This page is aimed at an individual user who's deciding how best to connect to the Net. If you have a group of machines, you'll probably want to network the machines and then connect your network to the Net. This page contains:
- Choosing a Modem
- What Type of Services Do You Want
- Choosing Your Provider(s)
- Choosing Your Tools for Connecting
- Choosing Your Tools for Surfing
- FAQs and News Groups Related to Getting Connected
- Other Getting Connected Links
Choosing a ModemIf you don't already have a modem or you want to upgrade your modem, you can find out lots of information about modems at Yahoo's:
I recommend that you get the fastest modem you can afford. Even if your provider does not currently support a fast modem, it most likely will soon!
- Computers and Internet:Hardware:Peripherals:Modems
- Business and Economy:Companies:Computers:Peripherals:Modems
What Type of Services Do You Want?Most individuals access the Net using either an "online service provider," such as Compuserve or America Online, or a full Internet service provider that provides dial-up shell or dial-up IP access. For many reasons, I recommend that you go with a full Internet service provider.
- Arts & Farces Dial-Up Shell vs. Dial-Up IP (SLIP/PPP)
Choosing Your Provider(s)When choosing your provider, first decide what features are important to you and then look at the Web pages of potential providers and compare their services. For me, important features include:
You can find Web pages of many providers at Yahoo's Business and Economy:Corporations:Internet Access Providers. You can also find providers by searching through Yahoo's Regional Information. For example, Seattle-area providers are listed at: Yahoo's Regional Information:States:Washington:Seattle:Internet Access Providers. Another great resource to help you decide on a provider is The List, which includes customer comments about providers.
- flat monthly fee with no time charges
- no, or low, WWW+FTP transmission fees, e.g., at Best Internet Communications, Inc., 200 MB/day is free
- lots of news groups, including clari.*, with long expire time
- helpful user community that communicates through local news groups
- lots of storage space (both personal and public)
- shell and PPP access
- virtual domain hosting
- latest version of IMAP daemon
- shell access to the latest versions of pine, procmail, nn, lynx, html checker(s), perl, etc.
My primary ISPs (in alphabetical order) are:
Choosing Your Tools for ConnectingIf you decide to go with an "online service provider," such as America Online, Compuserve, Microsoft Network, or Prodigy, they will provide you with the software you need to connect to their service. If you decide to get a more powerful, less expensive, and less stygmatized full Internet service provider, you will be able to decide which tools you use to connect to their service. Many of the best tools are freeware or shareware.
Dial-Up ShellWith a dial-up shell account you will want to get a good communication software package. You also might want to learn to use the Unix screen command.
- My favorite comm software is Delrina's free and commercial WinComm communication software, which runs on Windows and DOS.
- Radient's CommNet communication software and IP telnet client runs on Windows and is $25 shareware.
- Kermit communication software is free and runs on hundreds of different computers and operating systems. If you use Kermit for DOS, you may be interested in Infinite Ink's Transferring Files with DOS Kermit.
- The Internet Adapter (tm) is $25 shareware that lets you simulate IP access with a dial-up shell account.
Dial-Up IP (PPP, SLIP, etc.)
TCP/IP Protocol Stacks
- Netmanage's free Chameleon Sampler general information, files, and tricks for getting it to go faster than 19.2 Kbps
- Trumpet Winsock is $25 shareware.
- Netmanage's Internet Chameleon includes a TCP/IP stack and many TCP/IP clients. It has a list price of $199.
- Spry Internet in a Box includes a TCP/IP stack and many TCP/IP clients.
- Microsoft Windows 95 includes a TCP/IP stack.
Choosing Your Tools for SurfingAfter you are connected to the Net, there are hundreds of freeware, shareware, and commercial products available for surfing the Net. Information about many of these is available in the Infinite Ink's Internet in a Nutshell.
FAQs and News Groups Related to Getting ConnectedNews groups and their FAQs are great resources for helping you to decide on provider(s) and tools. Often the best place to discuss providers is in a regional news group. For example, in the Seattle-area, seattle.general is the place where people discuss Seattle-area providers.
- alt.*sucks groups:
More News Groups and their FAQs (I need to clean this up)Many of the news groups listed in this section are also listed above. This will be better organized soon...
- alt.internet.access.wanted FAQs and newsgroup
- alt.internet.services FAQs and newsgroup
- alt.online-service FAQs and newsgroup
- alt.winsock FAQs and newsgroup
Other Getting Connected LinksYahoo's Computers_and_Internet:Internet:Connectivity contains lots of links to information about connecting to the Net.
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Last content update on January 13, 1996
Last tweak on April 19, 1997