Q I recently switched Internet providers and they gave me a modem with a built-in 802.11b/g Wi-Fi router with one antenna. The thing is, I already have an 802.11n router with three antennas that gives better reception. Is there any way to disable the router from my ISP and use my own?
A You can’t entirely replace your ISP’s router–modem combo, but you can shut down its wireless functionality and use your own router instead. The reason your router is better isn’t just reception; it can actually send data faster. Wi-Fi comes in many flavours, and the 802.11 spec tells you a lot about its abilities. Routers using 802.11 a/b/g are using older, slower technology; 802.11n routers are up to six times faster.
To shut down the ISP’s router function, first turn off wireless on your computer and plug into your ISP’s device directly with an Ethernet cable. Look on the ISP’s modem/router for its IP address – usually something like 192.168.1.1 – then type that into a browser on your computer and bring up the ISP device’s local Web page. The interfaces between machines vary, but look for a setting that says Turn Off Wireless. Then unplug your computer, hook up your router via the same Ethernet connection, and set it up normally. Finally, turn your computer’s Wi-Fi back on again and log in to the network created by your own router. You should be all set.