Netgear/Nighthawk Router Setup

NOTE: Until these steps are completed, Netgear routers will NOT allow you to surf, despite being able to ping out.

1. Power the Netgear on and wait for it to boot. The light second from the left is the WAN status light. For most of the boot process, this light is not lit. Then when it starts the routing, it will turn amber. When it successfully pulls an IP and detects internet, it will turn white. You can start the next step as long as the light is on, despite the color.

2. Connect using the default network name/password. Advise the customer to keep the default network name and password. On the celophone on the top of the router is a white sticker with the name/password. Carefully remove the sticker from the celophane and place it neatly on the top of the router in an area that is easily accessible. The reason to use the default name and password is that if the router were to lose its configuration, or if the customer resets the router, they will not have to reconfigure all their wireless devices; they will just need to go through the steps outlined in this document.

3. Once connected to the wifi, open a browser and go to 

Depending on the version, it may go immediately to "detecting network connection", but especially with the higher end routers (nighthawk) it may come to the first screen which will ask you if you want it to set itself up automatically or if you want to choose your settings. Choose your settings, then make sure it is set as router (not access point).

It will detect that there is another router on the network (the next hop) and it will ask if you can disable that router's wifi. SELECT NO. (i know this is counterintuitive, but if you select yes, it will force you to choose an SSID and password different than the default; if you select no, it will keep the SSID and password)

4. Now it will start "detecting network connection" and then come to a screen asking you to choose a password for the admin user and to set up two security questions. 99.9% of users will never need or want to log into their router, and asking them to choose a password means that they will write it down, and then they'll assume that this is the password to connect to the wifi. So I just put the password as "password" and select two security questions at random, with the first answer "doesnt" and the second answer "matter". Hit next, and then it will show a summary of the information. Hit next again.

5. On this screen, it will automatically start checking for firmware updates and applying them. This can take awhile, so it is best to hit cancel unless there is still a lot of cleanup to do; if setting up the router is the very last thing for your install, then hit cancel.

6. Lastly, it will prompt you to make a Netgear account. Don't bother with that; you are now online, so go to and wrap it all up.

Note: if this is for a business, or if they will be sharing wifi with others, recommend they configure a separate Guest Network, using that built-in feature.

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