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