Connecting your home network to the Internet

To connect your network to the Internet, you'll need an Internet service provider (ISP) and some hardware:

  • ISP: An ISP is a company that gives you access to the Internet. You sign up for an account with an ISP in the same way as you do with a telephone or utilities company. ISPs are usually phone companies (for a DSL or fibre optic connection) or TV providers (for a cable or satellite connection).

  • Hardware: For a broadband connection, such as DSL, fibre optic or cable, you'll need a broadband modem. This might be included as part of the start-up hardware from your ISP when you sign up for a broadband account or you might need to rent or buy a modem separately. If you plan to share Internet access with multiple PCs by using a home network, you'll also need a router. (Sometimes a modem and router are combined in one device.)

Set up the hardware for a broadband (DSL, fibre optic, cable or satellite) connection

Depending on the devices you have, these steps can vary.

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To connect one device (a combined modem and router)

Illustration of a combined modem and router plugged in
A combined modem and router plugged in
  1. Plug the power cable of the device into an electrical socket.

  2. Plug one end of a phone cord or cable into the wide area network (WAN) port of the device, then plug the other end into the wall jack. (DSL users: Don't use a DSL filter on the phone line.)

  3. Plug one end of a network (Ethernet) cable into the LAN port on the device, then plug the other end into the networking port of the PC. (Skip this step if you're connecting wirelessly.)

  4. Start (or restart) the PC.

To connect two devices (a separate modem and router)

Illustration of a modem and router plugged in
A modem and router plugged in
  1. Plug the power cable of the modem into an electrical socket.

  2. Plug one end of a phone cord or cable into the modem and plug the other end into the wall jack. (DSL users: Don't use a DSL filter on the phone line.)

  3. Plug one end of a network (Ethernet) cable into the modem and plug the other end into the wide area network (WAN)‌port on the router.

  4. Plug the router into an electrical socket.

  5. Plug one end of a network (Ethernet) cable into the LAN port on the router and plug the other end into the networking port on the PC that you want to connect to the Internet. (Skip this step if you're connecting wirelessly.)

  6. Start (or restart) the PC.