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From everything including smart TVs to smart home devices, the internet has become a vital part of our everyday lives. In fact, many are relying on their Wi-Fi connection to stay connected to work and education during the COVID-19 outbreak.
But, if you’re new to technology, going wireless for the first time or just moving and need a quick refresher, then setting everything up can be a bit intimidating.
Have no fear. Check out our simple, step-by-step guide to get you and your family online wirelessly in no time.
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Why do I need Wi-Fi for home internet?
Wireless home internet, more commonly known as “Wi-Fi” (short for “Wireless Fidelity”), is the same home network you’ve enjoyed plus the freedom to experience it anywhere in your home.
That’s because it lets you utilize your internet connection without plugging a cord into your machine.
This way, you can connect to more devices on your home network at the same time since you’re no longer limited by the physical number of ports on your network equipment.
A home Wi-Fi network makes for a more interconnected house. It lets your smart devices (such as laptops, smartphones and tablets) communicate more easily and lets you interact with any smart home devices that you may have installed in your house in the most convenient way possible.
DIY: How to connect your Wi-Fi internet
Order internet service from a provider
First things first, make sure your home has an internet connection. No matter how many devices you plug in on your end, if there’s no information coming in, then there’s going to be no internet for you.
Be sure you’ve ordered internet from a provider you trust before you start the process. And if you need some advice and assistance ordering your cable, DSL, satellite, fiber or dial-up internet connection, then we are here to help.
We’ve done all the research and heavy lifting for you. You just need to make the final call to get connected to the internet service provider (ISP) of your choice. Simply give us a call and we’ll locate all the home internet providers that service your area. We’ll even help you choose one to best to handle all your wireless home internet needs – all for free.
Get a modem
If you’re connecting to the web from either a cable, DSL, satellite or fiber ISP, then you’ll need a few pieces of equipment to get online.
The most important of those is the internet modem.
Essentially, your modem plugs into whatever type of data infrastructure you have — cable, telephone, satellite, or fiber — and communicates with your ISP’s network. Each modem is a little different, as far as receiving the signal goes, but each one gives you a standard Ethernet cable output (the standard internet plug), which you can then plug into any single computer to create an internet connection.
If you have just a modem, you’ll be able to connect just one Ethernet-ready device, such as a computer, to the internet. But, if you want to hook up more than one device to the internet, then you will also need a router, one that’s either wired or wireless.
Add a router
Whether you’ve decided to buy your own router or to rent one from your ISP, you’ll need this vital piece of equipment if you’d like to connect more than one device at a time to your internet connection.
The router takes the internet connection from your modem and broadcasts it across your home network – either wirelessly (by hosting a Wi-Fi network) or through a limited number of physical cords making wired connections. This allows any number of devices to connect to your internet network.
Connect the equipment – both to each other and to the ISP’s network
Now that you’ve gathered all the necessary pieces, it’s time to physically connect them together to make the magic of the internet happen right in your home.
First, take the cord from the ISP and plug it into your modem.
This could be either the cable company’s coaxial cable, the telephone company’s DSL phone line, the satellite company’s data line or the fiber-optic company’s data line.
Second, take the provided Ethernet cable (which looks like a thicker version of the phone cord) and plug it into both your internet modem and your wireless router.
Now, take the power cords of both devices, plug them into the devices and then plug them into the wall outlets (in that order). If you have a surge protector, this would be a great time to use it.
Finally, flip the power switches and turn everything on. Let the modem and router calibrate themselves and communicate with each other for a few minutes. As they do this, you’ll see the lights on both devices flicker back and forth for a little while, which means they’re working to bring the internet into your home.
Set up your Wi-Fi network through your router’s web interface
Now that everything is all plugged in, connected and buzzing with data communications, you should be able to open up the router’s web interface. It’s essentially a pre-internet portal that allows you to create, change and maintain your home’s wireless network. Here’s how to do it:
- Grab the router’s manual or look on the device’s underside and find the router’s default IP address and default login information.
- Next, open up a web browser and type in the characters of the IP address you just located, and it’ll open up the web interface.
- Finally, use the set-up wizard to walk through the process of giving the router all the important information it needs to make the internet happen. From here, you can also click around the menus and change a few of your new Wi-Fi network settings. These include its login password to keep your Wi-Fi secure and its network name.
After you complete the setup process, the router will receive a single public Internet Protocol (IP) address on the web. Servers on the internet communicate with your router, and the router transmits that information to the appropriate devices on your home network.
You’re ready to get started now that you’ve set up your Wi-Fi network. By now, you should be online and ready to enjoy your connection from the comfort of any location within your home. And to make sure you’re getting all the speed you’re paying for, perform a speed test of your brand new home network.
If you’re having any troubles or quality issues with your internet service and connection, be sure to call your ISP and let them know. They’ll be more than happy to help you resolve the issue so you can enjoy all the wonders of the web wirelessly. If you’re unable to resolve your connectivity issues, it may be time to switch to a new provider.
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Taylor is a veteran member of the Allconnect content team and has spearheaded a number of projects, most notably our holiday tech gift guide. Among her other top trafficked pieces is Best… Read more