Ok, one of the simplist Internet questions ever.

Ok, I just got a new Compaq Presario laptop, and I want to hook it up to the Internet using our phone line, but I don’t know how. I’ve noticed its not as easy as hooking into the phone line. We haven’t used dial-up in a long time and I have no clue how to connect.

(they really need an “edit” option)
Its not as easy as JUST hooking it into the phone line and connecting.

  1. What model Compaq?
  2. Who is your ISP?

Theres where Im stumped. Do you NEED an ISP? (I don’t know much about computers). I mean, can’t you have Internet for free, not pay for an ISP? (my parents take care of all the computer things so I don’t have a clue…)

Ok, nevermind. I figured the answer is yes.

For the “Do you need an ISP?”

Yes you need someone to provide you access to the internet.

The internet is basically a world wide newtwok of computers and you need to get onto that network somehow.

The most common ways are

  1. Dialup using a modem into an Internet Provider. There may be still some free ones that displays ads to allow then to offer ther service for free. Some colleges and universities still offer free access for students

  2. A home broadband connection such as DSL or Cable modems, in which case you need a router to have mutiple systems connected at home Satellite would fall in this class as well

  3. Wireless access at either a free public “hot spot” or pay for service

  4. Business use where you lease a direct line into an ISP

How do you connect to the internet right now?

Call a local ISP, pay them $10 or $15 for a month of service, and they give you a phone number for your computer to dial, and a user name and password to type in.

If you’re using Microsoft XP (maybe 2000, ME, and others too; I’m not sure) click “Start”, open the control panel, and select “internet options”. Select the “Connections” tab and click the “Setup” button. That opens the wizard where you enter the phone nuymber, user name, and password, etc.

Then you should be good to go.

There are a few free ISPs, but I wouldn’t recommend using any of them. From my experience, they generally give you just barely enough bandwidth to download the ads. If you want to do anything with your connection besides just look at ads, you’ll be in for a long wait. And it’s not like regular ISPs are expensive; the going rate in most places is about $10 per month.

Most universities do offer free or cheap Internet access for students, but that’s usually done via ethernet sockets in the dorm rooms and on-campus housing. You get much faster service this way and you can use it while you’re on the phone, but you might need a little extra hardware (if your computer doesn’t already have ethernet), and you’ll still probably have to visit some office or another on campus to set it up.

They have free wireless access for students on campus at the University of Idaho here in Moscow. They also have free dial-up, but it’s at 28k. Anyway, as Albert Rosenfield said about Twin Peaks, “I have seen some slipshod backwater burgs, but the place takes the cake.” Moscow’s pretty out there. If U of I’s getting free wireless, so is probably everyone else…

(and just for the hell of it, more Albert quotes:)


jeez, those smilies can be obnoxious… I never realized.

Yes. Although with a little ingenuity you can get ISP access cheap. About a month ago while in the home of a family even poorer than me (yes, sadly it is possible), I asked if I could check my web based e-mail account on their computer? Unfortunately, since they couldn’t afford an ISP anymore, they no longer had Internet access. I just said “no problem, I can connect with my account.” I have DSL, which also allows quite a lot of access via dial up aimed at customers who also have a laptop. (In standard configuration, the DSL modem maintains 24/7 connectivity. Even if my computer is off, the DSL is active.) I just quickly set up a DUN connectoid, and logged in to read my e-mail. The kids had fun for the rest of the day as I left the connection open. My DSL provider couldn’t know that it wasn’t me at the computer.

You can easily get Internet access for less than $10 a month if you shop around. And free if you have dubious ethics and know people with DSL access. Since all I use my DSL is for raw Internet access, and get my e-mail and Usenet access from sysadmins who have given me free accounts on their servers, I actually have little worry about my DSL userid/pw. Only a professional spammer could abuse this. Given that the people I know in real life are the sort that need me to boot their Windows box when it crashes, why should I care about them spamming?

Any Baltmorean here want free, much less than 56k free access? No, probably just me, then. I use Sailor. It works with LYNX. or with graphical.