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How to Connect to the Internet
In our modern times, the Internet has become a vital part of our everyday lives. But, if you are living on your own for the first time and need to hook up internet in your new place or have simply never connected to the internet on your own before, then it may seem just a bit confusing. There’s nothing to fear, though. Just follow our simple, step-by-step guide, and you’ll know how to connect to the internet in no time.
Order Internet Service from a Provider
First things first, make sure your home has Internet coming into it.. So, be sure you’ve ordered Internet from a provider before you start this process so you can get online as soon as possible. If you want to know how to choose an internet provider, see our step by step guide on how to get internet. You can also use our online tool that allows you to compare internet providers, prices and plans available near you. Just enter your address above!
Get a Modem
If you’re getting connected to the web from either a cable, DSL, satellite, or fiber Internet service provider, then you’ll first need an Internet modem to get online. Here’s why – a modem translates the data signal from your network port and makes it into something that your computers and devices can use to communicate information.
Essentially, your modem plugs into whatever type of data infrastructure you have — cable, telephone, satellite, or fiber — and communicates with your Internet service provider’s network. Each modem is a little different as far as receiving the signal goes, but it gives you a standard Ethernet cable output, 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.
Get an Internet Router
Whether you’ve decided to buy your own router or to rent one from your Internet service provider, you’ll need this vital piece of equipment if you’d like to get online with more than one device at a time.
That’s because 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. If you need help setting up your router, check out our guide on “How to Set up Router”.
Connect the Equipment
Now that you’ve ordered your internet, gotten a modem and set up your router, it’s time to physically connect them together to make the magic of the Internet happen right in your living room.
First, take the cord from the ISP and plug it into your modem. This could be either the cable company’s coaxial cable, the phone 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.
Third, take 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.
Fourth, 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 busy bringing the Internet into your home.
Set Up Your Wireless 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:
First, grab the router’s manual (or look on the device’s underside) and grab the router’s default IP address and default log-in information. (You’ll see both of these pieces of information prominently labeled as such).
Next, open up a web browser. (Popular ones include Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Apple Safari.) Type in the characters of that web (IP) address you’d just located. It’ll open up the web interface.
Finally, use the set-up wizard to walk through the process of giving the router all the vital information it needs to connect to the Internet. From here, you can also click around the menus and change a few of your new Wi-Fi network’s settings. These include its log-in password (to keep your WiFi secure) and its network name (feel free to make it your own).
After you complete the set up process, the router itself then receives a single public Internet Protocol (IP) address on the web. Servers on the backend of the Internet communicate with your router, and the router transmits that information traffic to the appropriate devices on your home wifi network.
And now, you have connected to the Internet! 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 that leave you wondering why you’re not getting an Internet connection, be sure to call up your Internet service provider and let them know. They’ll be more than happy to help you resolve the issue so that you can enjoy all the wonders of the web.
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