Tips for setting up a home network with cable internet

Jun 19, 2014

Home internet service is amazing, especially when it’s broadband. You can have every device in your house connected and simultaneously streaming videos and music while browsing and, if your Internet is fast enough, you won’t even notice. Compared to the days of dial-up, we might as well be living on the starship Enterprise.

However, setting up a home network can be confusing. Routers, modems, Ethernet, what does it all mean? This article will include a basic step-by-step guide to help you and your family members get connected now.

Connect your router and modem

These days, most cable internet providers include a combination router-modem with all services. These devices make it much easier to set up your home network, but if your modem and router are separate, then it is important to make sure they are connected to one another.

The modem is basically a receiver. It connects directly to the same kind of coaxial cable that plugs into the back of your cable box, and it is easy to identify since it will have the appropriate port on the back. Also, a dedicated modem typically only has one Ethernet port on the back, which looks like an oversized phone jack.

Since the router is the device that distributes your connection to multiple machines, it has multiple Ethernet ports on the back. One of those ports is a “line in” connection from the modem. Using an Ethernet cable, connect the outgoing port on the back of the modem to the incoming port on your router. Power on your modem and wait for all of the lights to come on.

Next, turn on your router. After a short while, a light should come on to indicate that your router is receiving signal from your modem.

Wireless networks

Most routers on the network these days are Wi-Fi, meaning they emit a signal that allows devices to connect to the Internet without a wired connection. However, since any device in the proximity of your network can connect and use your internet, it is important that you protect your Wi-Fi with a password.

Access the security settings of your Wi-Fi network with the software, usually a CD, that came with your router. This will also allow you to manage advanced settings such as the number of devices that can connect to your network at one time. PCMagazine offers more detailed information on how to set up the security on your wireless network, including tips for setting passwords, accessing your router’s interface and managing your computers IP address.

Hardwiring the network

Wi-Fi networks can be disrupted by thick walls or floors, so some people may want to use a hardwired Ethernet connection. If you want to run wires to certain devices or locations in your home, you may want to call an electrician to help you run lines. However, if your computer is close to your router, it is easy to simply connect them and hide the wire. This offers a more secure connection that is less vulnerable to disruptions.