the internet begins with establishing a connection to a server. This involves
several different steps. There must be a way for the signal to
get from your computer to the internet, and this usually means a modem
and a telephone line. At the low end, this means a standard telephone
line, but it could be a DSL line, a cable connection, or even
wireless hookup of some kind.
must be a server for you to connect to, and this is an "Internet
Service Provider" ("ISP"). This is who you pay to handle
your account and your access to the internet. AOL and Earthlink are
well-known ISP's, but there are many, many others, from national
providers to regional to local to "the guy next door" who
operates his own server. Features and services vary widely, so you
must select your ISP based on what your needs are going to be. Your
ISP will provide you with the necessary software and instructions to
make your connection.
connecting to the internet, you will be using several software
applications to communicate. Your e-mail client may be Outlook or
Eudora, or something else. Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator
are the two most common browsers, but there are many more to choose
from here, too. Many other software applications may come into play for
specific purposes, but these will meet your initial basic needs.