How to Setup & Activate a Modem for Any Provider

A step-by-step self install guide on replacing and activating a cable modem

Congratulations! You've just purchased a modem and are ready to save money off your monthly cable bill.

(If you are still renting, stop! Find the perfect modem & router here)

Although it may sound intimidating (especially for non-techies), replacing your current rental modem is a breeze & only takes a few minutes.

So, how do I setup & activate a modem?

Before you get started, if your WiFi is not built into your modem, you will want to setup your router first.

Everyone else, follow this 5 step guide to setup & activate your modem:

1. Prepare your Modem Info

Before you get started, it's helpful to prepare all of the information that will be needed by your internet service provider to quickly setup and activate your new modem.

Gather the following information and have it handy for future steps:

2. Disconnect Current & Connect New Modem

You will need to swap the ethernet and coaxial cables of your current rental equipment over to your newly purchased modem.

You can copy the current modem configuration or watch this video explainer below:

3. Confirm Internet Access

Modems usually have 5 lights:

When you first connect your device, you will see many lights blinking… then go dark except for the ‘Power’ light.

One by one, they will start to blink, then become solid (and usually green if your device uses labels instead of icons).

Once the "Online" or “Internet” light stays on (or is a solid green), you have a steady internet connection!

Note: If your light is not a solid green (continues to blink or is another color), please reset your modem by either (1) pressing the hard reset button on your modem (usually a small button you'll need a pin to press) or (2) unplug your modem from your power outlet for a minute and plug it back in.

4. Activate your new modem

At this point, most internet providers will require you to activate the new device using the information you collected in step 1.

Some may require you to call them, others to visit an online activation page.

Find your ISP below and activate your new modem device:

ProviderHow to Activate Modem
XFINITY / ComcastGo to Activation Webpage
Time Warner / SpectrumGo to Self Install Webpage
Cox CommunicationsGo to Activation Webpage
Optimum / CablevisionGo to Self Install Webpage
WOW!Nothing! You should be all set.
MediacomGo to Activation Website
Suddenlink CommunicationsNothing! You should be all set.
RCN Call 1-800-RING-RCN (1-800-746-4726)
Cable ONECall 877-692-2253
Verizon FIOSNothing! You should be all set.
Wave BroadbandCall 1-866-WAVE-123
OtherSearch for: YOURINTERNETPROVIDER modem activation

You should now be able to browse the internet with your new device!

Feel free to connect your router at this point to get a WiFi connection.

If your modem has built-in WiFi, you can connect to the network using the credentials listed on your modem’s sticker or instruction booklet.

WiFi Router Default Login Information

WiFi network name = SSID

WiFi password = WEP / WPA / WPA2 / AES (one of those)

5. Return your rental modem equipment

The last step to getting your cable bill cut is to return your rental equipment.

Depending on the provider, you can either ship/drop-off your old modem with a prepaid shipping label, or return it in person to a local office.

Note: If possible, we suggest returning it in person and getting a receipt as a proof of return. This will prevent any potential issues with missing equipment or erroneous billing statements.

Return your modem rentals to:

ProviderWhere to Return Modem
XFINITY / ComcastDrop off at local UPS store or Comcast / Xfinity
Time Warner / SpectrumDrop off at local Spectrum store or FedEx
Cox CommunicationsDrop off at local Cox store w/ Product Drop Off
Optimum / CablevisionShip by mail or drop off at local Optimum store
WOW! Drop off at local WOW! store
MediacomDrop off at local Mediacom store
Suddenlink Communications Drop off at local Suddenlink store
RCN Drop off at local UPS store or RCN store
Cable ONEDrop off at local Cable ONE store
Verizon FIOS Ship or drop off via UPS
Wave BroadbandDrop off at local Wave store or call 1-866-928-3123 for pickup
OtherSearch for: YOURINTERNETPROVIDER modem return

6. Check your next billing statement for a discount

Technically you should be all done but there have been countless cases where the internet provider doesn't remove the rental fee from the monthly bill.

It is crucial that you double check your next few statements to make sure that the extra charge is dropped.

If the fee is still part of the bill, call your cable provider and explain the situation. If you returned your device in person, provide them with proof of return.

That's it!

You should now have faster internet while saving money every month off your cable bill.

Now how about negotiating your cable bill down to save even more each month!

This modem has no WiFi

This modem doesn't have built in wifi so you will need a wifi router to connect wirelessly to the internet.

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