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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

If 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!

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.

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.

My primary ISPs (in alphabetical order) are:

Choosing Your Tools for Connecting

If 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 Shell

With 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.

Dial-Up IP (PPP, SLIP, etc.)

General Information

TCP/IP Protocol Stacks

Choosing Your Tools for Surfing

After 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 Connected

News 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.

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...

Other Getting Connected Links

Yahoo's Computers_and_Internet:Internet:Connectivity contains lots of links to information about connecting to the Net.



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Copyright © 1992-1997 Infinite Ink and Nancy McGough
Last content update on January 13, 1996
Last tweak on April 19, 1997