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What equipment do I need to connect to the Internet?

Connecting to the Internet isn't hard, but you'll need a few things things before you can begin surfing. Below is a breakdown of what you need to get online:

Computers & Web Enabled Devices:

Obviously, you'll need a device to use to browse the Internet. You're probably using one right now to view this page. While a computer is the most common, other devices are available to connect to the Internet. Other devices can include special computers designed only to surf the Internet and check E-mail, PDAs, WebTV (now MSN-TV, which also includes UltimateTV that allows MSN-TV access), and even mobile phones that can go online.

While many other devices can get you to the Internet, the computer is still the one device that offers the most choices to get you online. It also offers the opportunity to connect at the highest speeds possible - something that holds other devices back.

The Modem:

For just about any method of connecting to the Internet, you'll need a modem. Even fast broadband connection a modem to access their services, even though they don't have to "dial-in" as with dial-up. The cost of the modem may be included in your broadband service fees, though DSL often requires the purchase of a modem (usually around $100).

On the dial-up front, some computers and web devices have modems built into them, so an additional modem isn't needed. For broadband connections, you'll also need an Ethernet network card or a USB port to connect your computer to the modem.

The Internet Service Provider (ISP):

Whether you use dial-up, DSL or Cable, you'll need an Internet Service Provider (ISP). This is the company you pay each month to provide your connection from your home to the Internet (and, in the case of broadband, often the modem rental, too). The provider you choose depends on the service you want as well as what companies are serving your area.

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