There could be several reasons why you may want to set up your broadband by yourself. Maybe the cost of requesting an engineer is too high, or your provider may not even offer such an option. 

Particularly in the current pandemic, a lot of network providers send out their engineers only to vulnerable customers.

Whatever the reason, it is quite simple to set up a broadband connection, but below we’ve prepared a step-by-step guide for you to follow.

Image: Virgin Media O2

Order your chosen broadband package

The first step is to select a broadband package from your chosen provider. These are the best broadband services in the UK

You will need some hardware to get your broadband up and running, but it will be sent to you by the provider you choose. Typically, this includes the router and modem (most routers will have the modem built-in), power adapter, an ADSL/VDSL filter, an Ethernet cable and a cable to connect the router to a socket somewhere in your home.

If you don’t have a phone line already set up at your property you might need to arrange for an engineer to come and install one if you're ordering broadband that requires one. It is not always essential to have a phone line for broadband, but you should confirm this before you purchase.

ADSL/VDSL broadband requires a phone line, as does 'fibre' broadband if it's not 'full fibre', because it still relies on a copper phone line running to your home.

Cable broadband doesn't require a phone line, instead using a coaxial cable which itself requires a special box on the wall in your home. Again, if you order cable broadband but don't have this box, an engineer will have to be arranged to install one.

Below you can see a cable box with a coaxial cable attached (left) and phone line (right) with no cable plugged in.

How to set up a broadband connection

How broadband is activated

The average waiting time for major network providers is 14 days if you have a phone line, but it can take up to 21 days if not. This is why it's worth arranging broadband in advance if you're moving home, or before an existing contract finishes. You probably don't want to be without broadband for weeks. 

However, BT’s Hybrid Connect broadband uses mobile data to allow immediate connection if you move to a different property. This is a temporary connection while you wait for the main broadband to be activated.

How to set up your broadband equipment

1. Connect the router

Once you’ve received your package, you can install the equipment after your broadband has been activated. There's no point in doing it before as it won't work.

First, take the cable that connects your router to the wall box (either coax or phone line) and plug one end into the corresponding port on your router and the other end into your wall box.

If you're setting up ADSL or VSDL, you might need to use an ADSL/VSDL filter if the socket doesn't have one built in. This separates the broadband signal out from the phone line. If you don't use it, your landline phone(s) won't work. 

2. Power up the router and switch it on

The next step is to connect the power cable to the router and a mains socket. 

Press the power button on the router to switch it on. If there is no power button, the router will automatically switch on when powered to the wall socket.

You will know that the router is on by the coloured lights that will appear. Different colours have different meanings. To see what they mean, take a look at the documents that come with the router. Also, read more on how to fix BT broadband connection problems.

Image: BT

3. Check the connection

The light(s) on your router should tell you if the broadband connection has been established, but you'll want to check by connecting devices to the router. You can either use Wi-Fi or Ethernet cables depending upon the device.

There should be a sticker on the router or a removable card with the Wi-Fi details on it if you're connecting a phone, tablet laptop or other wireless device.

Disable any mobile data connection (such as on your phone) and then test if you can access web pages and other online services. If you can, you've successfully set up your broadband connection.

You can test how fast it is using our separate guide, in order to find out if you're getting the speeds you were expecting.

Which providers allow self-installation?

Most of the major broadband providers allow self-installation. In fact, some providers only send out engineers as a last resort if any complications arise which mean you won’t be able to set up the broadband yourself.

The providers that offer this include:

  1. BT
  2. EE
  3. Virgin Media
  4. Vodafone
  5. Sky
  6. NOW Broadband

With so many providers available, it may be difficult to know which one to choose. Read our guide on how to choose a broadband service to help.

How to solve common broadband problems

Most routers can handle hundreds of devices at the same time. This means that you can connect your laptop, phone, tablet, smart TV and even guest devices to use the internet all at the same time.

Image: Linksys

The more devices that are using the connection, the slower it will be for each device, so do be aware of this. Find out more about how many devices can connect to a router at the same time.

If you find the internet speed is slow in rooms far away from the router, then you could consider getting a powerline adapter which might help to give you faster access to the internet than your router's Wi-Fi can. Here are some of the best powerline adapters on the market now. 

Another option is mesh Wi-Fi, which is effectively multiple routers which talk to each other using Wi-Fi and provide better coverage in larger homes.

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