To connect to the Internet, you normally need to make a payment to the Internet Service Provider (ISP) by a monthly subscription for a certain amount of data. Dial-up Internet access is another form of Internet access that uses the facilities of the public switched telephone network to establish a connection to an Internet service provider (ISP) by dialing a telephone number on a conventional telephone line. The user's computer or router uses an attached modem to encode and decode the information into and from audio frequency signals, respectively. This method is widely available because most households have a telephone line. However, the disadvantage of this method is the connection speed. If you are transmitting a large amount of sensitive data, there is a chance that the connection is interrupted, resulting in the Internet being disconnected. To use the Internet, it is important to first understand the main components required to make an Internet connection.
The first component is the motherboard (or a mainboard). Today, the computers mostly come with either Celeron, Pentium IV, or AMD CPU, which support Internet connection. These types of CPU also support multimedia usage such as GPU, sound card, and speakers. It is important to have such component since surfing the Internet usually includes videos and sounds. The next component is the Random Access Memory (RAM). The RAM selection depends on the operating system being used. However, it should generally be no less than 64 - 128MB. For the popular operating system like Windows, the RAM should be more than 256MB since most services on the web require quite an amount of memory. Next is the display and Graphics Processing Unit (GPU). Most screens can display more than 256 colors, so the resolution should be no less than 800 x 600 pixels. Nowadays, some screens can display up to 16 million colors! Therefore, you can now enjoy a high-resolution display. Last but not least, you need to have a multimedia system including the sound card and the speaker. If you are going to make a call via the Internet, you also need to have a microphone. If you would like to make a video call, you will also require a webcam to be able to see the call participants. All models of computer will come with sound card and built-in speaker. Other devices such as a microphone or a webcam will need to be purchased separately.
Another essential Internet and networking device is a modem or modulator-demodulator, which is a device that modulates an analog carrier signal to encode digital information, and also demodulates such a carrier signal to decode the transmitted information. It is a crucial component for connecting to the Internet. Nowadays, the speed is up to 56 Kbps (Kilobit per second). There are 3 types of modem based on the usage as follows.
1. Internal modem is a modem that is built-in within a computer. It is an electronic circuit installed within a computer. It uses the electrical current from the motherboard to function.
2. External modem is a modem that is connected to the computer using serial port or USB port. It is a flat square box that comes with a modem circuit and a light that indicates the connection signal.
3. PCMCIA modem is the smallest and the flattest type of model. The size is similar to a credit card. It can be considered as an internal modem. It is designed to be used with a laptop computer only. Laptop computers will have a slot for inserting this PCMCIA card. It uses the electrical current from the laptop computer.