To ensure swift and easy Internet access, make sure you have the right hardware and software to do the job. On the hardware side, you'll need a dial-up modem, a cable modem, or a digital subscriber line, or DSL modem. These devices allow your computer to tap in to the flow of data that makes up the Internet and World Wide Web. When it comes to software, you'll probably need a Web browser, which allows you to view and surf the Web. Buying a computer with a pre-installed modem and browser is a good way of ensuring that you have all the equipment you need and that your computer and modem are fast enough to load the large graphics and text files found on many World Wide Web pages quickly. All you have to do to start using these pre-configured machines is enter information into your Web software such as your name, address, phone number, and credit card number for billing purposes. If your computer uses a modem hooked up to a telephone line to access the Internet, you also may want to check that the phone number your computer dials is a local number, in order to avoid paying long distance rates. If you're comfortable with installing Internet hardware and software on your own, many electronics and computer stores sell modems, and there are numerous Internet service providers that offer a variety of pricing plans and browser features. Often, these companies distribute the software for free, and, in the case of the faster and more expensive cable and DSL services, may provide free hardware and software installation
c2004 Bluestreak Media. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.