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Decoding your link to the internet

Decoding your link to the internet - PCSTATS
Abstract: Face it: the average citizen is happy to hand over a set, monthly fee to a faceless corporation for the privilege of accessing the world wide web at any hour of the day or night.
Filed under: Beginners Guides Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: None Sep 18 2000   Max Page  
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More connection options

Other connection options include cable lines and DSLs (digital subscriber lines). Connecting through the cable that brings you 40 or 100 television channels will allow you to talk on the phone while you surf the web. It will also allow you to surf at greater speeds, and transfer files of greater size, than phone lines are capable of carrying. But if you live in a remote area, cable internet connections may not be available to you; and even if it is, you might not want to pay the extra $10 to $20 per month that cable connections cost.

Assuming you're using dial-up networking to access the internet, there are a few basic steps that occur before your monitor lights up with your www-dot-homepage. Dial-up networking is a set of instructions that tell your modem to telephone a computer at your ISP. Often, that ISP computer is located within your area-code, even though your ISP may be housed hundreds of miles away from your home. These local ISP computers are called Points of Presence (PoPs), and they mean you don't pay long-distance charges each time you connect to the internet.

Once your modem has dialed the PoP's number, it converts the information you're sending (such as an e-mail message) from digital form to analog. Before that information reaches the PoP, it gets translated back into digital format by a switch operated by the telephone company. From the PoP, your signal is sent to the ISP, where a number of fates await it. If you're sending an e-mail, it will pass through the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) and Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) located within the ISP. These protocols convert your message into smaller packets that will travel the length of the internet to the final destination you're ascribed to them. Before reaching that final destination, the packets will be reconstructed to their original form by another TCP. A similar mini-journey among PoP's and phone lines is involved before the message arrives at its final port of call. Once there, it will live on a special server called a POP3 (Post Office Protocol 3) while waiting for its addressee to retrieve it by dialing his/her own ISP.

Given such a wealth of steps and switches and routers and servers, it's no wonder you're asked to provide your ISP with $20 a month to keep you connected. Of course, if that fee included a seminar on how the connection process works, it would likely be substantially higher.

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Contents of Article: None
 Pg 1.  Decoding your link to the internet
 Pg 2.  — More connection options

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