Internet

How do you connect to the internet and display a page

For many computer users

An internet connection is the main reason for buying a PC, This isn’t surprising, from surfing to shopping to staying in touch, the internet is an amazing tool, and it’s one that is becoming ever more integral to the way in which we live. The following paragraphs cover the basics getting online, surfing, searching and using email.  Don,t forget if you have children surfing the internet, use The ParentalControl Bar . Google also have a useful “booklet” titled ” 20 things I learned about Browsers and the web”” which can explain some of the basic principles of using the Internet.

Modems and Network Interface Cards

Modem, a piece of hardware that used to let your computer communicate with other computers via a phone line. Now more modern PC,s may be equipped with other hardware such as Network Interface Cards, and don,t come with a modem. These are used to connect broadband to a PC, which means the internet is usually on permanently, and no need to disconnect, unlike dial up.

ISP Internet Service Provider, A company that will provide you with an Internet connection. i.e. Eircom and IOL. Shop around when choosing an ISP, Package deals usually work out more economical, check Internet magazines for reviews. Callcost and Bonkers.ie are good sites to compare the cost of personal/non-business mobile, home phone and broadband price plans.

The majority of broadband subscriptions in Ireland are still over the old-fashioned phone line. But other technologies are catching up fast. Here’s a summary of what those technologies are, where they are available and how much they typically cost.

Fixed line DSL

This is the most common type of broadband usually for business and it comes through your copper telephone line. Speeds vary from one megabit per second (1Mbs) to almost 20Mbs, although the highest speeds are only available in a very small number of urban areas. Most fixed line DSL services are now bundled with telephone services. An entry-level bundle typically costs about 40 per month, including line rental. Providers include HomeVision (mostly Dublin based) , UPC & UTVInternet Ireland etc.

3G mobile broadband

This is the fastest growing form of broadband in the country.  It works using the mobile phone network.  You buy a USB stick or a dongle from one of the mobile phone operators ( Vodafone , Meteor, O2 , Three.ie & eMobile) and insert it into your laptop USB port.  The stick picks up the mobile broadband signal and connects you to the internet.  3G broadband speeds vary from about 0.3Mbs to about 3Mbs, although operators often claim they are capable of up to 7.2Mbs.  A 3G broadband service costs around €20 per month and can be used on a bill-pay or pay-as-you-go basis (check table below for PAYG Rates).  The service is available in all cities, large towns and suburban areas .

Another option is the increased data plan some of the mobile operators are providing to their customers smartphones. The phone, such as any Android or Symbian smartphone, can be used as a wi-fi hotspot to connect up to 3 or 4 laptops or computers to.  No cables or Bluetooth are necessary for the software promises a one click experience for Internet connectivity

Pay as You Go USB broadband pricing : 19st Feb 2013
Vodafone Monthly 5GB add on ( day & weekly available) €20 K3772 stick modem : €29.99 online
Meteor Monthly 7.5 GB ( day & weekly also available) €19.99 Refurbished E173 :€9 online /new:€29
O2 Monthly 5 GB (includes 24hr free ) €19.99 Huawei E3131 €40 ( 24 hrs free)
Three.ie Monthly from 1GB to 20GB allowance (also daily) €15 to €35 E303 from-€19/WiFi stick: €39 (5.76Mpbs)
eMobile Monthly 7.5 GB ( also daily allowance from €2.99) €19.99 E3131 device €29.99 ( WiFi Stick €79.99)

NB:   Be warned three.ie  Prepay Out of Bundle charging per MB of data. 2.03c.  Vodafone out of Bundle charge 19c per MB.  Meteor also has a  pay as you go pocket-sized, WiFi hotspot stick  €59.   O2,s pay as you go WiFi hotspot stick  is €79  for 15GB download, couldn’t see a link for price per month.  Three.ie pay as you go MiFi WiFi stick is €39.  eMobile has a pay as you go WiFi stick for €79.99 with 10GB monthly for €20.32 ( half price for first 6 months)and 1GB monthly for €5.

An unlimited Data Plan ( Internet) on a three prepay mobile phone is free for €20 /month, plus free calls to all networks or land lines on weekends and free unlimited text to any network any time, using a smartphone you can use this data to connect your laptop or iPad using the build in WiFi hotspot on the smartphone.

Data usage calculator here to give you a rough estimate of how much data you require. E.G. RTE Player streams video at 512KB per second. Watching video for an hour would use up around 250MB.


Bill pay USB broadband pricing : 19th Feb 2013
Vodafone 12 months on bill pay 10GB €19.99 High performance stick modem Free
Meteor 12+ month contract 1GB -30GB  €7.99 to €25.40 monthly E3131 : Free
O2 6, 12 or 18 month contract 15 GB €20.32 E3131: Free
Three.ie 12 month contract 1Gb- 60GB  €7.99 to €34.99 monthly Three broadband stick-Free
eMobile (free eircom.net email account) 12 month contract. 1GB-10GB €5 to €20.32 / month (1/2 for 1st 6 months) E3131 : Free

Worth noting Three.ie provides a Huawei B260a Wireless Broadband Router to connect up to 32 users. It comes with 1X LAN port for connection to printer or VOIP phone, very handy to port your phone number to Blueface or use Skype no PC phone .  Price Plans can be viewed here.   NB: Three.ie Pay Monthly Out of Bundle Charges Per MB of Data. 5.08c.   O2 Pay Monthly Out of Bundle Charging: 2c, is the same for prepay customers.

Free Bill Pay broadband stick for Students and Staff with O2 from 15GB for €9.99 a month with 12 month contract.


Fixed wireless broadband

Many towns and cities can now receive wireless broadband services from companies such as Irish Broadband , PermaNet , KerryBroadband.ie & Aptus , Westnet etc.( depends on your area), and often include telephone service as well.  This service works by placing an antenna on top (side, depends on signal) of your house.  The antenna receives a wireless broadband signal from a nearby mast.  Speeds vary from 1Mbs to 6Mbs. The service costs from €23.89 a month.

Cable broadband

Both NTL and Chorus (which are part of the same company, UPC ) offer broadband services. These range from 1Mbs to 20Mbs and are usually part of a bundle with telephone and television services. Over half of NTL/Chorus customers can receive this broadband. The service costs from 22e per month.

Data caps: a limit on your downloads

Most broadband services have a monthly limit (or data cap) on the amount of information or files that you can download each month. Most people will never exceed these data caps, which are typically 10 or 20 gigabytes. However, if you wish to download videos and films, you might reach this data cap quickly: an average film takes about 0.7 gigabytes of space to download. Once a data cap is breached, the operator will slow your broadband service down until the next month begins. This is to discourage further heavy downloading.

Surfing

A Web Browser is the only piece of software you need to surf the internet. it’s the program through which you view websites and navigate between them.There are many different browsers one can use, such as “Mozilla Firefox “, Google Chrome” or “Opera,” etc. But because Internet Explorer comes pre-installed in Windows its as good as any. It,s easy to use, and looks and works in a similar way to the Windows Explorer program that you employ to browse through your files and folders. To open Internet Explorer , click its blue e icon, which you’ll find on the Taskbar, in the Start menu or on the Desktop.

Or just be clicking on the Browser icon, e.g Internet Explorer or Google chrome, the user can be taken to any website they have previously selected as their homepage using settings and options. One surfing technique that can come in very useful is to hold down Shift on your keyboard while you click on a link. This will open the page that the link leads to in a new window.

Once your PC has connected to the Internet, a Website, probably your ISP’s provides, will appear in the main section of your browser. To visit a different site, simply enter its address or URL such as http://www.google.com ( this can also be made your default start page ) in the address bar and then either press the GO button to the right of the address bar or hit Enter on the keyboard. If you using an older version of the Explorer program, you may have to put http:// before each www address, But newer versions don’t require you to do so. After a few seconds, the page should start to appear in the window. It’s as easy as that.

Move your mouse around and over a Web page and you’ll probably notice that at various times, when your pointer is hovering over some underlined text, for example, it turns into a little hand. This means you’re pointing to a link , which can be clicked to trigger your browser either to download a new page or to take you to another part of the current one. Click with the mouse and you’ll go to the new location. This is what surfing is all about, browsing from page to page by clicking links. Using the back button or forward buttons on the toolbar on top of your screen will return you to a page that you’ve just backtracked from.

Search Engines

These are huge databases that index millions of Web pages, allowing you to search quickly and conveniently for the item your want.You go to the Website,type in a word or phrase and after a couple of seconds you’ll be presented with a list of links to websites that contain your text. There are loads of search Engines out there-Examples: Google, Yahoo!, Bing & Ask etc. Most search engines also provide free web- based email address’s that are easy to access just by logging into their website. More on those below.

Email

EMail, short for electronic mail has become the standard way by which business communicate, over seas friends and family stay in touch and office employees chat to their peers instead of doing any work. For the uninitiated, it may seem like a simple, perhaps even silly, concept, you type a message on one computer and send it to another instead of simply picking up the phone and talking in person.

But as anyone who has tried email will tell you, it’s not only a great deal of fun but brings about a whole different mode of communication, as informal and instantaneous as a phone call but will all the benefits of good old-fashioned letter writing. It also lets you do lots of clever stuff, send one message to lots of people, forward a message you received to someone else, attach documents and pictures to a message so that the recipient can open them on their machine, the list goes on. To receive email you need an email address, which like a real address is what the sender adds to their message to direct it to you. An email address always looks something like this. myname@myISPorcompany.com.

When you sign up with an ISP ( internet service provider) you’ll automatically be given an email account and asked to choose one or more email addresses. Email accounts like these, which are called POP3(Post Office Protocol 3) accounts, require an email program a piece of software for writing, sending , receiving, storing and managing your mail. Your ISP may provide you with an email program when you sign up. but a good one, called Outlook Express is built into Windows. A new email account may either set itself up for use with Outlook Express automatically, or by means of a self-explanatory wizard.

TIP: Other free Desktop Email programs are: IncrediMail, and Thunderbird 2. and Sylpheed. Want to configure your favorite Desktop Email program to access GMail? Click Here. .

Web-based email

An alternative to using a POP3 account is to use a Web-based email account from one of the many free online providers such as Google, Yahoo and Hotmail , of all these three, i have found the Google Gmail account the best for storage, junk mail filtering without any pop up adverts.

Tip: If your Irish and rather get a ” yahoo.ie” than a ” yahoo.co.uk ” email address click here.

With these accounts, you don’t use an email program, but simply visit the Website of the provider, http://www.yahoo.ie or http://www.hotmail.com, or http:www.googlemail.com enter your username and password, which you’ll be given when you open the account, then send, receive, store and manage your emails online. The advantage of Web-based accounts is that you can easily check your mail on any computer in the world that’s connected to the internet, and you can delete unwanted emails without having to wait for them to download. However, they do have their drawbacks, some have quite bad security records, you can only store a certain amount of mail at any one time, you can’t view your mail without going online, and everything takes longer,especially if you have a slow dial-up connection. The best option is to open a Web-based account Gmail as well as your normal POP3 account. They don’t cost anything and can come in very handy, because you can access them from anywhere if you travel a lot.

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