Windows Vista : The Wired Ethernet Network - Connect the Hardware

9/4/2012 9:36:14 PM
Take inventory of all the hardware you’ve purchased and you own. You should have a hub, switch, or router and possibly a cable, DSL, or satellite modem. You’ll also have an Ethernet cable for connecting each computer. You’ll have two types of setup options as well: one that includes a broadband modem and one that does not.

Connect a Cable, DSL, or Satellite Modem

If you have an external modem (cable, DSL, satellite) and you are not sure whether it’s connected properly or need to reinstall it, this section shows you how to connect it. For the most part, this won’t be necessary because if you already use a modem, it’ll already be set up and configured.

To set up a broadband modem, follow these steps:

Connect the modem to the PC with the Windows Vista operating system. You can make the connection by using a USB or Ethernet port. For security reasons, connecting with Ethernet is the better choice.

Connect the modem to the cable outlet in the wall, and verify it’s connected to a power outlet. Turn on the modem. Insert the CD that came with your modem, and follow the installation instructions.

Verify the proper lights are blinking or lit on the modem before continuing.

Connect a Hub, Switch, or Router

Physically connecting a hub or switch usually doesn’t require a lot of effort. For the most part, it’s as simple as inserting the Ethernet cables properly. Installing a router is a bit more complex and requires you to carefully follow the directions that came with it. So before you get started, read the documentation that came with your hardware, and then continue to the next section.

Hubs and Switches

Hubs and switches are generally plug and play, which means you can connect the hub or switch, install any device drivers that came with it, and then plug in your PCs without any additional configuration required.

To install a hub or switch, follow these steps:

Turn on your Windows Vista–based PC, and log on with an administrator account.

Connect the hub or switch to a power supply, and turn it on.

Look at the hardware panel for blinking lights. The hub will perform several self-tests. Read any documentation that came with the hub before continuing.

Connect the hub to the PC via Ethernet. When connecting, make sure you use the hub’s Ethernet port marked 1, 2, 3, 4, or another number. Do not connect by using the wide area network (WAN) port on the hub or switch; that’s to connect your cable modem.

If prompted, insert the driver disc that came with the hub or switch. This may not be necessary, because Windows Vista may install the hub automatically.

Verify the light is on at the hub for the Ethernet port you used to connect the PC. You’ll add other PCs by connecting them to the hub or switch.

To include a cable, DSL, or satellite modem, follow these steps:

Perform the steps for installing the hub or switch as detailed in the previous example.

Turn off the PC and hub or switch.

Connect the hub to the modem with an Ethernet cable. From the modem, select the Ethernet port. From the hub or switch, select WAN. If the modem’s Ethernet port is being used to connect directly to a PC, disconnect it from both the PC and the modem.

Turn on the cable, DSL, or satellite modem. Wait at least two minutes for the modem to cycle through the self-tests. If it’s already on, turn it off and on again. (If you have a battery pack to keep it from turning off, remove that for a few seconds, and then reinsert it.)

Turn on the hub or switch. Wait at least two minutes for the hardware to perform the self-tests.

Turn on the PC that is connected directly to the hub or switch.

Open the Network and Sharing Center. You’ll see something similar to what’s shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. The network is connected properly.


Before setting up your router, read all the instructions that came with it. You’ll have to connect to the Internet to make it work, and you’ll have to use Internet Explorer when configuring the router. Because setup differs from manufacturer to manufacturer, it’s impossible to cover the exact steps here. However, generally you’ll need to do the following:

Install the router software. The software is on a disc included with the router.

Connect the router to the cable modem and a PC. The router sits in the (virtual) middle of the router and the PC. The router’s WAN port connects to the modem’s Ethernet port; one of the router’s Ethernet ports connects to the PC’s Ethernet port.

Run the setup wizard provided by the router manufacturer. This process will help you log on to the router by using a Web browser and the router’s IP address. To log on, you’ll use the generic user name and password provided. Once logged on, change your user name and password, and continue the setup process.

When logged on and at the router’s setup screen, configure how your ISP obtains an IP address. Almost always it’s via Obtain An IP Address Automatically. If you aren’t sure, call your ISP.

Save the changes and continue.


If you have a PC that does not have a port for plugging in an Ethernet cable (a.k.a. Ethernet card or NIC), you have several choices. You can purchase a NIC, open the case, and install the card; you can take the computer to a computer repair shop and let the technicians add the card; or you can purchase a USB-to-Ethernet converter. The latter is the easiest; all you have to do is insert the hardware into any open USB port.

Understand the Boot Order for Hardware

If you are positive you’ve connected the hub, switch, router, cable modem, and Ethernet cables properly but you do not have access to the Internet or networked PCs, you need to recycle your hardware. You must do this in a specific order to work, as listed here. Before starting, turn off the PCs and unplug the hub, switch, or router.


Unplug the power cord to the modem. If the modem has a battery backup that does not allow it to turn off, take out the battery as well. After a minute or so, plug the modem back in, and reinsert the battery if applicable. The cable modem will boot and run through myriad self-tests. After it’s fully rebooted (usually between 30 seconds and 2 minutes after restoring power), continue.


Turn on the hub, switch, or router by plugging it back in and turning it on if necessary. Wait for another few minutes to make sure the router has completed rebooted.


Restart the PCs that are connected to the router.

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