There are four basic ways in which you can hook up your laptop to the Internet - dial up, broadband, wireless, and mobile. In this introductory guide we look at how to connect your laptop to the Internet using each of these four methods.
Hook Up Your Laptop to the Internet via Dial Up Connection
Before broadband and cable, laptops were connected to the Internet via dial-up connections. Dial up connections can either be through pre-paid cards which are pre-loaded with Internet connectivity hours or through a dial-up account with an ISP. Either way requires you to install software that will dial-up the access number provided by the ISP. You also need to connect the modem in your laptop to your phone outlet using a standard phone cable. Once this is set up, you just fire up the dial-up software and connect to the Internet.
Hook Up Your Laptop to the Internet via Broadband Connection
While the dial-up connection utilizes your laptop's built-in modem, an Ethernet connection requires a stand-alone modem provided by a broadband Internet company. You connect this modem to your computer using an Ethernet cable. Some broadband subscriptions require special software to be installed on your laptop, but most allow you to immediate connect to the Internet after you've run a cable from the modem to your laptop. Your laptop's network configuration will be automatically set up. The cost of acquiring a broadband Internet connection varies by provider and geographic location.
Hook Up Your Laptop to the Internet via Wireless Connection
Of course, the trend today is what is known as WiFi. The idea is you hook up your laptop to the Internet using a wireless access point, more commonly known as WiFi hotspot. WiFi connectivity runs on a high-speed Internet connection and gives out varying speeds measured in terms of MBPS. At home, you can also use your existing broadband connection to connect via WiFi. You just need to install a wireless router to your broadband modem and set up an SSID network name and a wireless channel. Then, you can let your laptop connect through a wireless connection using your broadband Internet.
Hook Up Your Laptop to the Internet via 3G/HSDPA
The idea here is to use your mobile phone as a data communication device. Previously, some mobile phones had a built-in modem which let you connect to the Internet by hooking up your laptop to your mobile phone. This method utilized your mobile data service plans.
With the advent of 3G or HSDPA network, you can now easily hook up your laptop to the Internet via 3G. All you need to do is to set up your mobile phone and your laptop to communicate with each other. Your laptop will use your mobile phone 3G data network to get through the Internet. Unlike free WiFi, hooking up your laptop to the Internet using your mobile phone's 3G capability doesn't come cheap. The overall cost depends on how much your cellular data provider charges for airtime connectivity.