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If you don't have your own computer the easiest way to access the internet is to visit an internet café which provides computers connected to the internet for customers to use. If you do have your own computer, and you plan to use the internet a lot and don't want to sit for hours a day in an internet café, you can set up your own internet connection. To do this, you will need: - To open an account with an Internet Service Provider (ISP)  - Some extra equipment to help your computer make the connection. This may include: a modem (sometimes these are built into a computer and sometimes they are externally connected), a phone line or a wireless router - Software, such as an internet browser and email program (see later sections on email and browsing) What you can do with your connection to the internet depends largely on how much bandwidth your internet connection gives you. Internet connections are often delivered in the following ways:

Via wires:

  • Dial-up: your computer dials a telephone number using an internal modem to connect. This is slow and limits you to email and light web-browsing.
  • Broadband or DSL and Cable: your computer will use an external modem (often provided by your Internet Service Provider) to connect to the internet via your phone line (it doesn't dial) or via the cable for your television. This provides medium-to-high speed and will allow you to do email and heavier web-browsing, and watch video.
  • Super-fast or Fibre Optic: also done using an external modem, the difference here is that you are connecting to a special wire provided by your ISP. This is fast and will allow you to do just about anything on the internet, but current availability is limited to developed countries.


  • Satellite: often used in areas with no existing telephone or television cable infrastructure. A satellite dish is positioned on the outside of a building; it connects to a modem inside the building which provides an internet connection. The speed of the connection will depend on a number of factors. This is an expensive way of getting an internet connection.
  • Wifi: many commercial establishments, including cafes and hotels offer wifi (wireless) connectivity for their customers. Your computer will need its own wifi reciever (now built into most laptops). These connections often operate at medium-to-high speeds.
  • Mobile phones: also called 'Tethering.' Your computer can use your mobile phone as an internet modem if your mobile network provides this service. This is often slow, though some locations may offer higher speeds. Mobile phone network providers also sell and provide USB peripheral devices called dongles, which will allow your computer to connect to the network's internet signal.

If you have a faster connection, you are able to do much more. If your connection is slower you can speed it up by setting your web-browser to read text only and by not downloading email attachments. These options can be adjusted in the settings of your browser and email programs.

Tip- If your internet connection has recently slowed down, it is worth investigating. Sluggishness can be caused by anything from a virus to a bad configuration on your hardware. Some useful information about troubleshooting for slow internet connections can be found here: