So, all you will need to setup your network using a broadband router is the router, of course, which is really cheap these days (they rang from USD 35 to USD 50 depending on the brand and extra features), one pin-to-pin network cable for each computer you want to connect to the network (this cable can be bought already assembled and is also called UTP, Unshielded Twisted Pair; your should buy a cable called Cat 5, which is usually blue or gray) and, of course, an available broadband connection (cable or ADSL).

UTP Network CableFigure 3: Typical network cable.

Your broadband modem (cable or ADSL) will be connected to a port labeled “WAN” on the router, while all computers will be connected to other available ports, usually labeled “LAN”. If you need more ports, you will need to buy an external switch and connect it to one of the available ports. You need to connect the other end of the cables to the LAN card located on the computers, of course. Nowadays all computers have integrated LAN port on the motherboard. If you have an older computer without this feature, you will need to buy and install a network card (also called 10/100 Network Card or NIC, Network Interface Card) on it.

Broadband RouterFigure 4: How to connect your broadband router.

The uplink button must be disabled. This button is used when you use a different kind of cable, called cross-over, which is not the case. The reset button can be useful in some repair situations. As you can see, you need to connect your router to its power supply.

LAN PortFigure 5: Example of a LAN port on a desktop.

LAN PortFigure 6: Example of a LAN port on a laptop.

You don’t need to worry about installing the network cable on the wrong jack: the network plug (which is called RJ-45) only fits the network card.

After hooking everything, turn on your broadband modem, turn on your router and turn on one of the computers to access the router configuration panel. You will need to do some basic configuration – for example, choosing the type of connection you have, cable or ADSL.

Gabriel Torres is a Brazilian best-selling ICT expert, with 24 books published. He started his online career in 1996, when he launched Clube do Hardware, which is one of the oldest and largest websites about technology in Brazil. He created Hardware Secrets in 1999 to expand his knowledge outside his home country.