Hello Rick, Glad to hear you got up and running finally. So lets get started on your security question. First, understand that this isn't a ''simple'' subject. There are numerous security steps you can take, even to the point of layering them. That being said, the easiest step is to implement WPA PSK which is a wireless passkey that the router will require before it allows someone to ''connect'' to your network. So lets start there and if you wish more robustness/security, we can address that after this step.
Step one: open the router login page with
You may need a different IP address such as 192.168.0.2 as you had a conflict with the modem.
Step two: Select the Set Password tag on the left side of your screen. This will take you to the password page. Put in the old password and then enter a new password in the New and confirm password fields and click apply. You will then be required to log back in with the name and new password.
Step three: Once you are logged back in with the new password, click on Wireless Settings at the top left side of the screen, just below the Basic Settings. This will take you to the wireless setup page where you will see quite a few settings. The first thing to do is to change the name SSID field to something other than Netgear. You can call your network anything you like, but just keep it simple, like your dog's name, your daughters middle name, whatever, it isn't critical.
Under Security Options you have three options, you want the one labeled WPA-PSK, check it and the information below will no longer be greyed out. Now here is the critical part, you need to generate a pass phrase that is between 56 - 63 characters long, that YOU can easily duplicate, but that no one else could guess. Here is what I did - I took my favorite book and randomly opened to a page in the middle. I then took a paragraph that was between 56 - 63 letters long, and this is what I used. I then wrote down the page number and the paragraph number that I used. You will see that note on my desk, but unless you know what book it came out of, you have almost no chance to figure it out. But YOU MUST have access to this phrase as this is what your friends must have to log in to your computer, but they will only need it one time, the first time. So enter the phrase you choose, remember, the longer the better the security. I use a 60 minute timeout, but you can make this shorter or longer. This timeout just serves as a refresh for the network and to release resources. Once you have the information entered, press Apply. At this point, your wireless computers will no longer be able to connect, until you have done Step four.
Step four: You now need to go to each wireless computer, I have five here at the house, and establish their connections. I use the windows wireless connection, but you may be using the devices own software. I use windows wireless because out of the five wireless cards I have, they are of three different brands and I just don't want to deal with that many different software packages. Windows wireless works fine and is the same on all of my XP computers. The basic steps are to look for your network first, it should show up with the name you gave it earlier, but if not, do a refresh or new scan. Once you see the correct name, you should highlight it and press the connect button. If the software is like windows wireless, it should say that this network is pass phrase protected and allow you to enter the pass phrase. In almost all cases, you will be required to enter it twice, so, go slow, type carefully, and once you have entered the phrase press OK. Assuming you typed everything correctly, you should connect and everything should work. Try opening an internet page. At this point, no one can enter your wireless network without this pass phrase, but you only need to enter the phrase one time for each computer. Thereafter, windows will hold the phrase, in encrypted form, so that everytime you boot, it will automatically connect to the network.
If you feel you need even more security, please let me know and I can guide you through the further settings available within your netgear router. Good Luck, I'm glad you finally got up and running. And, if you have any questions or problems with these instructions, please let me know.