If you want to get online and have your own internet access, you can set up a home broadband connection, or get mobile broadband for your laptop or smartphone.
A fast home broadband connection currently offers the best possible home internet experience, so here we will discuss how to obtain your service and set it up.
A fast internet connection will mean your computer can display most web pages instantaneously, so you will have a quick and snappy user experience and won't be left frustrated waiting for pages to load. A fast connection will also let you stream music and video, and make internet phone calls via services such as Skype.
A fast home broadband service can be delivered in two ways:
Method 1 - ADSL Broadband via Your Phone Line
ADSL stands for Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line, and means the line is converted to be able to transfer data really fast from the local exchange to your home (i.e. in one direction only, hence the Asymmetric).
Method 2 - Cable Broadband via Your Cable Service
As you would expect, cable broadband is only available in cable TV areas.
Steps for Setting Up Your Home Broadband Connection
1) Choose a broadband provider and Sign Up
The factors involved will include:
- Cost. This is usually the first concern for most people. You will want to get the best value for money for the broadband services you require. You can also get package deals that combine broadband with phone and TV services.
- Connection options. Is ADSL (phone line) broadband the only option, or do you have cable in your area too?
- How far do you live from your local phone exchange? To get fast broadband via your phone line, you really need to be within 2km of a local phone exchange.
- Broadband speed. How fast a service do you need? Which provider can give you the best speed for the cost involved? A reasonable starter speed for basic web browsing is 2Mbit/s, a good speed for general use including video streaming is 8Mbit/s. If you are set on streaming a lot of TV and movies, then really, the faster the better, and 50Mbit/s broadband services are now available. Cable broadband services tend to offer the very fastest speeds.
- How much will you use your broadband each month? That is, how much data will you use each month? A broadband provider may offer you a certain amount of data usage per month, e.g. 10GB (Gigabytes) is typical, or it may offer unlimited broadband, which means unlimited data usage.
2) Install the Broadband Connection Equipment
Your new broadband provider will tell you when your broadband service is ready for use, and they may provide you with the connection equipment needed, or it may be up to you to buy it. You may have to install it or the broadband company may provide installation.
Installing ADSL (phone line) Broadband
For ADSL broadband, you will need:
- An ADSL wireless router. This is a clever box that can receive data from and send data back along your phone line, enabling the broadband service, and convert it to a wireless network signal that all the computers in your house can connect to wirelessly.
- You also need something called an ADSL microfilter. This is just a little box that plugs into your phone socket, which you can then plug both your telephone and your new ADSL router into. The microfilter reduces "noise" on the line, so that the router can communicate properly with the local phone exchange.
Installing Cable Broadband
For cable broadband, then usually the cable company, e.g. Virgin Media Broadband, will do the installation for you, which can be a real bonus if you aren't technically inclined.
If you don't have cable already, they will run a cable service line into your home, and then set up the cable router, which receives the broadband signal and converts it into a wireless network for your computers to use. An example of a cable router is the Virgin Media Super Hub:
Configuring Your Home Wireless Network
Once you have your router installed, then you will need to set up the wireless network. Your router will come with a setup guide, but very briefly, the steps involved will be:
- Connect your computer to the router via an ethernet cable, so you can access the router control panel via your web browser.
- Set up your wireless network properties by giving the wireless network a name, security settings and a password.
- You can then set up your wireless enabled computers to access the wireless network, by using the new wireless network properties you have just configured on the router.
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