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Connecting to the Internet
There are 4 main ways to connect ot the internet:
1. Dial up networking
2. ADSL (broadband)
3. Cable
4. Wireless

Dial up networking uses a standard phone line to dial into an Internet Service provider. This method has become less popular because of the speed limitations of the connection and the greater availability of high speed connections via Cable and ADSL services. It is also inconvenient because it ties up the phone line while connected to the Intenet.

ADSL (Asynchronous Digital Subscriber Line) sends a digital signal over the wires of your phone line without interupting your phone service, allowing you to send and receive phone calls while using the Internet connection. ADSL provides much higher connection speeds than dial up networking.

Cable uses a modem connected to your Pay TV cable to send a digital signal to provide very high speed connections.

Wireless - there are two types of wireless connections. The first is a USB modem that provides a wireless internet data link direct to a mobile Internet Service Provider.
The second is a wireless router that connects to an ADSL or Cable modem to create a home network, allowing multiple computers, laptops and other devices to share the modem to connect to the internet.

Getting Connected
Once you have decided which method you want to use, you need to decide the type of plan you wish to go on and find a Service Provider. Usually plans are rated by the amount of data that you are allowed to download in a month. Some plans are designed to slow yuor speed down after the maximum data limit is reached, but others charge you extra for the data that you use over your plan limit, so be careful - this can be very costly!

Another thing to be aware of is that some providers count the data that you upload as well as download in their monthly data allowance, so always read the fineproint of any plan you sign up for.

The amount of data that you will need depends upon the number of people & computers in your home or business that will be using the connection and the frequency of its use. Anoter factor is they type of usage. If youy are a light user who only browses web pages and reads email, you may only need a few Giga Bytes per month.
Heavy users who download music, movies and upload photot, play games and chat may need 10 to 20 GB per month and families with more than one heavy user may need 50GB or more.

The best suggestion is to find a Service Provider with a range of plans who will not charge you extra to switch plans during your contract period. This way you can monitor your usage and use the plan that gives you the best value for money.

Next topic - Surfing The Internet

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