What is the Internet?
The Internet is computers linked together to communicate with each other. The Internet was created in the 1960s by the Department of Defense. The World Wide Web and electronic mail (e-mail) are both part of the Internet.
What can the Internet be used for?
The internet can be used to access information you are interested in. Some examples of things you can do on the Internet include viewing art work, making travel reservations, finding maps and driving directions, finding telephone numbers, getting tax forms, shopping, and e-mailing.
How do I get on the Internet?
You need the following items to get on the internet:
You can connect to the Internet using a desktop or laptop computer. New desktop computers come with an ethernet port and laptop computers generally come with a wifi card or an ethernet port. Wifi stands for "wireless fidelity" - the current technology that provides wireless Internet access. An ethernet port connects to the internet via a cable.
A Broadband connection
High speed digital cable (Roadrunner in this area) or DSL line connects you to the Internet. DSL uses existing phone lines. Both are faster connections than dial up service. Dial up service connects to the internet using your phone line and a modem.
An Internet Service Provider (ISP)
An Internet Service Provider is a company that provides access to the Internet for a fee. Examples of ISPs are Roadrunner Cable, SBC, Earthlink, Bright.net, and AT&T. At this writing, AT&T is the #1 DSL broadband service in the U.S. To locate Internet Service Providers in your area go to The ISP Guide at www.theispguide.com or look in the phone book yellow pages.
An Internet browser
A browser is the software that lets your computer view the Internet pages. The browser we are using is Microsoft Internet Explorer. At this writing IE 9 is the latest version. Other Internet browsers are Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and Opera. Each browser has its own symbol, seen as an icon on the computer desktop. Double-click with your left mouse button to start the browser.
Internet Security is extremely important. Having a firewall, and antivirus and antispyware programs installed on your computer will help prevent spam, viruses, spyware, and other attacks. Most new computers come with a free trial version of a subscription security suite, such as Symantec or McAfee. Look in Consumer Reports or PC World Magazine for reviews and ratings of computer security software.