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Wireless Networking: Home

Customizing your small library wifi network

General Wifi Tips

Finding the Manual and Other Support

The setup and ongoing configuration of your wireless router will go much smoother if you have a manual handy. Below are links to the support areas of some popular makers of wireless routers. If you don't see your manufacturer listed or if you can't find the manual for your model, visit your favorite search engine and try [ (manufacturer} (model number) manual ] like [Linksys E2500 manual]. 

Basic Settings

Once you log into you your router's dashboard we recommend you change the following from the factory defaults:

  • ssid - This is the name of your network. We suggest changing it to your library name. Get credit for what you provide!
  • admin password - The factory default is often "password" or "admin." These defaults are widely available on the internet and could be used by an attacker to control your network. This is a different password from what your patrons will use to get into the network.
  • network password - We suggest you enable security on your network and set a password. This will encrypt traffic on your network and prevent hackers from tracking activity on your wireless network. 

The details for how to set these items are in your manual. See the box above for tips on getting your manual if you don't know where to find it. 

Identifying Your Wireless Router

If you've inherited a wireless network by becoming the new director of a small library, you might not know where your wireless router is. You're looking for a box near a wall that may or may not have antennas sticking out of it. Here are a few pictures of common wireless routers:




Once you find your router, make note of the brand and model number. This will help you track down the manual for it later. 

Accessing Your Router's Dashboard

Most functions on modern routers have to be set through a web browser on a computer that is on the same wireless network as your router. If you don't know where to point your browser or if you've inherited a router without it's admin password, here are some suggestions


Where to point your browser:

  • Amped - or
  • LinkSys - SmartWifi - 
  • NetGear - or
  • TP-Link -   

If you have a different brand router, try, and If that doesn't get you to a router login screen, try suggestions at This article also offers a method that often provides the correct IP address for your router. 


Most (not all) wireless routers come from the factory with a default id and password to get into the router's password. Ideally you or a predecessor changed this password right away AND put it in a safe place you can find. But if not, it is worth trying the default id/password combinations. Here are some common ones listed by vendor:


  • Amped - Default is no credentials to web menu and set up wizard. An id/pw may be set up after initial configuration
  • LinkSys - Smart Wifi - creates an account for you during initial setup. 
  • NetGear - Default id/pw is admin/password
  • TP-Link - admin / admin


If your router manufacturer doesn't appear above, try combinations of admin and password. 


If you still can't get in, chances are good that the default password was changed but you don't have it. Then it may be time to do a factory reset.

Factory Reset - "I Wish This Had Never Happened!"

Nearly all wireless routers have a "Factory Reset"/"Factory Defaults" feature. This should only be done as a last resort because in addition to resetting the id/password to their default values, it will also wipe out any previous customization (including the name of the wifi network). So hold off until you are sure that you can't find the network password. 

How the factory default reset works varies by manufacturer and sometimes by model. It is best if you have your manual on hand before you do a factory reset on your router. But if you can't, here are some popular ways to set your router back to its factory settings:


  • Amped – Hold down reset button on back panel for 30 seconds
  • LinkSys – Press and hold reset button until power indicator flashes
  • NETGEAR – Use a paper clip to press and hold the “Restore Factory Settings” button on the back of the router for at least five seconds.
  • TP-Link – Push the WPS button for more than five seconds or until all the LEDs flash together at once.

Interesting Things You Can Do With Your Router

With most modern wireless routers, you should be able to do the following:

  • See how many devices are currently connected to your network. This can help in troubleshooting internet speeds. 
  • Set limits on when wifi is available
  • Set up a shared USB drive for your network - a potential bandwidth saver for public domain files downloaded frequently (tax forms, popular government reports, etc)
  • Add a wired printer for your patrons to print on (Metering printer usage requires extra hardware and software)
  • Prioritize bandwidth by type of use or by device (Quality of Service)

HOW these things are done vary by manufacturer. See your router's manual for details. See the slide deck for screenshots of how some of these tasks are done in NETGEAR. 

Once Your Printer is Connected

Placing a printer on your network, whether with a true wireless printer (recommended) or by using your router's USB printer share (when available) is only half the task. Your patrons will need to be able to connect to your printer from their laptop or device. 


If you are using your router's USB printer function, it is likely that your patrons will need to download and install router-specific software to print. If you have a truly wireless printer, laptops can connect through their "add printer" wizards. Mobile devices may need printer specific apps (i.e HP ePrint) in order to print to your printer. See your printer's instructions for details.

A few general directions for adding a wireless printer to a laptop: