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It’s Time for a New Wireless Router in Your Home

by Lori Cunningham

Linksys SMART Wi-Fi Router AC1750 (10)

If you haven’t replaced your wireless router in a while, or perhaps you only have the wireless router your phone company/cable company gave you, it’s time to think about getting a new one to take advantage of today’s newest features.  With the influx of connected devices in your home, like your Internet TV, Wi-Fi camera, numerous smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles (PS3, XBOX, Wii), Slingbox, etc. you are consuming much more Internet traffic than you used to.

Linksys Smart Wi-Fi wireless routers offer various routers dependent upon the size of your house and the number of connected devices.  The Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Router AC 1750 is Linksys’ largest capacity router, able to offer wireless further in a larger house and accommodate up to 7 connected devices and more.  I have 17 devices myself  that can connect to the Internet, though they are not usually on at once.

If setting parental controls on your childrens’ devices, allowing your guests access to the Internet when the come over, and or ensuring your Hulu Plus or Netflix streaming doesn’t get interrupted/buffered is important to you, read on.

Setting Up the Linksys SMART Wi-Fi Router AC 1750

If you’re not an IT professional, don’t worry. Anyone nowadays can set up their own wireless router; it is much easier than it used to be.  I recently installed the Linksys AC 1750 SMART Wi-Fi Router*.  I simply plugged it into the electrical outlet and used the included Ethernet cable and plugged one end into back of the Linksys AC 1750 router where it says “Internet” and the other end into one of the available ports of my phone company’s router, which in my case happens to be Verizon FIOS.

 

Linksys SMART Wi-Fi Router AC1750 (10)Linksys SMART Wi-Fi Router AC1750 (11)Linksys SMART Wi-Fi Router AC1750 (4)

 

After a few minutes, I was able to notice a new wireless network available in my house called “BronzeShark,” which is the funny name the Linksys router called it.  You are able to change the name if you want to later.

The next step was to load the Linksys Smart Wi-Fi software on my PC.  As my laptop did not have a DVD drive, I was unable to use the included CD-ROM.  However, with a quick search on Google I found the needed AC 1750 software and I was on my way.  I was able to enter my own password, which I created using a string of various numbers and letters.  This password is important to write down for you will need to use it when you connect your different devices, like your phone, tablet, PS3, DS3, laptop, etc. to the network.  I don’t use an easy password because people outside of my home may be able to see my protected network and I don’t want them to be able to hack into it.

Router is Set up!

When you’re done, you’ll get this notification.  Keep this info. handy.  I blocked out the numbers for privacy, but you will see all the info. you need to record when you go through this step.

To access your wireless router and controls, you will go to the Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Login.

Linksys SMART Wi-Fi Control Panel

From this screen, you have access to see your connected devices, gauge your Internet speed, and set up your guest access, parental controls, and prioritization of which devices should have full streaming first.

 

Features

The Linksys SMART Wi-Fi AC 1750 router is one of the most advanced wireless routers available today.  It supports simultaneous dual-band 2.4 and 5 GHZ frequencies and up to N450)AC1300 Mbps speed. This basically means it is fast and can accommodate older technologies (like your old connected Blue-Ray player, Apple TV, etc.) based on the 2.4  GHz frequency as well as more advanced devices based on the 5 GHz frequency.

Linksys SMART Wi-Fi Controls

 

Today, setting up a router is relatively easy and they allow you tools to better manage your wireless device traffic, childrens’ use of devices, as well as offer guest access.  We will cover Parental Control, Guest Access, See & Add Devices, and Media Prioritization with further explanation in this article.

But let me briefly add that the Speed Test is helpful to finally learn how fast your Internet speed coming into the home is.  You pay for a certain speed from your Internet Carrier, now you can see if you’re getting what you paid for. And the USB Storage feature of the AC 1750 is very handy too.  If you have some pictures, video, or music you’d like to share with the networked devices in the home, you simply plug your USB thumb drive in the back of the router and you can instantly make the data available.  You don’t need to download the content to a PC first to share.  You can also plug in a USB printer for access throughout your network for connected laptops as well.  Nice.

 

 

 

 

 

Parental Controls

Setting parental controls is very easy with the AC 1750.  Just click on the Parental Controls button in the Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Control Panel.

Linksys SMART Wi-Fi Parental Controls - blocking websites        Linksys SMART Wi-Fi Block Internet Access

What I like about the Linksys’ parental controls is that you can set control for each device, rather than a blanket control.  So you can limit time spent on your child’s iPod Touch,your teen’s cellphone, or your son’s PS3 Internet access.  There are two main controls you can set:

1.) Block Internet Access – choose which device you want to block times on and block Internet access by day and hour.  For my daughter’s netbook, she has free access to the Internet from 7am to 9pm Sunday through Thursday, but get’s an extra hour on Friday and Saturday nights.  Since she is only 10, she is never online this much, but it gives her the flexibility.  The other night I was checking on her at 9pm, and she had to stop her paper research because I set her time limit for that device to 9pm.  It was time for her to go to bed.

Keep in mind, your teen’s cellphone will still have access to the Internet and the ability to make calls through your phone carrier’s plan.  However, if s/he is using your WiFi to save minutes to surf the Internet, this is where you can shut down access at certain times and days.  Your best bet is to disallow cellphones in the bedrooms after a certain time, deterring late night talks, texting, and surfing.

2.) Block Specific Internet Sites – you can manually add specific sites you want to ensure certain devices in your home cannot get to.  If you have a pre-teen daughter, sites like Facebook, Gurl.com, Seventeen.com, Formspring.com, Missbimbo.com, and others are good to restrict.  You can easily add more as you think of them.

 

Guest Access

I love this feature.  Have you ever had adults, even kids ask you, “what’s the password so I can use your wireless access?”  How I used to hate that question.  There’s no way I’m going to give friends, let alone kids the sacred password to my wireless network security.  You want your wireless network private so no one else can access your private documents residing on your home computers.  I wanted to give them access but not at the cost of our security.

Linksys SMART Wi-Fi Guest Access

 

With Guest Access, you can allow anywhere from 5 guests to 50 guests to access your Internet network WITHOUT access to your private files.  You simply set up a guess password, in this case our password is minnow.  So when a friend/child now asks me to use our network, all they have to do is look for the BronzeShark Guest network and connect to it.  Then open an Internet browser and they will be asked for the password.  After they type in minnow, they will be able to tap into our WiFi to connect to the Internet, but not be able to access any content on any of our other connected devices.

Note that devices are setup to automatically connect with a network once it comes in contact with it.  So the next time your guest comes to your home, s/he will automatically be connected again…unless you change your password.  With better  friends, this shouldn’t be a problem but if you have a party with people you don’t know too well, I’d probably change the password again.

 

 

See and Add Devices

This is a nice graphical way to see which devices are currently or have in the past connected to your Linksys AC 1750 WiFi router.  You won’t use this screen much, but it is interesting to see if someone in the house is using a device for Internet access…say your son who promised not to play his XBOX game online with others???

Linksys SMART Wi-Fi Device List

 

 

Media Prioritization

I have not seen this feature before on a wireless router before.  With the growing number of devices in a household and their connection to the Internet, your wireless router can only allow so much Internet content come in at one time.  If you happen to have 2-4 or more devices streaming content from the Internet, you’re going to have a bottleneck and experience lag or buffering.  This can happen easily if two people are streaming Netflix or Hulu from the TV and or a tablet, one person is playing XBOX online, and perhaps another is playing an online app on their phone.  Granted, this amount of traffic doesn’t happen all the time, but it’s feasible on a weekend when everyone is home.

Linksys SMART Wi-Fi Media Prioritization

Using the Media Prioritization feature, you can click and drag your top devices from “normal priority” to “high priority.”  This ensures the device with the highest priority will be given the top throughput available for your streaming and access to the Internet, followed by your second device, and so on.  I do not have my Internet TV’s hooked up yet to this router, but if I did, I would make them the top priority.  And if they weren’t being used, the devices that are on and streaming would take over as top priority, as designated on this screen.

 

The Linksys Smart Wi-Fi AC 1750 wireless router sells for $194.80 plus free shipping through Amazon.

 

There’s an App for That

Actually, quite a few.  Apps are the way to go these days and perhaps you’d prefer an option to check in with your wireless network without going to your computer or even while being away from home.

Linksys SMART Wi-Fi Apps

 

Linksys has a free app called Linksys SMART Wi-Fi that is free from both Apple AppStore and Android Play Store.  It has limited capabilities for access than what you can do on your browser, but allows you to still block access for certain devices when away.  Let’s say your son is grounded and is not supposed to play any gaming console with Internet access and you forgot to turn off the access while at home.  No problem, you can block Internet access using “Always.”  This means he cannot use Internet access from his gaming console until you adjust the timing from your PC or switch it back to “Never” on your phone app.

If you want more specific control, you can buy the Device Monitir app for $.99 to give you hourly control, though keep in mind it’s free to do this from your browser.

Netproofer  gives you the capability to block certain websites from your chosen devices.  They have made it easier for you by already suggesting less kid-friendly sites and you can just click on them to add them to the block list.  This app costs $1 and is more user-friendly than accessing your browser perhaps, but again, it’s free to add your own websites to block from the Linksys Smart Wi-Fi secure Internet site.

The Block the Bad Stuff app available only on Apple devices and from what I can see, looks like a valuable addition to your Linksys Smart Wi-Fi router, as it adds extra features that the router does not.  You can adjust the level of security you’d like on all your connected devices to protect you against online security threats, websites with adult material, and any other sites you find to be unfriendly for your family.

Gemini IP Camera Viewer available only on Apple devices and sells for $4.99 and allows you to see the footage from any IP cameras you might have in your house.

HipPlay – gives you access to your files at home like your videos, pictures, and files to share with people straight from your smartphone or app.  HipPlay is only available on Apple devices and is free.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Homeowner’s Perspective

Is media prioritization your top concern?  Now you can prioritize your Internet consumption so your son’s online game on Duke Nukem game doesn’t slow down your Hulu Plus watching of Modern Family.  With the number of devices entering the home and the popularity of streaming video from Hulu, Netflix, YouTube, and more, prioritizing your devices will become more and more important.  With the Linksys Smart Wi-Fi wireless router, you get to choose which devices should have the most streaming throughput over the others.

What about parental controls?  In today’s world with the advancement of connected devices in the home and kids who know how to use them, one of your best defenses against your children stumbling upon adult content or finding them constantly using the Internet is to ensure you have an updated wireless router with parental controls.  It has never been easier to limit Internet hours and block websites by each device than it is today.

How about guest access?  If you haven’t had people asked you for Internet access for their devices yet when guests come, they will.  Especially your kids’ friends who come over with their cellphones and iPod Touches.  Here’s the kicker.  You can give them the access, but still control the content they view…even on your kids’ friends’ device.  Just login to the Linksys website and put parental controls on their device.  It’s a great way to allow your children and their friends freedom while you still hold control.  Love it.

With the Linksys SMART Wi-Fi AC 1750 wireless router, you have more control over the devices in your home and can have more peace knowing you are making your home a safer place from cyber threats.  The beauty here is you don’t need to adjust the settings on every new connected gadget that comes into the house, you can simply control them all from your home’s router.

 

When was the last time you put a wireless router in your home?

 

 

 

 

 

 

* I was given a Linksys SMART Wi-Fi Router AC 1750 in return for my honest opinion.  All opinions are my own.

6 comments to It’s Time for a New Wireless Router in Your Home

  • […] more details on the Linksys SMART Wi-FI Router AC 1750, see our more in-depth article at our sister site, […]

  • Thank you for sharing these detailed information about Linksys SMART Wi-Fi Router AC 1750.

  • Terri

    So, my teenager is supposed to be cleaning her room or studying or some kind of non-internet activity, but I suspect she is watching a show on her kindle fire or iPhone. Can I log into a control panel and disable her devices? I want to be able to directly disable a device from the network and then re-enable it when I’m ready. I know that Netgear Genie can not do this. I do not like their openDNS cloud requiring special access etc. They have many of the features, Media, Guest, etc. Their Parental Controls block via “users” not by “device” which is annoying.
    I want to be able to open a control panel and disable a device any time of the day or night. It looks like the “Device List” may be able to do this. Netgear Genie has a “Network Map” but it is very much you can see, but can not touch except to give the device a name.
    Your review is so detailed, I figure you may know the answer to this question.
    Thank you for all the work you put in to gathering this information, it is very helpful and from what you have said, I am leaning towards this product.

    • Lori Cunningham

      Thanks, Terri. You can allow certain times for each device using your WiFi signal. Though note, your daughter’s iPhone, if using cellular service, will still be able to access the Internet.

  • My son-in-law has this very same router and configuration and I am temporarily living in his home. I have to access the internet using the guest AP and it is driving me nuts because I keep getting knocked off even though no-one else is using any devices or bandwidth in the house.
    Why is this happening.
    He works for the Air Force in Communications and claims he does not know why I keep getting bumped off. Is it because of the prioritization of all the household devices.
    I am trying to use my computer to look for jobs and also to stream movies because he won’t allow T.V. access in the room I’m in.
    Please help.

    • Lori Cunningham

      Hi, I can only imagine how frustrating it is to constantly be knocked off the Internet. You may have a bad signal in the room you are in, are you able to move to another room in the house, one closer to where the router is? There could be a prioritization of household devices in place, but if nothing else is using Internet access, it shouldn’t bump you off. You could check out the Linksys Live Chat and ask for help: http://support.linksys.com/en-us/support/routers/EA6500.

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