Understanding Internet Devices
Before enrolling in the school, make sure you have a high speed cable or DSL/fiber Internet Service Provider (ISP,) like Comcast or Verizon, and that your ISP has properly configured the Internet in your home or have given your family the equipment and/or information to maintain your home network yourself.
Your ISP will provide you with a modem – this is the first box that sits between the cable or phone line coming into your home and your computer. An Ethernet cord will come out of your modem and go to either your router or directly to the school computer. An example modem is shown below.
Next, you may have a router. Your ISP may provide one, or you may purchase one yourself. Your router sits between your modem and computer and splits your Internet connection across multiple computers or network devices like gaming platforms or Internet-connected TVs. If you only have one computer, you may not have a router. An example router is shown below.
Your wireless network name and password are typically located on this router.
A close up example is shown below:
Wired computers use an Ethernet cable (or a CAT5 cable) to connect to the Internet (shown coiled at right.) They come in a variety of colors, like blue, yellow and gray – the colors do not signify anything. An Ethernet cord should be provided by your Internet provider and PALCS will provide one by request.
About Using the Internet on your School Computer
Our PALCS laptops can be used wirelessly, but occasionally have to be plugged directly into the Internet with an Ethernet wire. The most common need for a wired connection is when attending virtual classes, working with the Help Desk, or getting updates to your laptop. We ask that you use wired connections in these situations or when otherwise available for several reasons:
- Bandwidth: information can be passed more quickly through a wired Internet connection. This helps webcam video and sound load.
- Stability: wireless connections can have more issues like poor reception or interference from outside sources. Using a wired connection helps reduce those variables.
- Security: it is more difficult to retrieve sensitive information from a wired Internet connection.
Desktop computers provided by PALCS require wired Internet connection. We do not provide wireless adapters for desktops and wireless adapters cannot be installed. Sometimes when families first set up PALCS desktops, the home network is not set up properly, and the family will not be able to log in or use the computer until the problem is solved. If your home cannot support a wired connection, please call the Help Desk at 877-PALCS-TLC to request a wireless laptop or speak about wiring options.