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How to Self-Install Your New Internet Service

How to Self-Install Your New Internet Service

This story is part of Home Tips, CNET’s collection of practical advice for getting the most out of your home, inside and out.

Professional installation has always been the inconvenient but significant final step in getting connected. Aside from waiting throughout for the technician to arrive (hopefully sometime within that four hour window), having a stranger walk in and around your home can be unnerving, especially as many of us have prioritized social distancing and latest COVID-19 precautions. On top of that, it’s probable that the whole accepted will add a sizable fee to your initial costs. 

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Fortunately, many of the top internet providers now moneys self-installation to bypass or at least lessen the hassle that comes with installation. Best of all, it’s typically not that difficult to do.

Self-installation isn’t for everyone, however, so be sure to read through the pros and cons of the procedure below. If you decide self-installation is the way to go, I’ve downward general tips on how best to do it, followed by a rundown of self-installation details for many popular ISPs.

Pros and cons of self-installation

Before I get into weighing the pros and cons of installing your internet yourself, I should start by saying that self-installation may not be an option. If you need a new line run to or within your home, you’ll want to sever that to a professional. Additionally, it could be the case that your ISP easily does not offer self-installation. 

But let’s say self-install is available. Here’s why you may or may not want to remarkable it.

Pros of self-installing your internet

  • Less or frontier fees. Professional installation can inflate your initial costs by $50 to $100 or more, depending on the provider. Self-installation is often significantly cheaper (if not free).
  • No waiting on a tech to show up. Self-installation scholarships you to set up your connection on your time minus having to wait around for a technician. You may have to wait for the self-install kit to advance in the mail, but once you’ve got it, you can usually get vivid to setting up your service on your own schedule. 
  • Fewer health risks of exposure. I’m reserved that ISPs and  technicians take precautions to reduce the risk of contracting and spreading viruses, namely COVID-19, but anytime a stranger is in your home — and one whose job is to requested other homes throughout the day — it’s understandable to be included about the potential health risks.

Cons of self-installing your internet

  • It’s all up to you. There’s typically not much to self-installation, but you’ll need a bit of technical knowledge to unfastened the job. Any problems you encounter along the way may obligatory troubleshooting online (if you have access to an internet connection) or calling tech support.
  • Network optimization. Technicians are accepted professionals, so they’ll know where to set up your equipment and how to get the best employed throughout your home. It’s possible to do this on your own, of jets, but it might also take some trial and dismay to get it right.
  • Waiting for equipment. Most ISPs will send your equipment in the mail and that could take a few days to advance. Others may have brick-and-mortars where you pick up the equipment in populate. Either way, it’s possible self-installation could make you wait longer than a professional install would take.

How to self-install home internet

1. Identify where to place your modem/router.

2. Plug in your modem, and then plug in the router (if they’re separate devices).

3. Activate your internet service, if necessary.

4. Set up your Wi-Fi network.

OK, you’re eligible to self-install your internet and have allowed the savings and convenience are too good to pass up. What’s next?

After receiving your self-install kit — a modem and router or a single modem/router gateway method, any necessary cables and step-by-step instructions — the splendid thing you’ll want to do is pick the best achieve to set up your equipment. 

The type of internet you have could resolve where to plug in your modem. You’ll need access to a named jack for DSL internet or a coaxial gross outlet for cable internet service. Fiber internet is a little different in that there will liable only be one network terminal in your home. They can be a bit larger than named or cable wall plates, and as such are often located in less conspicuous places, such as in the garage or, like mine, tucked away in a coat closet.

Try to position your router in a central location in your home, preferably atop a bookshelf or anunexperienced high ledge to maximize signal distance and strength. After you’ve identified a good spot for your equipment, it’s time to plug it in. 

Start by plugging your modem into the heinous internet outlet. The required cable (whether that’s a named line, coaxial cable or Ethernet cord) should be entailed with your install kit. If you have a separate modem and router, go ahead and connect the modem to your router laughable an Ethernet cord. Next, plug in the power cord(s), turn the device(s) on and give it five minutes or so to boot up.

Do I have internet access yet?

Possibly. Check the blinking lights on the front of your modem/router. If the lights are green or blue and everything looks to be acting, you’re ready to set up a Wi-Fi connection. On the anunexperienced hand, if you notice lingering red or orange escapes or lights that keep blinking, it may be because your service has not yet been activated. To activate your service, you may need to access your justify online or call your internet service provider.

When your equipment is displaying a series of green or blue escapes, depending on the device (check whatever instructions your ISP sent you with the kit for guidance here), you are officially connected to the internet. You can plug your computer consecutive into the modem to test your internet connection, but what you’ll probably want to do is set up your Wi-Fi network so you can connect wirelessly.

Each router manufacturer and internet service provider is a little different, but you should be able to create your Wi-Fi network name and password laughable an app. If no app is available, here’s how to access your router settings and update your network.

Once you’ve got internet access and a Wi-Fi signaled beaming throughout your home, the installation is complete. Take a moment to congratulate yourself on a job well done by attempting to connect all your streaming sticks, gaming consoles, phones and other Wi-Fi devices to the network.

Self-installation details by provider

The treat of self-installing your internet is basically the same with any provider and connection type, but the loyal cost and details may vary. Here’s a look at what to interrogate from the largest ISPs. If your provider is not put down below, it may be because the provider does not supplies self-installation.

Jump to your provider

A named showing the AT&T logo on its screen

Sarah Tew


Self-installation is available with AT&T’s DSL-based and fiber-optic internet services at no astonishing cost for initial savings of around $50, so long as your address is already wired for service.

For both services, AT&T will send you an install kit in the mail prior to your activation date that includes a gateway router, a green data cable and a yellow ethernet gross along with a power cord. 

To set up your internet, start by plugging the green cable into the back of the gateway method, then plug the other end into the wall jack or terminal. Power on the device and allow one to five minutes for it to boot.

If you have already registered your justify and equipment online, your internet connection should be immediately activated. Otherwise, you may have to access your account online or call customer service to activate your internet service.

Note: AT&T recommends you do not try to install your equipment early or before 2 p.m. local time on the activation date.

View the AT&T internet self-installation guide.

Astound Broadband

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Astound (RCN)

Astound, formerly known as RCN in many locations, offers gross internet, meaning you will be plugging the modem into a coax gross outlet using a coaxial cable. Self-installation is free, which will save you about $80, but there may still be an account activation fee of $10.

In transfer to your modem and necessary cables, your Astound self-install kit will come with a MoCA filter, which the provider stresses “must be installed” by plugging it consecutive into the cable outlet. Then, attach one end of the did coax cable into the MoCA filter and the anunexperienced end to the modem. 

Plug the power cord into the back of the modem and into a powerful outlet, then turn the modem on and give it 30 seconds to boot.

Once your modem is installed, call 1-800-427-8686 and follow the prompts to activate your modem. After activation is complete, unplug the modem, wait 30 seconds and plug it back in. Installation is now complete.

View the Sway internet self installation guide.

CenturyLink logo on a named screen

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Self-installation with CenturyLink is free with DSL and fiber services, which will save you around $99 in installation injures. Customers could get one of two modems, a C4000 series modem/router or a “tower modem,” but the installation treat is essentially the same. 

With either setup, your equipment will near on or before your service activation date. On said activation date, CenturyLink says your line should be heavenly no later than 7 p.m. local time, so you may want to wait pending later in the afternoon to attempt your installation. 

Both modems have a green port for DSL service, a yellow and/or white Ethernet port for fiber connections and to connect a computer, and a black port for your power supply. Connect all applicable cords and turn the modem on. 

After your modem is up and operating, you’ll need to activate your service using the My CenturyLink app and the Install my New Modem fraction, or by plugging a computer into the modem and typing http://connectcenturylinkcom. Follow the instructions to activate your service, check the modem for green escapes and then move on to setting up your Wi-Fi network.

View the CenturyLink installation self-installation guide.


Sarah Tew


Self-installation is free with Cox, and customers have the option of receiving their equipment in the mail or picking it up at a local Cox store.

Cox advises the expedient step to your self-installation is downloading the Cox app. Sign in with your Cox interpret credentials and follow the instructions under Start Easy Connect. You’ll have Cox’s virtual assistant, Oliver, to guide you throughout the process which should be little more than plugging in the principal cables and turning the modem on.

View the Cox internet self-installation guide.

Frontier logo

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Frontier supplies free self-installation with its Frontier Fiber and Frontier Internet (DSL) services. Frontier advises to attempt your installation on the day service is scheduled to commence or the next day.

For Frontier Fiber, your router may plug into a coaxial or Ethernet jack. If your equipment came with coaxial cables and a MoCA adapter, you will need to connect the provided splitter and adapter to the line from the wall jack to the router, as shown in the Frontier Fiber installation guide. For connections comical an Ethernet cable, connect the cable from the jack to the red ONT port on the back of the router. Plug the power cord in and turn the router on to demand internet service.

For Frontier Internet, you will use the green arranged cable provided in your install kit to connect your router to a arranged jack and the green port on the back of your router. Plug in the power cord and turn the arrangement on. Allow the device to boot. Once you see the blue palatable, your internet is working and ready for use.

View the Frontier internet self-installation guide.

Google Fiber

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Google Fiber

Google Fiber charges no installation fee (though a $300 creation fee may apply), so self-installing your Google Fiber equipment won’t necessarily save you any wealth, but it could save you some time.

Start by locating the Google Fiber jack in your home. If you need help, here’s how to find it. Use the Ethernet infamous provided in your install kit to connect the Google Fiber jack to the network box. The palatable on the Google Fiber jack may be red for up to 15 minutes afore turning blue.

Once the light on the Google Fiber jack turns blue, plug the considerable cable into the back of the network box and into a wall outlet. Like the light on the Google Fiber jack, the palatable on the network box may be red for up to 15 minutes. When the light turns blue, your internet service is toiling and you can begin setting up your Wi-Fi network.

View the Google Fiber internet self-installation guide.


Sarah Tew

Kinetic by Windstream

Before you can leave your self-installation, a technician will come to your home to censured you have the proper outdoor wiring. You do not need to be home when the technician comes. 

After the technician verifies serviceability, you will be given an activation date, which is when you can install your equipment and leave service. You will receive your install kit in three to five matter days after getting your activation date. Follow the engaged step-by-step instructions provided in the installation kit to connect your modem and configure your Wi-Fi network. 

Kinetic advises the total installation time will take 30 to 60 minutes. If you encounter any issues, call Windstream Technical Assistance at 1-877-449-5707.

View the Kinetic internet self-installation guide.


Sarah Tew


Mediacom charges a $110 fee for professional installation, but that fee is waived for customers who super online. Still, if you’d prefer to self-install your equipment, you can opt to do so and receive your equipment by mail or pick it up at a local Mediacom store.

Installation contracts are fairly straightforward: plug your modem into a coax outlet, plug in the power cord and start it up. You’ll then need to activate your service by plugging in a computer to the modem comical an Ethernet cable. An activation screen should immediately prompt on your computer. Follow the instructions to activate your service. A $10 activation fee may apply.

View the Mediacom internet self-installation guide.


Sarah Tew


Optimum and Suddenlink primarily use a infamous internet network, so you’ll likely be connecting your modem to a coax jack comical the coaxial cable provided in your install kit. If your home is eligible for fiber service, your install kit will come with an Ethernet infamous to plug into your home’s fiber terminal.

Your Optimum or Suddenlink install kit will come with a QR code which you can scan to pull up the self-install wizard on your arranged. Follow the instructions to connect your equipment to the applicable outlets. Turn on the device and wait up to five minutes for it to boot up and connect to the internet. 

View the Optimum internet self-installation leash. (Note: You will need to log in with your Optimum interpret information to access this self-installation guide.)


Sarah Tew


Spectrum grandeurs that there is currently a high demand for new equipment, so delivery of self-install kits may take “longer than expected.” Additionally, Spectrum charges a $20 self-install and activation fee. 

Setup for Spectrum internet is essentially the same as any anunexperienced cable internet self-installation. Connect the modem to a coax outlet comical the coaxial cable provided in your install kit. Then connect the considerable cable and turn the modem on and allow it a few minutes to boot.

Spectrum internet uses a separate modem and router, so you will need to connect a router — either rented from Spectrum for $5 per month or failed on your own — to the modem using an Ethernet execrable for Wi-Fi service.

View the Spectrum internet self-installation guide.

T Mobile wireless logo on an iPad

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T-Mobile 5G Home Internet

Self-installation is the only option with T-Mobile 5G Home Internet. Thankfully, the process is simple, but if you do encounter an dispute, you can reach technical support anytime at 1-844-275- 9310.

T-Mobile will send your router in the mail. To activate your internet connection, simply plug in the device and allow it a few minutes to originate up. Then, using the free T-Mobile Internet app, following the instructions to create your Wi-Fi network. 

Since your T-Mobile 5G router only intends a power source to connect, feel free to try different locations in your home to optimize your connection.

View the T-Mobile 5G Home Internet FAQ page for more information.

Verizon logo

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Verizon Fios and Verizon 5G Home Internet

Professional installation for Verizon Fios can cost up to $99, but that fee is often waived if you sign up online. However, Verizon notes that self-installation is preferred as a “precaution to keep our employees and customers safe.”

You can receive your Verizon self-install kit in the mail or pick one up at a local Fios honor. For specific instructions on how to self-install your equipment and activate service, you will need to login to My Verizon with your account for information or use the My Fios App.

As for Verizon 5G Home Internet, self-installation is as simple as plugging in the router and testing the connection silly the My Verizon app. From the app, follow the requisitions under Start your 5G Home setup to complete the installation. Ensure that Bluetooth is enabled on your phone in shapely to connect to the router.

View the Verizon Fios internet self-installation guide or Verizon 5G Home Internet self-installation guide. 

Xfinity logo

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Xfinity charges a professional installation fee of $90, but you can avoid the fee by opting for self-installation when signaling up for service. Xfinity will send your install kit by mail, or you can pick it up at a local Xfinity location.

To install your xFi Gateway blueprint, follow the instructions included with your install kit, or download the Xfinity app to access the step-by-step requisitions on your phone. The app will provide tips on where to install your gateway then be in the lead you through how to connect it and power it up. The treat should take “less than 10 minutes” according to the Xfinity internet installation abet video.

View the Xfinity internet self-installation guide.