Although setting up a home network isn’t necessarily an expensive or difficult project, you will need a few basic pieces of hardware to connect your computers, printers, gaming consoles, and assorted gadgets and do-hickeys to each other — and to the Internet.

Need Purpose
DSL or Cable Modem A DSL or cable modem connects your computer to a high-speed DSL or cable Internet connection. Although dial-up modems are still available for slower dial-up Internet connections, the connection speeds are far too slow for a home network.
Wired or wireless router A wired or wireless router connects your DSL or cable modem to your home network. Many DSL/cable modems now have built-in routers that allow you to connect your network directly to your Internet connection.
Wired or wireless network adapters A wired or wireless network adapter is the device in your computer (or printers, gaming consoles, and other networking equipment) that connects your computer to your network.
Ethernet cabling Ethernet cabling is used to connect your wired network adapters to a router or network switch. Even if you are using a wireless router, you will need at least one Ethernet cable to connect your wireless router to your DSL or cable modem.