With your computer setup and connected to the web via a wired or wireless router, you will not doubt be expecting to enjoy some high speed Internet.

You might have some streamed movies, file sharing or online gaming in mind, only to be disappointed that despite the advertised speed, there is something slowing you down.

There are various causes for this, and one of the first places you should look is your router.

Cable modems and wireless routers have an operating system running them, just like your computer, and as such the manufacturers make it easy to access the device directly via your home network. This enables you to access advanced controls for your router and troubleshoot any problems that you might be experiencing with your connection.

The following advice is generalized; there are so many different models of router that it would be impossible to detail steps for connecting to all of them.

Identifying the Router by IP Address

In order to open the console for your router, the first thing you should try is accessing it via IP address.

An IP address is a series of numbers assigned to a device on your network. This might be a static address and stays the same all of the time, or a dynamic address, assigned by the router but liable to change if other devices have connected before you. An IP address only exists on the network it is assigned from – network devices also have a MAC address that is unique.

You can think of the IP address as being like a telephone number, and it takes the form of:

123.456.789.123

(Note that this is the IPv4 address format; the IPv6 format is currently in use on new equipment, but IPv4 is expected to persist for some time.)

To find the IP address of your router, you will need to open a command line on your computer.

On Windows, press WINDOWS+R and enter cmd. Once the command prompt is running, type ipconfig – the listing for Default Gateway will be your router’s IP address.

In Mac OS X, open Apple > System Preferences > Internet & Wireless > Network and with your network device selected on the left set the Configure IPv4 drop down menu to read Using DHCP; the address for your router will be listed.

Finally in Linux, open the Terminal and enter:

$ route -n

This command will display output listing your local IP address and that of your Gateway, which is the term given to your router.

Opening Your Router or Modem Console

With the IP address uncovered you will be able easily access your router.

Simply open your web browser and enter

HTTP://YOUR.IP.ADDRESS.HERE

You should then find that the console login screen is displayed. In most cases you will have to login here, using the information provided to you by your ISP. You might also find the username and password printed on the router itself, although these will only work if the device has not had the defaults removed for security purposes.

Once you have signed into your modem or router, you will find various tools that can be used to troubleshoot speed and connectivity issues.

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