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How do I connect to the Internet and the web?

How do I connect to the Internet and the web?

You can connect to the internet through a cable or wirelessly. Internet access via cable connections are primarily of three types – dialup (telephone network), cable (TV or similar network) and DSL broadband (a dedicated internet line). Wireless internet access is available via GPRS (General Packet Radio Service), EDGE (Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution), 3G (Third Generation) or Wi-Fi (WLAN or Wireless Local Area Network).

Technical jargon aside, how do you hook up to the internet from your computer? This basic guide has been written primarily for the beginner and explains how to connect to the wonderful world of the Internet.

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First you need an Internet access which is provided by companies known as ISPs (Internet Service Providers). You can probably find a listing of such companies in your newspaper or ask your friendly neighbour, for instance. There are regional and national ISPs and most of them offer different types of internet connections varying in price, download speed and/or bandwidth. Contact these companies and get to know the rates of their internet plans or “packages”. Also get in touch with your local TV cable operator; they might provide internet access via the cable network.

Choosing an Internet connection plan

Here are some points to help in deciding which internet connection would be right for you.

  • The price: ISPs charge a monthly or yearly fees for internet access. Some even have a setup charge to cover the initial costs of the hardware they would install at the location.
  • The connection speed: Faster the connection, the more expensive it would be. If you are starting out, i suggest you take a slower speed connection, see how it works out and then upgrade if you so want.
  • The allowed bandwidth: This criteria is usually confusing for newbies… don’t worry too much about it but do get the details from the ISP support. Nowadays most ISPs provide “unlimited” bandwidth with the net connections which is good because you don’t need to keep a tab on how much you download each day.
  • Number of computers: If you have multiple computers (desktops and/or laptops) at the location and want to connect to the internet from all, I recommend getting a wireless router along with the connection. Generally the ISP would also provide the router and set up a Wi-Fi LAN at your home /office. You can then access the internet from all computers that have wireless connection capabilities.

Software to connect to the internet

Once you have all the hardware in place (internet connection via a cable or wireless), you are ready to take the plunge. The people who came to install the internet connection at your location would probably have given you a 10 minute quick launch session. Don’t worry if you didn’t understand much… it just takes time to get the hang of certain things. Anyway, the software with which you connect the internet is in-built and simply needs to be configured which would be done by the ISP personnel or you can call them up for step by step instructions. The program you use to navigate the internet is a web browser, and as its name suggests, it lets you browse the internet and the web. Your computer would certainly have come with a preinstalled browser program such as Internet Explorer, Safari or Firefox or you can download the free Chrome browser from Google.

The internet has millions and millions of different types of web sites. To go to a particular web site (or a location on the internet, in layman’s term), you need to type the address in the browser, typically, in an Address or URL field at the top. I suggest you buy a good internet introduction book… or you can always come back to this web site for more help and, yes, please do ask questions.

Searching the Internet – the vast store house of information

To search for information on the internet, you need to employ the services of a search engine. Unless you have been living on the moon for the past decade, you would surely have heard about Google. Google is the world’s favourite and probably the best search engine – visit the website by typing www.google.com in your browser or clicking on that link.

The Google homepage is very simple. It has the logo and a search field in which you type your query. Try searching for something and Google search engine will display the results (10 per page).

Internet and email

Email is one of the most used applications of the Internet and I would not be wrong in saying that most of you wanted to connect to the internet to use email. If you are using the Windows operating system, I suggest you read send mail in windows. There are tons of web services that offer free email services – Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail and Gmail are probably the most popular. For step by step instructions, please refer the article on how to get an email address.

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