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.
Want to do self-installation but still need a new internet provider? Run a search with your zip code below to see what internet plans are available in your area.
How do you install internet?
|Provider||Self-install?||Installation costs||Contact for setup||View installation guide||View plans|
|Xfinity||Yes||Free (self-install), $39.99 (Self Install Plus)||1-800-934-6489||View Installation Guide||View Plans|
|AT&T||Yes (in some cases)||Free (self-install), $49.00 (pro installation)||1-800-288-2020||View Installation Guide||View Plans|
|Spectrum||Yes||Free (self-install), $49.99 (pro install), $199.99 (gigabit)||1-855-707-7328||View Installation Guide||View Plans|
|CenturyLink||Yes||Free||1-866-642-0444||View Installation Guide||View Plans|
|RCN||Yes||Free||1-800-746-4726||View Installation Guide||View Plans|
|EarthLink||No||$79.95 (pro install)||1-866-383-3080||N/A||View Plans|
|Frontier||No||$85.00 (pro install)||1-877-650-7509||View Installation Guide||View Plans|
|Windstream||No||$50.00 (activation), $35.00 (pro install)||1-833-597-1029||View Installation Guide||View Plans|
|Verizon 5G Home Internet||No||Free||1-800-922-0204||View Installation Info||View Plan|
|T-Mobile Home Internet||Yes||Free||1-800-937-8997||View Installation Info||View Plan|
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.
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 out of the box and connect it to the wall. Depending on your internet type, you’ll need to plug your modem into a phone jack (for DSL), coaxial jack (for cable internet), or optical outlet (fiber internet).
Step 2: Plug your modem into your router with an Ethernet cable. Skip this step if you have a gateway, which combines a modem and router into one device.
Step 3: Make sure your router is placed in a centrally located part of your home so that the Wi-Fi signal can travel better. Keep the router away from walls, bulky furniture, and electrical appliances that might interfere with its radio signals.
Step 4: Once you’ve plugged them in, check to make sure your router and modem 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.
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.
- All issues handled by the technician
- No technical knowledge required
- Installation fees can be expensive
- Appointment times may be inconvenient
- No appointments required
- Lower installation fees (or none at all)
- Some technical knowledge required
- Troubleshooting and technical problems fall on you to solve
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.
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.
Amazon.com Price (as of 8/4/2021 10:15 MST). See full disclaimer.
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.
- Best Wi-Fi Routers
- Best Wi-Fi Routers for Online Gaming
- Best Wi-Fi Routers for Streaming
- Best Long-Range Routers
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.
- Self-install kit: Free or $29.95 for priority shipping
- Self Install Plus: $39.99
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.
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.
- Self-install kit: $9.99
- Pro install: $49.99 (not currently available)
- Activation fee for Spectrum Internet® Gig: $199.99
You’ll need to pay a one-time activation fee of $199.99 (!) to sign up for the Spectrum Internet Gig plan.
Otherwise, self-installation costs $9.99—you get the self-installation kit and set it all up yourself. Professional installation is usually $49.99, but Spectrum has temporarily suspended pro installs due to COVID-19.
- Self-install kit: N/A
- “No-contact” install: $79.95 (free with coupon code)
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 RCN technically costs $79.95, but you don’t need to worry about that. Just head to RCN’s coupon page and type in the coupon code for free installation when you sign up.
An agent on Frontier’s customer service chat line told us that Frontier offers only professional installation. The activation and installation fee is $85.
However, we were intrigued to find that Frontier’s website has a lot of information about how to self-install your internet. We also put together our own guide to self-installing Frontier internet. So it’s likely you can install your service yourself in at least some cases—probably if you have one of Frontier’s DSL packages, but probably not if you have a fiber package.
Frontier’s website is a little difficult to navigate and details are not easily forthcoming. But make sure to ask customer service if self-installation is an option as you’re filling out your order: you might be able to save some mun muns.
- Activation: $50.00
- Install: $35.00
- Internet-ready phone jack install: $65.00
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.
Amazon.com Price (as of 8/4/2021 10:15 MST). See full disclaimer.
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.
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.
- Rick Broida, CNET, “T-Mobile’s $60 Home Internet Service: The Cheapskate Review,” May 5, 2021. Accessed June 23, 2021.
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Author - Peter Holslin
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.