Before you power up your modem, you’ll want to connect it to your computer and your phone jack or cable outlet.
To connect it to your computer, plug one end of an Ethernet cable into the Ethernet or LAN port on the back of your modem, then plug the other end into the Ethernet port on the back of your computer.
Your modem should come with an Ethernet cable, but any old Ethernet cable will do. (If you don’t have one on hand or the one that came with the modem is too short, check out this five-foot Ethernet cable on Amazon.)
If you have DSL internet, you'll plug your phone cable into the DSL port, like the image on the left. If you have cable, you'll plug the coax cable into the "Cable In" or "RF In" jack, like the image on the right.
Next, connect the modem to your phone jack or cable outlet.
Which one should you use? It depends on the type of internet service you have:
- DSL internet plugs into a phone jack with a phone cord.
- Cable internet plugs into a cable outlet with a coaxial cable.
But, whether you have cable or DSL, both need to plug into your wall for your internet service to work.
Think of it like pumping gas into your car. Without gas, your car goes nowhere, just like your computer can’t surf online without an internet connection.
So you “connect” your car to the gas pump with the nozzle—but without power, the gas pump won’t work. You need both a connection to the power grid and a connection to the pump to get gas in your car and drive off into the horizon.
Likewise, you need a connection to the power grid and a connection to your internet service to binge-watch The Irishman on Netflix or check your email.
Last but not least, connect the power cord to your modem and plug it into your power outlet.
Now watch those lights on your modem come to life as it boots up. Patience is key here—this can take anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute or two.