This is a very specific home networking question, since we may want to access our router settings, but our internet service is down or we can’t get online with our device. But can we still access our router settings/configuration menu without being fully connected to the internet and online?
A device does not need to be fully connected to the internet to access the router settings. It just needs to be connected to the router locally, either via Wi-Fi or an ethernet cable, and from there you can enter the router login IP, plus the username and password to access the router configuration.
In other words, you just need to be connected to the router’s network, either by cable or wireless, in order to access it’s settings page. But you don’t need to be fully online. All router settings can be accessed locally, while still offline, as long as you can connect your device to the router somehow.
Let’s look at this subtle distinction more, plus give steps on how to access your router settings if you haven’t done it before.
How To Connect A Device To A Router
Let’s cover the first initial step of just connecting a device locally to the router (without it necessarily being able to access the internet just yet).
Here are your two main options:
1. Connecting via Wi-Fi – There will be a sticker on the back of your router somewhere; you are looking for a Wi-Fi/wireless name or SSID plus the Wi-Fi password/key/PIN. It will be something like this:
On some routers (dual band – like shown above), there will be two separate networks (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz and therefore there will be two separate SSIDs. But all routers have at least one Wi-Fi username/SSID you can connect to. Note it down.
Then go onto any device and bring up the Network/Internet/Wi-Fi/Wireless settings. There will be an option to “search for networks” or similar. If in range, your router’s SSID should appear somewhere on the network list that is displayed. Select it and enter the Wi-Fi password as on the sticker (if it doesn’t work because it’s been changed, see here).
2. Connecting via Ethernet/LAN cable – Alternatively, if your device has a LAN port, an easier option is to just plug an ethernet cable into your device and then directly into one of the 4 LAN ports on the back of the router itself:
Once you’ve done either of these things, your device is connected to the router’s local network, and from there you CAN access the router settings without being online.
Connected To A Router vs Fully Online
Now let’s make the subtle distinction between being connected to a router locally, versus being fully online (having full internet access). It’s possible to have the first one without the second one, so let’s differentiate:
Connected to a router – Means you’ve done one of the two things we laid out in the above section. You either found the router’s Wi-Fi network on your device, and entered the correct password, or you just connected your device directly to the router with a LAN cable into one of the LAN ports on the back. On the Wi-Fi network list on Windows, it will sometimes say “Connected, No Internet” to denote this “middle ground”, where you’re connected to a router/access point, but don’t have access to the wider internet just yet (but this is still fine for accessing router settings).
Fully online – Means you’ve done the above step, but the router is also configured to access the internet, and the service is fully working, therefore you can actually use the connection you have with the router to access the wider internet and surf online. If there’s a problem with the service or router (the light is orange), or you don’t have an ISP service installed and activated, you won’t be able to get online even if you’re connected to the router locally.
You’re looking for all green lights on a router to signal that you can actually get online once connected to it locally. Red or orange lights usually mean there’s a problem and you won’t have internet access despite being connected the router.
Accessing Your Router Settings
Now we’ve fully distinguished what it means to be just connected to a router versus having full internet access, let’s offer some simple steps for non technical users on how to actually access the router settings page. Seeing as it can all be done locally, it’s pretty easy.
This is not the same as entering the Wi-Fi SSID/username and password to connect to the router and start using the internet, but you must still be connected before you can access the settings, as we covered above. A router’s login credentials are actually different, but are displayed along with the Wi-Fi login details on the back of a router on a sticker somewhere.
It will look something like this:
When you find them, note them down. See our article on logging into a router remotely in the rare cases you don’t have physical access to it to get the login details.
Once you’ve got the login credentials, and are also connected to the router via Wi-Fi or LAN cable (as covered above), just open up any browser (Opera, Safari, Firefox etc.) on any device currently connected to the router’s network, and do the following:
- Log in to your router, by typing in it’s IP address (eg. 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.1.1) into any browser on any device, as long as it’s connected to the router Wi-Fi/LAN port.
- Type in the admin and password in the boxes that pop up – again will be on the router somewhere or online.
This should put you into your router settings, from which you can then change a whole host of settings, including:
- Enabling or disabling certain Wi-Fi bands
- Prioritizing certain devices on the network
- Reserving a static IP/port forwarding for games consoles
- Kicking devices off the network or restricting access.
- Changing the default Wi-Fi and login credentials
- And many more things.
If you are using a specific brand of a router that isn’t an ISP supplied one, then simply do an online search for “(router brand/model name) default login details”, or something similar, to find login credentials.
Alternatively, we’ve also got guides for default router login details for the major ISPs in all the major English speaking Western countries:
- Default router login guide USA ISPs
- Default router login guide UK ISPs
- Default router login guide Canadian ISPs
- Default router login guide Australian ISPs
See our complete troubleshooting guide if you’re struggling to access your router settings page.