Equipment Needed to Connect to the Internet

By Curt Lanning

i Polka Dot RF/Polka Dot/Getty Images

Connecting to the Internet has plenty of benefits, such as, paying bills online, checking email, messaging friends, posting on forums, and much more. How do you get that computer online though? What all do you need to get your computer to the electronic world of information? Relax; this article will get you there.

Wi-Fi Internet

One of the most common types of Internet is that of Wi-Fi. You can find Wi-Fi in most public locations now such as: restaurants, airports, and libraries. The first places to start making Wi-Fi really popular were coffee houses. People could bring their laptops and check their email as they drank their coffee. To get on to the Internet with Wi-Fi, you'll need a wireless adapter. There are two kinds of adapters, there are external and internal. Most laptops will have wireless cards built in them for connecting to Wi-Fi, but if it doesn't, they make wireless adapters that plug into your USB ports. As public Wi-Fi requires you to be out in public areas, the only type of computer that you can take with you is a laptop, so the only required equipment to use Wi-Fi is a laptop and wireless adapter.

Wired Internet

Wireless Internet is great, but if you are at home and don't want to invest in wireless (particularly if you only have one computer), you may just have wired Internet. The three most common types of wired Internet are dial up, DSL, and cable Internet. Dial up is older and slower, but just requires a network card that has a built in 56 k modem, a phone cable, and an active phone jack. It will tie up the phone line while you are on the Internet too, so you may want to have a separate phone line just for the dial up. DSL and Cable are faster, but require more equipment. For DSL you'll need an Ethernet card, a cable to go from the Ethernet adapter to the external modem, an external modem, and a line to go from the modem to the phone jack. DSL does not tie up the phone line as it runs on a different signal than Dial up does, so you'll still be able to make calls. Cable Internet is similar to DSL in that you need a cable to go from the computer to the external modem, an external modem, and a cable to go from the modem to the wall, but the difference lies in where the cable from the external modem goes. Instead of going to a phone line, it will plug into your cable jack for its source of Internet.

Satellite Internet

The final common type of Internet is that of Satellite Internet. This, like the cable and DSL Internet will require an external modem and cables to connect to modem to the computer, and a cable to go to wall. There is one more piece of equipment needed for satellite Internet though. You will need a satellite dish that your service provider will install. The dish will be wired into your wall, and a cord will go from a wall jack (connected to the satellite) to an external satellite modem. Then the modem will connect to the computer.