|Monday, 25 July 2005 05:31|
Did you know that popular use of the Internet is barely 10 years old? Now it seems there’s nothing you can’t do or see on the net. News, weather, sport, music, shopping, and games – you name it – it’s on the net. If you are new to the net or just can’t keep up with the latest developments here’s a short guide with links to useful websites to help you get the most out of your online surfing.
What is the Internet?
Simply put the Internet is a ‘network of networks’ with every Internet connected computer able to communicate to each other using a computer protocol called Internet Protocol (IP). IP communication allows information – data – to be sent in small chunks thus speeding up delivery but ensuring the original data arrives at its destination in one piece.
To get connected to the Internet you need a computer, modem, phone line and an account with an Internet Service Provider (ISP). Most major phone providers also offer Internet access but there are still many smaller companies who provide efficient and cost effective access.
Choosing an ISP
Before you choose an ISP you need to decide if you want to use a slower dial-up connection or faster broadband service. Broadband is not yet available in all remote areas but this is improving all the time.
Dial up connections use your phone line to dial to your ISPs Internet server and give you access to the Internet. Dial up is slower but cheaper than broadband.
Broadband is a general term to describe fast access to the Internet. Types of broadband access include ADSL, cable and satellite. Most rural areas only have access to ADSL and satellite.
Broadband allows for much faster transfer (download and upload) of data and is becoming increasingly cheaper and more widely available.
Most ISPs offer hourly, monthly or unlimited plans. If you are new to the net it may be a good idea to start off with an hourly plan while you become familiar with the net. You can always upgrade to a higher use plan later.
Make sure you check exactly what you are getting with your plan, especially the download limit – measured in megabytes (Mb). Everything you do on the Internet is measured in computer file sizes – kilobytes and megabytes. Sending and receiving emails, and browsing web pages do not amount to large file sizes. However viewing video files, large graphics and playing games amount to much larger files.
Visit this website to see an Australian ISP Directory:
Australian ISP Directory: http://www.australianispdirectory.com/
And here is a guide to broadband connections in Australia:
Broadband guide: http://whirlpool.net.au/
Free Internet Access
If you don’t have a computer you can still access the Internet at many libraries and neighbourhood centres which offer free Internet access.