All routers will have similar functions but available features and UI may be different for each one. Consider this a generic wireless router setup guide. Essentially a checklist of settings you should look for before using your shiny new router.
When you setup a wireless router look for the following settings to change:
- Change the router password. This is used to access the router. The default password could be blank, admin, labeled on the back of the router, or a variation of the model name.
- Enable DHCP unless you want to manually assign IP addresses.
- Set the wireless security to WPA2 and set a wireless password. This is used to access the wireless network. WPA2 is currently the highest consumer grade encryption available for routers.
- Select the wireless standard. Most of the time the wireless n standard is the standard of choice. However, if you have older devices, try picking g or mixed mode.
- Name your network (SSID) and connect your devices to it. The default SSID is a variation of the brand of the router. If you wish you can disable the broadcast of SSID after you connect your devices. You can choose to enable MAC filtering if you wish but it will result in more work in adding devices to your network.
- If your ISP requires MAC address registration, you can use MAC address cloning to copy your machine's MAC address to the router. Unfortunately, Apple routers do not have a MAC Address Cloning feature, so would have to call your ISP to change the MAC address from your machine to that of the router.
Note: I've added an expansion to this article in the blog post You Really Should Secure Your Wifi.