Wondering how to setup TP-Link router without Ethernet cable?
Well, it’s very simple to activate a TP-Link router without an Ethernet cord since you can access the web GUI (admin tool) through the router’s Wi-Fi.
In this guide, we’ll entirely exclude the need for an Ethernet cable and provide simple steps you can apply without networking knowledge.
To set up a TP-Link router without an Ethernet cable, you first must turn on the device and connect to the router’s Wi-Fi with any device you choose.
To unwrap how this is done, continue reading!
Can You Connect TP-Link Router Without Ethernet Cable?
There are many TP-Link router models on the market and internet service providers with different service cables.
You can set up your TP-Link router without an Ethernet cable, but whether you’ll get an internet connection is based on whether you’ve got a service modem.
Some internet service providers deliver their internet to your home solely via Ethernet cables, but some use Optic cables, which can’t be plugged directly into the router.
The Ethernet cable connects your modem with your router to transfer the internet, and your router spreads it out.
What is Your Internet Service Input?
Suppose you receive your internet service via an Ethernet cable.
In that case, you can easily connect the cable directly to the “blue” Ethernet port on your TP-Link router and bypass the modem.
When you have a modem, the Ethernet cable connects both devices for the transfer.
Hence, if the service cable of your ISP is optical/coax, you need a modem to receive an internet connection.
However, in both cases, you can configure the TP-Link router without an Ethernet wire, but the only difference would be whether you’ll have internet access.
How to Setup TP-Link Router Without Ethernet Cable?
Note: The guide below will teach you how to set up a TP-Link router solely through the Wi-Fi!
1. Power “ON” Your TP-Link Router
If your ISP’s service cable is not an Ethernet cable, and you don’t have an Ethernet cable to hook up the router to your computer, you can still set up the device.
However, as mentioned in those cases, you won’t have internet access, but you can still configure the Wi-Fi and settings.
So, the first step is to initialize the installation by following the steps:
- First, connect the power adapter to the wall outlet.
- Then, connect the A/C wire to the back of the router.
- Press the Power button on your TP-Link router once.
- The router will turn on, and all LEDs will start to blink.
- Wait for at least 3 minutes until the router is started.
Note: For now, on the back of your router, you must only have a power cable connected!
2. Connect Router to Service (Optional)
If you have a modem, your TP-Link router must be connected to the modem via Ethernet cable.
Hence, if you don’t have an Ethernet cable, know there is no way to receive internet access on the router unless the ISP’s service cable is Ethernet.
So, if you don’t have a modem, and your ISP’s service cable is Ethernet, you can simply plug the cable into your router’s “blue” port.
This will bypass the modem necessity and supply your router with an internet connection.
Service Cable is Not Ethernet?
If your service cable is not “Ethernet,” then you definitely need a modem.
However, this will not prevent you from setting up your TP-Link router since you don’t need internet access to enter the settings and configure your router’s options.
Tip: If you only have one Ethernet cable available, connect your modem to your router since you don’t need an Ethernet connection to your computer to set up a TP-Link router.
3. Enter the TP-Link Router’s Admin Tool
The so-called “admin tool” or “TP-Link GUI” (Graphic User Interface) is the control panel of the TP-Link router, which can be accessed in two ways.
You can connect a computer to the router via Ethernet cable and access the panel, or use the router’s Wi-Fi, empty or not, to access the admin tool.
So, considering that you don’t have an Ethernet cable, your only option would be to connect to the Wi-Fi and enter the GUI from there.
Important: The device you use for accessing the admin tool must be connected to the router’s network, regardless of whether you have internet access.
Here’s how to access the TP-Link admin tool solely via Wi-Fi:
- First, verify that your TP-Link router is working.
- Then, you must use any Wi-Fi-enabled device.
- Tip: We recommend using a laptop or a tablet.
- Connect to your TP-Link router’s Wi-Fi thread.
- Info: The default SSID password is on a sticker!
- Then, on this device open any online browser.
- Into the URL, insert “http://tplinkwifilogin.net/.”
- OR, use a default gateway: “https://192.168.1.1/.”
- Insert the login details from the router’s sticker.
- Tip: For TP-Link, the credentials are both “admin.”
You’re now signed in to the TP-Link router’s admin tool without an Ethernet cable.
This is where you will find all the configuration options to set up the router.
Note: If the login details are not working, factory reset the router by inserting a pin into the small Reset button pinhole on the router’s back.
4. Carry Out the TP-Link *Quick Setup*
If this is the first time the TP-Link router is connected or activated, when you enter the GUI in the Dashboard, you will see the Quick Setup prompt.
This is where you must configure TP Link router without Ethernet cable, by completing the on-screen instructions.
Note: If the prompt does not appear, simply click on the “Quick Setup” from the menu!
So here are all the steps from the Quick Setup explained:
- First, click the “Next” button to start the Quick Setup.
- Then, you must select a Time Zone from the section.
- Next, select an Operation Mode (Wireless Router).
- For the WAN connection type, click “Auto-Detect.”
- You’ll be prompted to sign in via the login credentials.
- You will finally see a recap page, so click on “Save.”
Note: On some models, you will be prompted to set up your Wi-Fi SSID and password during the Quick Setup, but if not, continue with the next step…
5. Configure the TP-Link Router’s Wi-Fi
Assuming that you’ve got a modem connected to your TP-Link router, you have internet access, meaning configuring your Wi-Fi is necessary.
When you’re first setting up the TP-Link router, the Wi-Fi will have its default name and default password, which is quite hard to type in every time.
So, here’s how to set up your own TP-Link router Wi-Fi SSID and password:
- In the admin tool (dashboard), click on “Wireless.”
- Then, switch to “Advanced” from the tabs above.
- Scroll down to find both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi.
- Type in a custom “Name (SSID)” and “Password.”
- Verify to checkmark the “Enable Wireless Radio.”
- When you’re ready, click on “Save” and then exit.
Note: You must restart the TP-Link router when ready with the wireless configuration so the changes can be applied.
6. Use Your Router Without Ethernet
If you have a modem and your router is connected to the internet, you don’t need an Ethernet cable connecting to one of your computers.
When your Wi-Fi is set up, and your router is online, you can connect to the Wi-Fi network and use your TP-Link router without an Ethernet cable.
When using Wi-Fi only, there are quite a few wireless limitations:
- The Wi-Fi might not be able to reach the full broadband speed.
- The router’s Wi-Fi network is a subject of wireless interference.
- The Wi-Fi will go down if your router overheats or shuts down.
- The bandwidth may get congested due to too many connections.
- You need a 5 GHz-enabled device to reach high internet speeds.
On the other hand, you can always purchase an Ethernet cable and connect your workstation or computer that you use the most to your router.
This will provide a wired connection, which is the preferred connection type for demanding networking tasks, video streaming, and gaming.
7. Purchase an RJ45 Ethernet Cable
If you’ve just set up your TP-Link router and want to establish a wired connection to a computer in the future, we’ve got a few suggestions for you.
Here are the best choices you’ve got based on your budget:
- DbillionDa Cat8 Ethernet Cable – Lowest Price
- Snowkids Cat 8 Ethernet Cable – Balanced (Price/Performance)
- GearIT Ethernet Cable (Shielded) – Best Performance
Note: The Ethernet cables listed above all use the standard (RJ45) connection port, which is fully compatible with the WAN ports on your TP-Link router.
Now we know how to setup a TP-Link router without an Ethernet cable, and you can only use the Wi-Fi to access the admin tool (GUI).
From there, you’ll be prompted to complete the Quick Setup, which will carry you through all the router settings, including the Wi-Fi.
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Kevin has over five years of experience working in various Tech startups and providing Technical solutions. He has contributed to many Tech publications and websites.