|I assume you mean a modem/router, as is the standard for home use these days.|
Most of the DSL modem/routers need some initial configuration via a PC (basically, just enter your username/password, the one that you received from your internet provider). Once that's done, you should be ok with never using a PC again, the modem/router should work on its own, providing net access to whatever device you have (laptops, cellphones, iPads, Wii, 360, whatever)
I am not really familiar with cable however, not sure if they need any configuration or not though.
Hope this answered your question :)