Set up a DSL or cable connection

To set up a Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) or cable connection, you first need an account with an Internet service provider (ISP). For DSL, the ISP is usually a phone company; for cable, it's usually a cable TV provider.

You will also need a modem, a router, or a device that combines the two. Some ISPs will send you these devices in the mail; otherwise, you will need to buy them. When you have your modem and router or your combination device, either follow the instructions provided by your ISP, or follow the corresponding steps below.

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If you have one device (a combined modem and router)

Illustration of a combined modem and router properly plugged in
A combined modem and router properly plugged in
  1. Plug 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. The WAN port should be labeled "WAN." (DSL users: Do not use a DSL filter on the phone line.)

  3. Plug one end of an Ethernet cable into the local area network (LAN) port on the device, and then plug the other end into the networking port of the computer that you want to connect to the Internet. The LAN port should be labeled "LAN." (If you are connecting wirelessly, skip this step.)

  4. Start (or restart) the computer.

  5. Open the Connect to the Internet wizard by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking Network and Internet, clicking Network and Sharing Center, clicking Set up a connection or network, and then clicking Connect to the Internet.

If you have two devices (a separate modem and router)

Illustration of a modem and router properly plugged in
A modem and router properly plugged in
  1. Plug 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: Do not use a DSL filter on the phone line.)

  3. Plug one end of an 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 an Ethernet cable into the local area network (LAN) port on the router, and plug the other end into the networking port on the computer that you want to connect to the Internet. (If you are connecting wirelessly, skip this step.)

  6. Start (or restart) the computer.

  7. Open the Connect to the Internet wizard by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking Network and Internet, clicking Network and Sharing Center, clicking Set up a connection or network, and then clicking Connect to the Internet.