Connect Laptop to Internet?

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Vicky F. writes:

" Hello, and good day to you! I just want to know how can I connect to the Internet using a laptop with a built-in modem? Do I still need an Internet Service Provider (ISP) or can I just hook up my laptop to the cable outlet? I am a newbie on this stuff, and I will really appreciate it if you could give me some insight. "

My response:

The built-in modem you are referring to is for dial-up (I.E.: phone line) Internet access, which is very slow compared to a cable modem or DSL connection. Should you decide to use dial-up Internet, all that is required is a phone cord (to connect the laptop to a phone jack) and Internet access from an Internet Service Provider.

RE: High Speed Internet Access and a Laptop

To connect the laptop using high speed Internet, an Ethernet connection is needed to connect the cable / DSL modem to your laptop (in addition to Internet access from an ISP).

If your laptop is fairly new, it should have a network connection already; if not, you will need a USB Ethernet adaptor or PCMCIA network card which connects to the cable / DSL modem. The USB connector is usually located at the back of the laptop, where a PCMCIA slot is typically located on the side.

In all, a typical laptop + high speed Internet connection might look something like this: [laptop] -> [Ethernet connection] -> [cable modem / DSL] -> [high speed outlet] -> [ISP] -> [Internet]

Side note: USB stands for Universal Serial Bus. PCMCIA is an acronym which stands for "Personal Computer Memory Card International Association ... [The credit-card style adapters are commonly used in] notebook computers. [The PCMCIA standard] has three card types: Type I cards can be up to 3.3 mm thick and are generally used for RAM and ROM expansion cards; Type II cards can be as thick as 5.5 mm and typically house modems and fax modems; Type III cards can be as thick as 10.5 mm and are mostly used for hard disks. PCMCIA support is a major component of Windows 95's Plug and Play architecture, which automatically recognizes when PCMCIA devices are added and removed." (Source:

RE: Sharing High Speed Internet (broadband) with Desktop PCs and a Laptop

If you already have High Speed Internet and more than once PC, you can use a Router with a built in Switch to share your Internet access. I personally use (and recommend) the LinkSys BEFSR41 Router / Switch combo -- it was very simple to set up. You can pick up a LinkSys Router at just about any major electronics / computer outlet (Circuit City, Future Shop, etc).

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