The Internet is the lastest must-have appliance in every house. Just as refrigerators were in the 1930s and washers in the 1950s, in the 21st century the Internet is popping up in every home. Connecting your house to this global network isn't the daunting task that it seems to be. However, you must plan carefully when you wire the Internet at home.
Plan your network. You need to decide how many computers you are connecting. If you're just connecting one computer, no further equipment is needed. However, if you're planning to connect multiple computers and printers, you will need a device called a router. This will take your single broadband connection and split it up so that it can be used by multiple devices. You will also have to decide whether you want to go wireless or not. If you go this route, you will have to install wireless cards or adapters in any machines that don't already have them. Planning ahead will help save time when you start connecting the network.
Get a broadband Internet connection for your house. Broadband, loosely defined, is any connection faster than 56K. Having a broadband connection will allow you to download large files, music and stream video at blazing fast speeds. Call Internet providers and shop for the right connection for you. Many rural locations, for example, aren't suited for cable or DSL connections, and are best served by satellite. Also find out which plan fits your connectivity needs. Most companies offer connection plans based on either the amount of bandwidth you use in a given period or your maximum connection speed.
Have the broadband modem installed at your house. In the majority of cases, this is done by the provider. However, some companies, most notably DSL providers, will charge you for this. You can opt to do a "self-install" to save some money. In that case, the DSL provider will mail you the broadband modem and any routers included with your package. They'll also give you instructions and provide you with tech support when setting up the connection.
Make sure that the broadband connection is up and active. You can check the indicator lights on the front of the broadband modem. In most cases, a good connection is indicated by a steady green "Sync" and/or "Ready" light.
If you're connecting a network, skip to Step 6. For a single computer, plug an Ethernet cable into the back of the broadband modem. Run the other end into the Ethernet port on your computer. In some installations, you can also use a USB cable. Install any software that came from your broadband provider. In some cases, you may need to enter a user name and password. Once the software is installed, fire up a browser and check your Internet connection.
Attach a router to the broadband modem, if you're connecting a large network. This device plugs into the back of the modem with an Ethernet cable. The other end of the cable is plugged into the port marked "WAN" or "Internet" on the router. The instructions that came with your router should also give you the network name and password, as well as the router address, login and password. You can connect to the router with an Ethernet cable in order to change the password and/or configure the router.
Attach other computers to the network. If you will be doing this wirelessly, install wireless adapters in any machines that don't have wireless cards. On each machine, you will then have to start the wireless connection and attach it to your router. When prompted, enter the network key for your router. Be sure to save the connection. If you are connecting to the router by Ethernet cable, you will have to make sure that you have cables long enough to go from the computer to the router.
- For computers without wireless cards installed, the easiest solution is to install wireless USB adapters. These can be installed and configured in just a few minutes.
- If you want to run a hard-wired network with Ethernet cables, consult with a professional about running the cables through your walls so that you don't have unsightly cords running through your house.
- When installing new equipment, always follow manufacturer's instructions.
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