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This page was written in the days (not so long ago) when the normal method of connecting to the Internet was by a dialup modem. The advent of broadband means that the term Modem now means something very different. A Broadband modem is now normally supplied by your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and they come in two main varieties - either for a BT land line type or one for a Cable system (e.g. Virgin Media). See Wikipedia Instead of being inside the computer the Modem is connected to a computer via an Ethernet port (or can be connected to a USB port).
All modern (PC) computers have this socket, which is slightly larger than the socket into which some of the older dialup modems were plugged.
These days the equipment supplied by your ISP will be a Router. The Router's job is to sort out connections to several computers that use the same connection to the 'net'. Routers have a wireless aerial and can be used to connect to from wireless equipment, including wireless printers. Modern Routers include the Modem. The set up of these pieces of equipment is normally taken care of by software issued to you on disk by your ISP. If there is a problem it is best to get in touch with them. The one popular technique tried if your broadband modem/router is not making a connection is to reset it by disconnecting the power cable from the back, waiting a few seconds, then replacing that cable. It will not harm it.
All modern laptops, netbooks and "Pads" or Tablets have internal wireless (Wi-Fi) hardware. Desktops MAY have this but can be made wireless by the addition of a cheap wireless USB 'dongle'. Equipment, such as phones and most tablets do not have a socket to connect by cable to a router (and are therefore dependent on wireless)
The rear of the router looks like this, showing the sockets to which a number of PCs can be attached with inexpensive Ethernet cables
If your computers are normally close together there is no need to
into the mysteries of wireless and, in fact, cable connections are less
to be 'hacked' (got into) from outside and are usually fater than by
wireless connection, especially if your device is a long way from the
router or there are thick walls, ceilings or metal objects in between.
WIRELESS. Setting up a wireless connection has always
my weakness. I have printed numerous instructions from the
site and from magazines but have often been frustrated when it comes to
connecting equipment such as a laptop, netbook or Kindle. I realise
there are security questions but it is a pity they couldn't make it as
as attaching a wireless mouse. I was always concerned that resetting in
router attached to my desktop I might lose my internet connection
NOT SO. The router remains connected regardless of whether the
is correctly set up.
An example of resetting a Netgear Router and Password :Hopefully you will find connecting easier than this !
Wireless connections ?
The usual practice is for your Internet provider (ISP) to provide you with a broadband router when you sign up for broadband services (see my page on this HERE) Although not very expensive for them they will probably want you to sign up for a year and may charge you if you leave during that contract.
In view of the relative cheapness and better speeds of broadband I have now deleted a detailed section which dealt with dialup modems. Dialup is simply not viable any more
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