How to connect cable internet to a wireless router

Written by hannelore davis
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How to connect cable internet to a wireless router
Two ports you may see on the back of your modem. (DSL Modem Detail image by Rob Hill from

Connecting cable Internet to a wireless router is generally not a difficult task. Different brands of cable modems will operate in the same way, just like most wireless routers operate in the same way. There may be some differences in the light indicators on different routers, or the locations of the ports and wiring, but these differences have a small bearing on how to connect the devices.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Cable modem
  • Wireless router
  • Ethernet cable

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  1. 1

    Turn off all of your equipment. For your modem and router, this is as simple as unplugging the power cords from the back of your devices. If it is easier, unplugging the respective cords from the power outlet will work just as well. If you are planning to use any other devices, such as a computer or a gaming system, power those down as well.

  2. 2

    Take one end of the Ethernet cord and plug it into the back of the modem. There will be only one spot where it can fit. Ensure the cord is secure in the jack. It is similar to a telephone cord, and should make a "click" sound when plugged in correctly.

    How to connect cable internet to a wireless router
    A typical Ethernet cord. Usually comes in yellow, grey or blue. (yellow network cable image by Adkok from
  3. 3

    Plug the other end of the Ethernet cord into the wireless router. Unlike a modem, a wireless router will have multiple places where an Ethernet cable could be plugged in. Choosing the correct spot is vital to ensuring everything will function properly. Most routers have five different ports. They should all be labelled. The Ethernet cord does not go into any port labelled with a number, or a word and a number, such as "LAN 1" or "LAN 2." The port to use will usually be labelled "WAN," or "Internet." On some routers, this port will be spaced away from the other four ports. On other routers, it may be one colour, usually yellow, while each of the other four will be the same colour as each other, but a different colour from the first, such as blue.

    How to connect cable internet to a wireless router
    An example of the back of a router. (wlan router 02 image by pmphoto from
  4. 4

    Plug the cable modem back in and turn it on. Wait until the lights turn on. You may not see all of the lights flashing, but as long as all of the necessary lights turn solid, the modem will be working fine.

  5. 5

    Finally, plug the power cord for the wireless router back in. If you are planning to add wireless devices, you can power them back on after the router has been on for a full two minutes.

Tips and warnings

  • If your ports on the back of your router are colour coded, it is recommended that you use an Ethernet cable of the corresponding colour to connect to your modem. This will make it easier in the future to rearrange cords, or to figure out what is plugged into where, if the need arises.
  • Make sure you are using an Ethernet cable. While they look similar to phone cords, they are different, and a phone cord will not work.
  • If you are using a power strip, or surge protector, do not substitute turning off the strip for unplugging your devices when powering down. It is important for the modem to come on fully and receive a signal first. If you just turn the power strip off and on, the router may come on first, which can sometimes cause issues.

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