Wireless modems are one of many ways to connect to the Internet, and are most popular among individuals without access to cable or DSL based Internet service. Wireless modems are sometimes the only choice for users in rural areas and operate either on radio frequencies or through a satellite connection. Wireless modem setup is best left to professionals, especially if the user is unfamiliar or uncomfortable with computer technology. However, for those that want to save a little money and do it themselves, setting up a wireless modem is by no means an impossible task.
Basic Wireless Modem Setup
Be aware that wireless modems are not truly wireless. In truth, wireless modem setup involves connecting the wireless modem to a dedicated antenna, often mounted on the outside of the dwelling. A wire connects the antenna to the modem, and the modem connects directly to a computer or router via an ethernet cable. Only the connection between the antenna and the Internet Service Provider (ISP) is wireless. To be able to share the Internet connection wirelessly within the dwelling, a user must additionally purchase and install a router of some type.
The Differences Between Wireless Modems and Wireless Routers
The term wireless modem is often mistaken for being the same thing as a wireless router. In truth the two devices are totally different, with the wireless modem providing the actual wireless connection to the Internet and the wireless router providing a way to allow multiple computers to access the modem through their own independent wireless connections. A user can get on the Internet with just a wireless modem, however that Internet connection cannot be split among additional computers without a router of some kind (via a wireless network or an Ethernet based network).
Connecting The Parts of a Wireless Modem Is Only Half of the Process
Once the antenna and wireless modem are installed and connected properly the modem must be activated and authorized by the ISP from which the user is purchasing service. This process is outside the boundaries of what can be covered in this article as setup methods from this point onward differ widely across providers. In general, an ISP will provide some type of instruction manual on how to set up and activate the modem connection, or the provider will offer telephone based support to help the user get the connection up and running.
Using the instructions and diagrams provided by the Internet Service Provider, installing, setting up, and activating a wireless modem is usually within the abilities of most homeowners who are willing to give up a few hours and install it on their own. Doing so can save a user hundreds of dollars in installation costs, but always be aware of physical limitations that may require a professional.