Getting on the Internet.

As with anything, this takes a little practice. If you are a new user, you will become more familiar with the process and what to do when things go wrong. Sometimes modems will fail to negotiate a reliable connection. This can happen for many different reasons. A great deal of fine tuning can be done with modems to make them connect and maintain a connection better.

The Dialer

Your modem doesn't just know what to do when you turn on your computer. Software (a computer program) is used to get your modem to do its job. This device is only slightly different from a printer or a floppy disk and you can learn to use it with the same ease.

What kind of dialer you are using depends on a great deal of circumstance. It makes a difference whether you are using a Macintosh or an IBM computer. Whether you are using Windows 95 or Windows 3.1. Some dialers are compliant to the application you are using. This means when you click on an Email ICON or a web browser, the dialer program is automatically started at the sametime. Other programs require that you start your dialer program first. Most programs don't actually require that you log in either. For example, email programs can be set up so you can write dozens of emails, and THEN log in and send them all at the sametime.

The dialer program is a very important part of getting online. Some of the common dialers are, Windows 95 dialer, this dialer comes with windows '95 and can be setup in just minutes. Trumpet Dialer this program is distributed as shareware and is used extensively through out the net. While it is sometimes difficult to use, it offers a great deal of flexibility. Netscape Personal Edition This dialer comes with the Netscape you would purchase in a store. Once configured, it is simple to use. Macintosh, like windows 95 uses a dialer that almost seems to become part of the operating system.

The handshake

After your modem dials the number, you will hear a handshake. This is an audio cue that everything is working. If you listen closely to this sound you will become familiar with a "normal" sounding negotiation. If this sound drawls on or cuts off abruptly, it could indicate that you may not have attained the best connection.

The Login

After you modem connects properly. The "Host" computer system will usually send some sort of greeting and a login prompt. This is required to gain authorized access to the system. This process is also called, "authentication." For example, after connecting, the host computer will send a prompt for a Username: the party logging on will send back their appropriate username. Then, the host computer will send a prompt for a Password: which is replied back to the host. After authentication the host may automatically start your session, or it may prompt you for more information, such as, what kind of protocol you want to use. (A discussion of this covered later)

The whole process is usually done for you by computer programs that do "scripting". All of the popular dialers do this for you. Some programs such as the Netscape Navigator Personal Edition have the ability to do the scripting for you the first time you log on.

Then what?

After your modem dials and connects you should see some sort of verification that you are properly connected to the Internet. You can proceed to what ever program you wish to use.