarding) which I needed for a special device I have. Most folks will not need port forwarding, but I did, so I returned the D-link. I could have tried a different DIR – 655, not all of them have that ‘bug’… and I really liked it, but I wanted to explore.


Next up was the WNR3500L from Netgear.

The Netgear was priced the same as the DIR-655, even though instead of 3 antennas, it had none.

Just kidding! The Netgear’s antennas are internal. Otherwise, the specs are much the same. I decided enough experimenting, and decided to stick with this make/model, and I did not put any special “firmware” on it, such as dd-wrt, though, as a Linux box, doing so is (supposed to be) simple.

I did not try the lesser known products – such as Billion. And.. if I had it all to do over again, I would probably be not so .. “thrifty”, and get a D-link DIR – 825, (about $130) as it has the additional feature of “true dual band” (that’s important when looking at dual bands.. most make you choose a bandwidth.)

Now I have Gigabit for my wired network, significant wireless range and speed improvements (and could “stream” Hi-Def video if I wanted to) and improved Internet safety for all the devices on my network.. for under $100.
Not bad!

Related articles:
* Protect Yourself With a Router
* How to secure your wireless network
* Protecting your network–use your router for access control (repost)
* How To Limit Your Roommate’s Bandwidth And Keep More For Yourself.
* Which Is Better, Ethernet Or Wireless?
* Gigabit Ethernet Didn’t Make Internet Faster
* Boost your wireless for 25¢

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

>> Folks, don’t miss an article! To get Tech – for Everyone articles delivered to your e-mail Inbox, click here, or to subscribe in your RSS reader, click here. <<

February 1, 2011 Posted by | advice, gadgets, hardware, networking, routers, routers and WAPs, security, shopping for, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

How to secure your wireless network

Welcome to the 2008 version of Tech–for Everyone. I regret to inform you that there are no major revisions or changes in this new version… in fact, it is exactly the same as the 2007 version: my tech tips, advice, and How To’s brought to you six days a week, advertisement-free.

For my first article of 2008, I am going to demonstrate the steps for encrypting the signals transmitted by your home Wireless router. This is a simple process, and once you have completed the steps only the people who know the password you set (namely, you!) can use your Internet connection. Not only will this prevent freeloaders from surfing the Web on your dime (stealing your bandwidth), but because encryption scrambles the data, it will prevent hackers from reading the ‘packets’ your computer transmits (ie, “reading your mail”), and prevent them from easily accessing the computers on your home network.

Encrypting your Wireless signal really is a security “must do” in this day and age, and there is no downside— it will not slow down your browsing, nor cause you to have to enter a password every time you go on the Internet. Once you set it, everything happens automatically and invisibly to you.

Tip of the day: If you have a Wireless router, lock it down with encryption.
The first step in changing settings on your router is to use a browser to log onto its Control Panel. I have published an article, which demonstrates the basic procedure.
(In that post, I demonstrated on the best-selling Linksys WRT 54G, and although there a whole new generation of Wireless routers being sold now, and there other manufacturers than Linksys, the procedure I demonstrate is basically the same on all of them.)

1) Please refer to the prior post, or consult your router’s documentation (or visit the website) to learn the steps to log in to the router’s Control Panel.
This screenshot shows the WRT 54G Control Panel (default:, password “admin” {no quotes}. The prior article tells you how to change these defaults: highly recommended!) and you will note the black Menu bar across the top. Click on the “Wireless” menu option, and you will see the blue sub-menu options change to look like the screenshot.
By default, your router will be set to broadcast its “SSID”. This is basically a “Hey! Here I am!” signal that advertises your router to devices looking to find a “hotspot“. To help us reconnect after we’ve enabled encryption, we’re going to leave this “on”..for now, but as our final step we’re going to come back and turn this off.

2) Click on the “Wireless Security” sub-menu. Here is where we are going to choose our encryption type, and enter our logon passphrase (this passphrase is really a key, used by the encrption algorithm, so the longer your passphrase is, the stronger your encryption will be).
Use the drop-down arrow to choose the encryption type. Now, here is where I could get into a long lecture about the differences between WEP and WPA (Wikipedia has an excellent discussion of Wireless encryption, click here if you’re interested) but I won’t. I will simply tell you to use the best (newest) standard your devices can accept– currently WPA2. If your devices are older, WEP may be the best they can do; and if this is so, I strongly recommend you visit the manufacturer’s website and looking for a firmware upgrade, or consider replacement with a newer device. WEP is simply too obsolete and easily ‘broken’.
Be aware that both devices– the router, and the Wireless adapter on your computer– must be able to use the same encryption type.
It is perfectly okay to accept the defaults for “Algorithm type”.

3) Enter a “algorithm key”. At various places, this “key” will sometimes be referred to as a “passphrase”. Don’t worry about the phrasing– this is what you will need to enter when “joining” the wireless network (“connecting”).
As shown in the screenshot, a long, complex passphrase is best. Use capitals, ‘special’ characters, numbers, and avoid words found in the dictionary. Be sure to write this down, and keep it someplace safe.

4) Save your new Settings. That’s it: your router’s wireless signals are now scrambled by an encryption algorithm, and only those machines which can answer with the proper passphrase will be allowed access.

Now power up your laptop and “Connect to a network” as you normally would (you will have to because your old connection will no longer connect– it’s protected now!)
Your Wireless Networks window will reflect the change of the network’s status, as this screenshot shows, and will now say “Secure network”, or “Protected” (depending on your adapter interface).

Double-click on the your network (or, right-click and choose “Connect”). Now you will be asked to enter your passphrase… enter it EXACTLY. (Again, it may be phrased “key”.) You should now be connected to the Internet just as you always were, but now you’re connected securely. Congratulations!

Now let’s set things so that your logon and connecting is automatic. Return to your Wireless Connections window and right-click on your router’s name (“Paul’s Net” in the screenshot) and select “Properties”.
Place a check in the top and the bottom checkboxes, and uncheck the center one. This will make your router the primary connection, and “find” its signal even though we turn off the SSID broadcast as our final step.
You will need to repeat these “connecting steps” for each laptop/device you have that accesses the Web wirelessly.

5) Return to the Basic Wireless Settings page (first screenshot) and turn off the SSID broadcast. That’s it, you’re done.
Sorry, this ran too long to include a free download link today.

Copyright 2007-2008 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.

Share this post :

January 1, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, encrypting files, hardware, how to, networking, PC, privacy, routers, routers and WAPs, security, tech, Windows | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The first Tech Paul Post: secure your web connection

I want to start by welcoming all you readers to this shiny new blog–and invite you to take a peek at the About page.

This blog is different from other technically oriented blogs in that it is NOT a tech-news page, nor a place for me to drop names, nor is it an ego-site. The purpose of this blog is to answer questions about the day-to-day usage of PC’s, offer advice for getting full use out of your system, and offer insights into how today’s  tech really works. You can post questions here (in the comment box) and get answers, too. Whether you’re a “techie”, or a novice, it is my hope that you will find the information presented here to be usefull and helpfull.

Tip of the day: In this area I will place a tip, hint, shortcut, “tweak”, or how-to. It will depend on your previous experience using computers (and other gadgets and gizmos) whether or not you already know the topic. I will try my best not to confuse and alienate those of you who actually have a life outside of computing, while not boring and/or insulting the technically inclined.

Increase the security of your Internet connection for less than $50. For those of you using a DSL or cable connection to surf the Web, you should be aware that your connection is “always on”. That means your computer is able to go online and get security updates and other useful items without your being present, or even aware of the activity. This is a mixed blessing, as it can also do other–less wonderful–things without your knowledge. Prevent being visible to miscreants out there on the Web by hiding your computer’s IP address (a set of unique numbers used to locate and identify machines on the Internet) behind a router which is capable of NAT–as almost all current makes and models are–such as those sold by Linksys, Netgear, and D-Link. You can research models on the Web, and then find the best prices on such shopping sites as and Shopzilla. If your router allows for MAC address filtering, turn it on! Use a browser to log onto the router’s administrator’s control panel as per its instuction booklet (often it’s and click on “enable MAC filtering”. This will prevent other computers from using your network and your Internet connection. If you have never logged onto your router and set a password, and your manual is lost forever, instructions can be found at the manufacturer’s website. Putting a router between your modem and computer will also allow you to share your Web connection with multiple computers. Most routers have Ethernet ports for four of your computers.

***Note***If you purchase a router that includes a wireless access point, there are some measures you should take to secure the wireless transmitter/receiver as well. First, turn on and configure encryption of at least WPA as per the instruction booklet, and 2) disable the SSID broadcast. These two steps will prevent intruders from “seeing” your access point, and encryption will prevent a snoop from capturing and reading your traffic.

MY GUARANTY TO YOU: I am a fanatic of getting stuff for free, and the Internet has a wealth of free-for-the-download resources. I will frequently post links to free stuff for you to take advantage of yourselves. But! I will only post links to software that is free from spyware, and to websites that ARE NOT BOOBYTRAPPED. I will endeavour to post a new link at the bottom of each new posting.

Today’s free link: Game Give Away Of The Day–this website offers a different free game each day. These games range from children’s games to fairly intense 3-D action games. These are complete games, and not just small “demo” versions. I visit this site every day to see what’s being offered, and have already downloaded quite a few fun timewasters. Here’s their blurb:

 Game Giveaway of the Day

Copyright © 2007 Tech Paul. All rights reserved.


Share this post :

June 8, 2007 Posted by | advice, computers, encrypting files, firewall, hardware, how to, networking, PC, privacy, routers, routers and WAPs, security, tech, Windows | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments