If you use the Internet, your home most likely has a router. You have plugged that router in and have a basic Wi-Fi network up and running. What you might not realize is that your preset network is less than ideal. You might not have any password set, or your Wi-Fi network is not optimized for your use. To make any changes to your Wi-Fi network, you need to login to your router using 192.168.3.21. Even if your router was set up by a professional, perhaps by the ISP, and you are happy with how things are, you might still need to use 192.168.3.21 when something goes wrong. It is always handy knowing how to access your routers admin page in case you need to change something, and getting to that admin page is not as hard as you might think.
You will need an internet-capable computer device, though it is most likely the case if you have a router. A smartphone, computer, or laptop are all suitable. You then need to connect your computer device to your router. You can do this via Wi-Fi or with a wired ethernet connection.
With your computer device connected to your router, open your web browser of choice. Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, or Safari are some examples of popular browsers. With your browser open, enter your IP address, 192.168.3.21, into the search bar.
Searching for 192.168.3.21 will take you to the login section of your router admin page. You will need to input the username and password associated with your router. The correct details will take you to the menu of your router admin page.
If you don't know the login details to your router and never changed them, you can often find the default login details on the base of your router. Alternatively, the router manufacturer's website should have them listed. If you have changed the details, and have forgotten them, you can reset the router back to factory settings. The login details will get set back to default, though you will lose any changes you have made to your router previously.
With the above steps, you can now access the router admin page. The next step to take is to change the actual settings to meet your preferences.
The router admin page, with all its numbers and computer terms, can be intimidating. A great place to start is by changing the login details mentioned above.
While in the general settings menu, you can also change the username for the router.
Another popular setting people change on their router is the actual local IP address of your router. Your router has two IP addresses, with more on that below. If you opt to change your IP address away from 192.168.3.21, you should take note of your new address as you will need it to access your router admin page.
There are more settings related to the router that you can play with, though you may also wish to modify your Wi-Fi network details. The SSID or the Service Set Identifier is the name of your Wi-Fi network. To change this:
If you wish to change your Wi-Fi network password, the option will be in the same menu as the SSID. Select the Wi-Fi network password field and type in your desired password.
You have now set the login details for your router and your Wi-Fi network. With your internet secured, you should explore further. You can optimize your network or set parental controls, as just some examples.
The 192.168.3.21 IP address is a local, private, or gateway IP address. 192.168.3.21 is your router's address that computer devices connected to the network will use to send data requests over the internet. Your router also has a public IP address. The public IP address gets used by the ISP and any website you visit, to get the information of the website you visit, to your router, with your router the sending that data, back to your computer screen, via the private IP address.
192.168.3.21 is a common private IP address, though it might not be yours. If 192.168.3.21 is not your IP address, you can search for your router model online, which should reveal the default IP address of your router. The IP address may also be listed in the manual of your router. If those methods don't work, you can use your computer to find your IP address.
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The only way your private IP address will change is if you change it. If your routers IP address does not match 192.168.3.21 or one of the other default IP addresses, then someone may have changed it before. If that is the case and you wish to reset it back to default, then you can perform a factory reset on your router, though that will reset everything else on the router.
As touched on above, 192.168.3.21 is a private IP address that your router uses to distinguish itself on the network, and a delivery point for data requests from computer devices using the Wi-Fi network. 192.168.3.21 is not unique to your router as most router manufacturers use a selection of private IP addresses across their ranges of routers. With that said, a private IP address is not even unique to a certain brand. It is done this way, as the only person who needs to know the private IP address is the owner of the router.
But how does your router know which computer device is sending it data requests? Well, your router is not the only device on your network, with each computer connected to your Wi-Fi network, also having a private IP address such as 192.168.3.21. The string of numbers that is your IP address helps each device communicate with the other. And it is not just internet-capable devices that have an IP address. Printers and storage devices also have an IP address, so your router and computer devices using the network can connect with them and use them. Usually, the IP addresses of other devices on the Wi-Fi network are deviations of the router IP address, with the last number being different.
As of writing, when people talk about IP addresses, they are referring to IPv4. IPv4 stands for internet protocol version 4 and is four sets of numbers separated by a period, though it is not just any numbers. The IANA or Internet Assigned Numbers Authority has reserved certain numbers for private IP addresses, and the rest can be used for public IP addresses. Those reserved numbers are:
Those three ranges of numbers allow for about 18 million different private IP addresses. As stated, the router manufacturers usually only stick to two or three.
192.168.3.21 is a private IP address and directly related to your Wi-Fi network. It is the chain of numbers you use to access the router admin page. However, as briefly mentioned, your router also has another public IP address.
Your ISP will assign your public IP address, and you don't have much control over it. Your public IP address can be any chain of four numbers, not consisting of the ones reserved for your private IP address. Your public IP address allows your router to connect and communicate with the internet. Any time you visit a website, it will see your public IP address, and use it to send you your requested information.
Another difference between your private and public IP addresses is that your public IP address will most likely change. As stated, each router in the world needs a different public IP address, so ISPs have to use dynamic IP addresses. The ISP distributes its available IP addresses on a per-use basis. Once a user disconnects from the internet, their public IP address gets passed to someone else. Otherwise, ISPs would not have enough addresses for all of their customers.
It is possible to have a public IP address that does not change, and these are called static IP addresses. These types of addresses are for websites or cloud servers, which need to stay online permanently.
As the name suggests, a public IP address is public. It is for that reason that there is some concern towards a user's security. The public IP address can reveal the rough location of a user. However, in the right hands, a public IP address can provide more info than that. A hacker can use a public IP address to build a profile of a user.
A VPN service can give you some comfort if you are concerned about your security while online. A VPN service hides your public IP address from websites. Instead, a VPN provides a random address that can show you in a different country. Some routers come with a VPN service built-in.