Wireless network connections 101

Living wirelessly, you can enjoy the gadgets in your home untethered -- effortlessly moving from room to room without cables or cords. If this is new to you, the idea of being so fancy free might sound almost whimsical, but we assure you that such a life is within your reach. Going wireless is quite doable, and you can make it happen in your home.

First, don't be intimidated. Connecting to a wireless network is easier than it sounds. You simply need to understand the basics: network name, network password and network list. From there, you just need to put it together by filling in the blanks as you're prompted.

Understanding the basics

Network Name (SSID)

A network name identifies the network. You'll typically see network names referred to as SSIDs -- or service set identifiers, but that's just a fancy way of saying "network name."

Devices come preconfigured with generic network names, which can be made up of 32 letters and/or numbers. The easiest way to find the default name of your wireless network is to look at the sticker on the bottom of your modem. (If you don't see a sticker, you can still find your network name.)

Where to find your wireless network name on the sticker attached to your modem

For both convenience and security reasons, you may want to change your network name, but this isn't required.

Network Password (KEY or PASSPHRASE)

The network password protects the network from unauthorized users. You'll frequently see it referred to as a KEY or PASSPHRASE. 

As with the network name, devices are assigned default passwords when they're manufactured. To find your device's default password, look for the sticker on the bottom of the modem. (If you don't see a sticker, you can still find your network password.) 

Where to find your wireless network password/key/passphrase on the sticker attached to your modem

For both convenience and security reasons, you may want to change your network password, but this isn't required.

Tip: If the default value for the KEY or PASSPHRASE isn't working (or you've set up a unique password before and forgotten it), you will need to use the modem's RESET button to restore your device's factory settings.  WORD OF CAUTION: Pressing the reset button not only resets your device's password but also all the other custom data you may have entered including: your network name, wireless settings, etc. Read about the modem reset button before using it.

Network List

When you try to connect your device to a wireless network, the device lists all of the wireless network names it finds. Typically, it'll find more than one network.

If you've created a unique name for your network, you may recognize it immediately. However, if you're using the factory default name, you may need to check your modem for the device's network name.

Example screen of wireless networks found using a PC
Example 1: PC wireless network list
Example screen of wireless networks found using an iPhone
Example 2: iPhone wireless network list

Wireless networks are typically listed based on network name, signal strength and security level. (Secure networks are indicated by a padlock and are password protected.)

Did you know?
Wireless networks can be set up to be either secure or not secure. If a wireless network is not secure, anyone can connect to it. Although this can have benefits, there are also risks.

When security is enabled on your wireless network, it can only be connected to by first providing the network password. Most CenturyLink modems are set up to have wireless security turned ON by default. This means that when you try to connect your device to your wireless network you'll be prompted to provide a network password.

Putting it together

If you understand these basics, you're about 90% of the way to connecting to your network. Probably the most complicated thing you may still encounter is finding the network list on your particular device, but we have some suggestions on where to look for that. If you're ready to connect a wireless device to your network, follow these 4 simple steps (and/or watch this video).

For additional assistance, chat with us. We're here to help.