How to Install a Netgear Wireless Router Without the CD

by Jeff Grundy

Netgear produces a complete line of wired and wireless routers that allow you to connect multiple computers to a local area network and enable them to share an Internet connection. Like most other wireless routers, those made by Netgear support connections via Wi-Fi signals as well as standard RJ-45 Ethernet cables. Netgear makes installing and conjuring a router on the network relatively simple with an installation Smart Wizard included on the disc that ships with the router. If you lose or misplace the installation disc, or need to connect a computer with an operating system other than Windows, you can use a more advanced method to install the router manually.

Install and Configure Wireless Router

Position the Netgear router in a location where it has a direct line-of-sight path to as many computers on the network that will be connecting wirelessly as possible. Additionally, placing the router in an elevated location will help increase the wireless signal range for the device.

Connect one end of an RJ-45 Ethernet network cable to the “WAN” port on the rear of the Netgear router, then plug the other end into the "Ethernet" or "LAN" port on the DSL or cable modem.

Connect another RJ-45 cable to the network port on one of the computers you want to connect to the router, then plug the other cable end into the jack marked “Port 1” on the Netgear wireless router. Power on your cable or DSL modem first, then the router and computer. Wait for the computer to boot into your operating system and receive an IP address from the Netgear router automatically.

Open a Web browser on the computer you connected to the Netgear router. Type the router's IP address into the address bar of the browser. The router-access IP address for Netgear routers is "" by default. With some models, you can also use the domain name "" to access the router login page. After you enter the IP address or URL, a popup window appears and prompts you for a username and password.

Type "admin" in the Username field and "password" in the Password box. Click the "OK" button to log in to the administrator control panel for the Netgear router. After you log in a Setup Wizard menu page appears.

Select "Yes" if your broadband Internet account does not require you to enter a username and password to gain access. Note that if you click "Yes," and your account requires no username and password, the Netgear router can connect to the Internet automatically. Using the automatic setup wizard requires no further configuration for accounts that don’t require usernames and passwords.

Select the "No, I Want to Configure the Router Myself" option if you must enter a username and password before you can connect to the Internet. Click the "Next" button. If you select the "No" option, the Setup Wizard prompts you for your Internet account details.

Enter your ISP account information in the Basic Settings screen if you selected the "No, I Want to Configure the Router Myself" option. Enter your ISP account username and password in the corresponding fields. If your ISP requires you to enter a host name, enter it in the "Hostname" field. Click "Next," and wait a few seconds for the router to connect to your ISP and verify your account information by logging in to the Internet service. Click "Save" to save the account configuration settings after the router connects to your ISP successfully.

Click “Wireless Setup” under Setup option on the configuration page, then select the geographic region of your location in the "Region" drop-down list. Click inside the "SSID Name" field under the "2.4GHz Wireless Network Settings" header and change the default "Netgear" value to something easy for you to remember but hard for others to guess. The SSID Name is the name the router broadcasts to authorized wireless devices so they can access the correct network. Leave the wireless mode set to the default "Up to 145Mbps" setting, unless you have a specific reason for needing to change. For instance, you have a computer with a very old wireless adapter incapable of transmitting and receiving data at that rate. If you have an older wireless network adapter in one of the computers, you may need to change the setting to "Up to 54Mbps."

Change the Security Option value from "NONE" to "WPA2-PSK." By default, Netgear routers ship without any security encryption for the wireless network enabled. Therefore, you should change the setting to prevent unauthorized users from accessing your wireless network and stealing your bandwidth or possibly accessing sensitive data on your computers.

Change the default values under the "5GHz Wireless Network Settings" header if the router has such a label. Change the Security Option setting to match that of the one in "2.4GHz Wireless Network Settings" area. Change the SSID Name to the same value as the other but append "5GHz" or something similar to the name, as the two values cannot be identical. Leave the default "Up to 300Mbps" value in place in the Wireless Mode drop-down list.

Type passphrases for the "WPA2-SPK" options in both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless settings area. You can use the same passphrase for both networks, but you should ensure that the password is easy for you to remember and hard for hackers or unauthorized users to guess. Use a passphrase that is at least eight characters in length and contains a combination of letters, numbers and symbols.

Write the passphrases down on paper in a secure place.

Click the "Apply" button to save the changes. Wait a minute or two for the router to reboot and apply the wireless network configuration changes you made.

Open a Web browser on the computer you connected to the router with the cable to test the Internet by opening a few Web pages. Disconnect the RJ-45 cable from the computer and the Netgear router, if you intend to use a wireless connection from that computer to the router.

Connect Computers to the Netgear Router

Go to one of the computers with a wireless adapter you want to connect to the Netgear router. Click the “Wireless Signal” icon in the Windows task bar just to the left of the current date and time. After you click the icon, a small popup window appears displaying the local wireless networks within range of the computer.

Locate the SSID name you entered in the Netgear configuration settings and click "Connect." If the Netgear router is the only one within range of the wireless adapter in the computer, it will be the only one displayed on the list. After a few seconds, Windows prompts you for the security passphrase for the wireless network.

Enter the same passphrase you entered in the Netgear routers configuration settings and click "Connect" again. Windows connects to the wireless router and receives an IP address automatically.


  • Many DSL or ADSL accounts require usernames and passwords, while cable modem accounts usually do not.

Items you will need

  • ISP broadband account information
  • RJ-45 cables

About the Author

Jeff Grundy has been writing computer-related articles and tutorials since 1995. Since that time, Grundy has written many guides to using various applications that are published on numerous how-to and tutorial sites. Born and raised in South Georgia, Grundy holds a Master of Science degree in mathematics from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Photo Credits

  • Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images