How to Set Up a Linksys Network

Choose from several installation and configuration options

Linksys Network
Linksys Network/Wikimedia Commons

After you acquire a Linksys router, you have several options for how to set up the computer network. The best one for you depends on your router model and its age. In most cases, the documentation that comes with the router recommends the best method to use to set up your home network.

Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Service

The new Linksys Smart Wi-Fi routers all ship bundled with the Linksys Smart Wi-Fi free service. The service works through a web browser in conjunction with a free Linksys cloud account and gives users a tremendous number of features they can opt for during setup or later. Users can:

  • Create safe and secure networks
  • See who is connected to the network
  • Create a separate guest network
  • Set up safe web surfing to protect children
  • Prioritize bandwidth to specific devices and applications
  • Test the internet connection speed
  • Control access to shared files
  • Diagnose connectivity issues
  • Customize router settings
  • Keep the network safe from internet threats with the Security tool

The original setup must be done locally, but then the cloud service gives you access to your router from wherever you are. The service walks you through each step of the installation and setup process.

Linksys Connect Software

A setup CD that contains Linksys Connect Software (initially called Cisco Connect) ships with some Linksys devices. If you didn't receive the CD, you can download the Linksys Connect software and use it to connect and manage your wireless network and devices.

Not every Linksys router is compatible with this software. However, many of the E-series routers, EA-series routers, and X-series gateways are compatible.

Linksys EasyLink Advisor

Linksys EasyLink Advisor (LELA) is a free software program from the manufacturer that was included on the installation CD of some older Linksys routers. LELA works as a setup wizard, taking you step by step through the process of configuring a Linksys router and the other devices that connect to it. The LELA Setup Wizard can run on either Windows or Mac computers. LELA also provides additional capabilities that help manage your network after it is installed.

To use it, load the software onto your computer and follow the screen directions to select your preferred language and start the wizard. It checks the connection, installs the router and configures it. Read and agree to the License Agreement and quit the setup wizard when prompted to do so.

Cisco Network Magic

Network Magic was a software program formerly available for purchase from Cisco Systems. Like LELA, Network Magic supported both the initial network setup process as well as ongoing network management. Using Network Magic software, a person could add a new device to an existing network, troubleshoot connection problems, update wireless security settings, test network speed, share resources, and monitor how the network is being used.

Traditional (Manual) Setup

Although wizards make the job easier, you do not need them or third-party software to set up Linksys networks. These networks have traditionally been set up manually. The manual installation is started by linking one computer to a Linksys router by an Ethernet cable, opening a browser, and connecting to the router's console at http://192.168.1.1/. This method allows you to:

  • Set up a broadband connection to the internet by entering appropriate IP address settings
  • Set the Wi-Fi network name (for wireless routers), transmission mode, and security settings
  • Configure additional security options including those related to the router's built-in network firewall

Beyond configuring the router through its console, when following a manual setup procedure, you must also set up the network on each computer with a Linksys network adapter and all other devices separately.