Can I Install Internet by Myself?

You can install internet by yourself if your home is wired properly for internet service and if your provider has a self-installation option available.

Self-installation isn’t always an option—some providers require a professional to install your internet service because of wiring issues and other complications. But if self-installation is available, it’s a great way to cut down on extra internet costs. You can use a kit to set everything up, so there’s no need to pay for a technician to come over. Setup is relatively easy, too, so long as you have a bit of technical know-how.

Here’s everything you’ll need to figure out whether you can install your internet by yourself, how to install your own internet, and how much a self-installation will cost.

Looking to get internet?

Are you shopping around and looking for a way to get new internet at your home? The first step is running a search with your zip code below to see what internet plans are available in your area–then you can look at pricing and sign up from there.

How do you install internet?

ProviderSelf-install?Installation costsContact for setupView installation guideView plans
Xfinity YesFree (self-install), $39.99 (Self Install Plus)1-800-934-6489View Installation GuideView Plans
Yes (in some cases)Free (self-install), $49.00 (pro installation)1-800-288-2020View Installation Guide
Spectrum Yes$19.99 (self-install), $49.99 (pro install)1-855-707-7328View Installation GuideView Plans
CenturyLink Yes$15.00 (standard install), $99.00 (pro install)1-866-642-0444View Installation GuideView Plans
RCN YesFree1-800-746-4726View Installation GuideView Plans
EarthLink No$79.95 (pro install)1-866-383-3080N/AView Plans
Frontier No$85.00 (DSL activation)1-877-650-7509View Installation GuideView Plans
Windstream No$50.00 (activation), $35.00 (pro install)1-833-597-1029View Installation GuideView Plans
NoFree1-800-922-0204View Installation Info
T-Mobile YesFree1-800-937-8997View Installation InfoView Plans

Depending on the internet provider and plan you get, you can install your new internet package by doing it yourself or by hiring a professional technician to do it for you.

When you choose to self-install, your internet provider will send you an installation kit in the mail. Once it arrives, follow the instructions to plug everything in and get your Wi-Fi working.

Not all internet providers have self-installation options, though. That’s because some homes don’t have the right wiring installed—especially for newer technologies like fiber and 5G home internet. It’s likely you won’t be able to self-install if you don’t have phone or coaxial jacks on your walls, or if there isn’t a optical network terminal for fiber installed somewhere in the house.

If that’s the case where you live, you’ll need a technician to set everything up. They might even need to lay cable underground or run wiring from your home into a utility box on the street.

Pro tip:

Self-installation is usually your cheapest option, but you can often get deals on professional installation too. Take a look at our best internet deals page for the latest installation discounts.

How to self-install internet in 5 steps

There are a few basic things you’ll need to do to get that internet gravy flowing with your self-installation. Of course, not all providers are the same, so we have more details about specific internet providers farther down on this page, along with links to more detailed installation guides.

Step 1: Pull your modem or gateway (a standalone modem/ONT and router unit) out of the box and connect it to the wall. Depending on your internet type, you’ll need to plug your DSL modem or gateway into a phone jack, your cable modem or gateway into a coaxial jack, or your fiber gateway into an optical or Ethernet jack.

If you have a gateway, move on to Step 3. For modems, continue to Step 2.

Step 2: Plug your DSL or cable modem into your router with an Ethernet cable.

Step 3: If possible, place your router or gateway in a centrally located part of your home so the Wi-Fi signal can travel better. Keep them away from walls, bulky furniture, and electrical appliances that might interfere with its radio signals.

Step 4: Once you plug them in, check to make sure your router and modem (or gateway) are blinking properly. The light indicating the status of your internet connection is typically labeled WAN, Internet, or with a globe icon. You can tell it’s working if the light is solid or blinking.

Step 5: Sign on to your Wi-Fi. Look for your router’s SSID (the name of your Wi-Fi network) in the Wi-Fi menu on your phone, computer, or other device. Type in the network’s default password—it’s usually printed on your router or on the box it came in.

Voila! You’re online. If you need more details, head farther down this page for more details about installation from specific providers.

Pro tip:

Once you’ve finished setting everything up, take an internet speed test to make sure you’re getting the speeds you’re paying for.

Sometimes Wi-Fi speeds fluctuate. We recommend running multiple speed tests throughout the day to see if your bandwidth changes.

What’s better: self-installation or pro installation?

If it’s available to you, self-installation is better for internet service because it saves you money and doesn’t require setting up an appointment with a technician.

However, self-installation requires a bit of technical skill. And you’ll have to handle technical issues and troubleshooting on your own, which can be frustrating. So hire a pro if you want to be completely hands-off.

Professional installation usually costs anywhere from $40 to $85, depending on the provider. Self-installation is often much cheaper, ranging from $30 all the way down to no extra cost at all. But you still may be on the hook for activation fees and shipping costs.

Pro installation

Pros:

  • Technician handles all issues
  • No technical knowledge required

Cons:

  • Installation fees can be expensive
  • Appointment times may be inconvenient

Self-installation

Pros:

  • No required appointments
  • Lower installation fees (or none at all)

Cons:

  • Some technical knowledge required
  • Troubleshooting and technical problems fall on you to solve

Want to compare the best internet plans in your area? Enter your zip code below.

Pro tip:

Want some tips on how to make switching internet providers go smoothly? Read our guide to transferring your internet for a hassle-free experience.

What equipment do you need to install your internet by yourself?

You’ll need a self-installation kit to set up your internet and get the Wi-Fi flowing throughout your house. You will also need a modem and a router, which you can either rent from your internet provider or buy yourself.

A self-installation kit usually includes these important items:

  • Modem/router (if you’re renting one from your provider)
  • Coaxial or phone cable
  • Power cord
  • Ethernet cable

If you have fiber internet, you’ll use an optical cable instead of a coaxial or phone cable. However, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to set up fiber internet on your own.

Pro tip:

Confused about which cables are which? Read our guide to connecting a router for a helpful diagram.

Which is the best router to buy for home use?

The best router to buy for home use is Google Nest Wi-Fi, a mesh system that gives you the fastest possible speeds and coverage of up to 2,200 square feet.

But really the best router depends on your home setup and what you’ll use the internet for. We have a bunch of recommendations on different routers and their strengths—take a look to see which is best for you.

Taking us back to the topic of installation, we’ve got more details down below on what you’ll want to know as you set up Wi-Fi from various internet providers.

Search your zip code below to see which of these providers offer internet service in your area.

Details

  • Self-install kit: Free or $29.95 for priority shipping
  • Self Install Plus: $39.99

Xfinity self-installation

Basic self-installation doesn’t cost anything extra with Xfinity. A kit will be sent to you over standard shipping, which will take three to five business days to arrive. You can also delay your shipment by up to 25 days if you’re not ready to receive the kit yet.

If you’re in a hurry, you can have the self-install kit sent over priority shipping for $29.95. That reduces the shipping time to one to two business days.

Xfinity doesn’t have any proper professional installation options right now, but you can pay $39.99 for Self Install Plus. A technician will come to your house with your self-install kit. They’ll help you set everything up and make sure the connections work.

Details

  • Self-install kit: Free
  • Pro install: $49.00

AT&T self-installation

You can opt for free self-installation with many AT&T plans. But sometimes you will need to pay for the pro installation—namely if AT&T doesn’t have fiber-to-the-home wiring set up in your place already. In that case, professional installation will cost you $49.

Details

  • Self-install kit and activation: $19.99
  • Pro install: $49.99 (not currently available)
  • WiFi Pod install: $49.99

Spectrum self-installation

Spectrum combines the self-install kit and service activation into a one-time fee of $19.99. Professional installation is usually $49.99, but Spectrum has temporarily suspended pro installs due to COVID-19.

Details

  • Self-install kit: N/A
  • “No-contact” install: $79.95 (free with coupon code)

Astound Broadband powered by RCN self-installation

Astound Broadband (RCN) has no-contact installation, so basically a technician comes to your place with the kit to set everything up and then stands in the doorway (or somewhere at a safe distance) and gives you step-by-step instructions. The technician can come inside with your permission to resolve any issues.

Installation from Astound technically costs $79.95, but you may be able to get a break on pricing, depending on your service area.

Details

  • DSL activation: $85.00

Frontier self-installation

Frontier offers only professional installation—it currently does not have a self-install kit. The activation fee for DSL is $85, while activation is free for fiber.

However, we were intrigued to find that Frontier’s website has a lot of information about how to self-install your internet even though it currently doesn’t offer self-install kits. For fiber, you’ll already need a fiber-to-the-home connection—including an optical network terminal (ONT)—to self-install all the cables (coax or Ethernet), MoCA amplifiers, and the router. DSL is less intensive to self-install.

Frontier’s website is a little difficult to navigate, but you can find everything you need in the Self-Installation Guides and Videos section. Be sure to ask customer service if self-installation is available as you’re filling out your order: you might be able to save some mun muns.

Details

  • Activation: $50.00
  • Install: $35.00
  • Internet-ready phone jack install: $65.00

Windstream self-installation

Windstream requires a $50 activation fee (required even if you self-install) plus a $35 installation fee for professional installation. You can elect for self-installation, but you’ll need a special “internet-ready” phone jack installed in your house.

DSL internet uses regular phone jacks to give you internet service. But if you have phone service in addition to DSL, you need a splitter in order for both your internet and phones to work at the same time. A splitter—which you can find for cheap on Amazon—filters out all the high frequencies that are used by your DSL signal so that only the vocal frequencies come out the phone.

It’s unclear from Windstream’s website if that phone jack is any different than a regular phone jack in most peoples’ homes, if it comes with a built-in splitter or anything like that. But installing a jack costs $65. If you choose self-installation, Windstream will mail you a kit.

Details

  • Install: Free

View T-Mobile Home Internet

T-Mobile Home Internet self-installation

You don’t need a pro to set up T-Mobile’s new, 4G LTE– and 5G–based home internet service. According to one review of how it works, you’ll get a package in the mail with a T-Mobile Home Internet Gateway (a combination modem/router).1 You’ll then need to follow the instructions on the T-Mobile Home Internet app to set everything up.

This is a fairly new service, so you may need to fiddle around a bit with the settings to make sure everything works correctly. But setup is simple, and it doesn’t cost extra.

Details

  • Pro install: Free

Verizon 5G Home Internet installation

Professional installation is required with Verizon’s 5G Home Internet service. It’s a new technology, and it may take a little extra effort to dial in the connection properly. A technician will come to your house to install a 5G Internet Gateway—a combination modem/router that’s designed to pick up radio signals from a 5G cellular transmitter on the street.

Installation doesn’t cost extra—just set up an appointment when you sign up for the service.

Looking for a sweet new internet setup? Search below to see what’s available in your area.

Sources

  1. Rick Broida, CNET, “T-Mobile’s $60 Home Internet Service: The Cheapskate Review,” May 5, 2021. Accessed June 23, 2021.

Author -

Peter Holslin has more than a decade of experience working as a writer and freelance journalist. He graduated with a BA in liberal arts and journalism from New York City’s The New School University in 2008 and went on to contribute to publications like Rolling Stone, VICE, BuzzFeed, and countless others. At HighSpeedInternet.com, he focuses on covering 5G, nerding out about frequency bands and virtual RAN, and producing reviews on emerging services like 5G home internet. He also writes about internet providers and packages, hotspots, VPNs, and Wi-Fi troubleshooting.

Editor - Cara Haynes

Cara Haynes has been editing and writing in the digital space for seven years, and she's edited all things internet for HighSpeedInternet.com for five years. She graduated with a BA in English and a minor in editing from Brigham Young University. When she's not editing, she makes tech accessible through her freelance writing for brands like Pluralsight. She believes no one should feel lost in internet land and that a good internet connection significantly extends your life span.