Connect 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 just as you do for telephone service or utilities. ISPs are usually phone companies (for a DSL or fiber optic connection) or TV providers (for a cable or satellite connection).

  • Hardware: For a broadband connection, such as DSL, fiber 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, fiber 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 outlet.

  2. Plug one end of a phone cord or cable into the wide area network (WAN) port of the device, and 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, and then plug the other end into the networking port of the PC. (If you're connecting wirelessly, skip this step.)

  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 outlet.

  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 outlet.

  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. (If you're connecting wirelessly, skip this step.)

  6. Start (or restart) the PC.

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