How to Connect a Laptop to a Modem

By Amanda C. Kooser

Modems are the way that computers connect to the Internet. DSL and cable modems are the most popular among consumers. Connecting a laptop directly to a modem is a way to ensure fast Internet speeds with a simple setup process. Most modems give users the option to connect by Ethernet or USB, but Ethernet usually has a speed edge over USB.

Things You'll Need

  • Modem
  • Ethernet cable

Step 1

Locate the Ethernet and USB ports on the back of the modem. The ports should be clearly labeled. Either port will work to connect a laptop. Choose Ethernet if you have an Ethernet cable available as this will leave the USB ports on your laptop open for other USB devices.

Step 2

Locate the Ethernet port on your laptop. An Ethernet port looks like a large phone jack connector and can be found on the back or side of the laptop.

Step 3

Attach the Ethernet cable between the laptop port and the modem port.

Step 4

Restart the modem by pulling the power plug out of the back and then reattaching it. Your laptop should automatically recognize the new Ethernet modem connection.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you only have a USB cable handy, connect the cable between the USB port on the back of the modem and a free USB port on your laptop.
  • If your laptop is having trouble recognizing the new connection, try rebooting the laptop after restarting the modem.