How to Set Up a Cable Modem

By Michael Arcand

High speed Internet access has become more cost effective and more widespread in the the United States. It comes in all different shapes and sizes, but a common carrier in this high speed access is the cable company. Both national and local cable companies offer a wide range of service options for cable Internet service. Most of the time when you sign up, a technician comes to your house to install your service. However, if you need to move your computer to another room or you perhaps move to a new location, you may be on your own when connecting your cable box. So let's take a look at how it's done so you won't be left without your high speed Internet service.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer with networking card (RJ-45 jack)
  • CAT-5 networking cable (3 to 6 feet recommended)
  • Cable modem
  • Telephone line (optional, depending on service)
  • Coaxial cable from the wall or extension
  • Surge protected power strip

Step 1

Turn off the computer before you begin making connections. Make sure the cable modem is up and running with your service before you attempt to make the computer connection.

Step 2

Connect the coaxial cable from the wall outlet into the back of the cable modem where it is marked "Cable" and has the male coaxial connection. Use an extension coaxial cable if necessary to reach the modem.

Step 3

Connect the CAT 5 networking cable from the cable modem where it is marked "PC" (or something similar) and connect the other end into the back of your computer where the networking card is. These connections are RJ-45 connections that look like oversized telephone jacks. If you also have telephone service through your cable provider, you will want to connect the telephone line into the port on the back of the cable modem marked "Telephone."

Step 4

Connect the power cord into the back of the cable modem and plug it into a power strip with power surge protection. The modem should power on by itself once it is plugged in. It will cycle through a power on self test and then make the connection to your cable Internet provider. Once the lights indicating power and cable are green, you are ready for Step 5. It could take several minutes for the modem to connect to your service provider.

Step 5

Turn on the computer and test out your Internet connection. Should your computer still have a problem connecting to the Internet, you may need to reset your cable modem. You will find a small recessed button the size of the head of a ballpoint pen either on the back or front of the modem. This button will be marked "Reset." Pushing it once will allow the modem to reboot and reset all its connections. Turn off the computer before resetting the modem to allow the computer to flush all the networking connections out of its memory as well.

Tips & Warnings

  • If the power goes out and your connection is not restored when it comes back on, always reboot the devices in this order: cable modem first, computer second.
  • Keep the cable modem where it can get proper ventilation.
  • Call your cable Internet provider if you get frequent interruptions to your cable Internet service and rebooting the modem does not solve the problem.