How to Get Internet for Laptop

Level of difficulty: Intermediate

Laptops, or notebooks, are becoming more popular due to their portability and increased capabilities. Most laptops currently sold on the market are Internet-ready. Some may even come with accredited or recommended ISPs (Internet Service Providers). Creating an Internet connection for the laptop largely depends on the needs of the user and the hardware used.

Materials Needed:
- Ethernet cable (if needed)
- dial-up cable (if needed)
- modem (if needed)
- Internet Service Provider or free wireless connection
Step 1
It is important to check the kind of Internet connection needed. There are several kinds of Internet connections available for laptop computers. A dial-up connection is the most basic. It typically runs slower than other connections since it uses phone lines. A DSL connection uses larger cables and generally runs faster than dial-up. A wireless connection creates a wireless network for the Internet service. The speed of this service depends on the service provider and the devices used.
Step 2
Check the machine’s capability. Modern laptops often come with built-in modems. These are seen via the ports visible from the exterior of the laptop. Some machines come with dial-up modems. These will have a port used with a phone jack. The computer can also have a larger port for networking, or Ethernet, cables. These ports are larger to accommodate because of the 8-wire jack compared to the four wires used for phone jacks. The notebook computer can also come equipped for wireless Internet. In this case, a button is seen near the keyboard. This button often has an icon similar to a satellite. Users can press this to access any available wireless network.
Step 3
In case a built-in modem is not included, or the modem does not fit with the desired connection, a new modem needs to be purchased. These can come in several forms. Some are connected via an ExpressCard, PC card, or PCMCIA slot on the laptop. More recent ones can also be connected via firewire or USB slots. Make sure to choose one compatible with the machine and the Internet connection chosen.
Step 4
Once the laptop is ready to connect to the Internet, users need to consider the Internet service to use. Several ISPs offer a variety of connection plans and packages. Some offer additional incentives with the contract such as free gadgets, discounts, and the like. Users can also choose to access a free wireless network for their Internet connection.
Step 5
If a dial-up connection is chosen, users need to avail of the proper equipment. A phone jack is commonly used. In most cases, dial-up connections are routed through a phone line already available in the user’s location. The phone itself may be removed entirely, connecting the line directly to the laptop. A phone jack may also be connected to the laptop from the phone, similar to making the computer an extension of the phone.
Step 6
If a DSL connection is used, the ISP provider may need to connect wires directly to the user’s location. These wires are connected to the computer using an Ethernet cable.
Step 7
Once the laptop is connected via cables to the wired Internet source, the connection has to be configured. When using a Windows XP computer, the user needs to go to the Network Connections window. Users can then check the Network Tasks listed at the left side and click on the 'Create a new connection' option. Users can then follow the command prompts to choose the correct options. ISPs may give users an installer or configuration instructions for this. Once the new connection is created, users can double click on the icon to access the Internet.
Step 8
When connecting to a wireless network, users can simply check for networks in range. If using a Windows XP computer, this can be done via the Network Connections window as well. Simply click on the 'Wireless Network Connection' icon. This will open a program window that shows all available networks. Choose and connect to one to get an active Internet connection.