Basic Concepts Of Internet Connection

Basic Concepts Of Internet Connection

To connect to the internet, you need an internet provider, a method of connecting your computer to the internet, and connection software. This tutorial contains an introduction to the internet and what you need to get connected, including the services that the internet provides (such as e-mail, the web, usenet newsgroups, online chat, and file transfer), the components that make up the internet (such as computers, domains and servers), and the kinds of accounts that you can get.To place an order for the Complete Project Material, pay N5,000 to
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What is the internet?

The internet is a network of networks, that connects computers all over the world. The internet has its roots in the U.S military, which funded a network in 1969, called the ARPANET, to connect the computer at some of the colleges and universities where military research took place. As more and more computers connected, the ARPANET was replaced by the NSFNET, which was run by the National Science Foundation. By the late 1980s, the internet had shed its military and research heritage and was available for use by the general public. Internet service providers (ISPs) began offering dial-up internet accounts for a monthly fee, giving users access to e-mail, discussion groups, and file transfer. In 1989, the world wide web (An  internet-based system of interlinked pages of information) was born, and in the early 1990s, the combination of e-mail, the web and online chat propelled the internet into national  and international prominence.

Computers connected to the internet communicate by using the internet protocol (IP),  which slices information into packets (chunks of data to be transmitted separately) and routes them to their destination. One definition of the internet is all the computers that pass packets to each other by using IP. Because the internet was designed to operate even during a war, it uses dynamic routing, so that even if one part of the network is knocked out, packets can be rerouted around the problem. Warfare hasn’t been a problem for internet communications (yet), but dynamic rerouting helps the internet deal with other types of equipment failures. Along with IP, most computers on the internet communicate with transmission control protocol (TCP), and the combination is called TCP/IP.

Computers on the internet

Each computer on the internet is called a host computer or host. The computers on the internet – and there are now millions of internet hosts – are connected by cables, phone lines and satellite connections. They include large mainframe computers, smaller minicomputer, and personal computers. When your PC or Mac dials in to an internet account, your computer is an internet host, too.

Numeric computer (IP) addresses

Each host computer on the internet has a unique number, called its IP address IP addresses are in the formal, where each xxx is a number from 0 to 255. IP addresses identify the host computers, so that packets of information reach the correct computer. You may have to type IP addresses when you configure your computer for connection to the internet.

If you connect to the internet by using a dial-up account, your ISP (Internet Service Provider; see Internet PPP and SLIP accounts” later in this chapter) assigns  your computer an IP address each time that you connect. This system enables your ISP to get along with fewer IP addresses, because it needs only enough IP addresses for the number of users who are connected simultaneously (as opposed to assigning a permanent IP address to each customer of the ISP).

Domain and Host Names

So that people don’t have to remember strings of numbers, host computers also have names. The name of each host computer consists of a series of worlds separated by dots. The last part of the domain name is called the top-level domain (TLD), or zone, and is either two or three letters long. The three letter zones are used mainly in the US and indicate the type of organization that owns that domain. The six three-letter zones are listed in table 1-1.

The two letter zones indicate the country in which the organization that owns the computer is located. US organizations can register domains that end with us. Canadian organizations, for instance usually have the zone ca. you can find the full list of geographic domain extensions on the web at

The last two parts of a host computer name constitute the domain. The second-to- last part of the name (the second level domain) is chosen by the organization that owns the computer, and is usually some variant of the organizations name. for example, computers at the US Presidents offices at the white House have the domain Computers at Yale University have names that end with,

Commercial organizations, as well as individuals
Internet service providers and other network-related companies
Noncommercial (often nonprofit) organizations
U.S. government agencies
U.S. military
Educational domains
Since yale is an educational institution. Computers at the McGraw Hill publishing company are named with the domain

Because most organizations own more than one computer on the internet, most host computer names have at least one more part, preceding the domain name. this additional part (or parts) is assigned by the organization itself. For example, the domain (which is owned by one of the authors of this book) has several host names, including (the main web site), (the internet Gurus Web site), and (the web site of the society of wine educators). By far, the most widely used computer name is www, because it is frequently used for an organizations web  server (the computer that stores web pages). Some organizations name their computers stars, planets, animals, or other themes, so don’t be surprised if e-mail from Middlebury College comes from

Capitalization doesn’t matter in host names. and are both valid forms of the same name. host names usually appear in lowercase.

One host computer can have many different names. For example, many ISPs also offer domain hosting, which means that they allow your domain name to be applied to one of their host computers. Domain hosting enables you to have your own domain name, even if you don’t have a host computer. See the sidebars “Registering com, edu, net and org Domain Names” and “Registering Domain Names in Country Zones” for information on how to register a domain name.

Registering com, edu, net and org domain names

Where do domain names come from? Who controls which organization owns easy-to-remember domain names, such as and currently, domains in the com, edu, net and org zones are assigned by Network Solutions’ InterNIC Registration Services, at

To register a domain name, you need a computer on the internet to assign the name to, and two internet host computers that promise to provide domain name service for your domain (described in the section “The domain name system and DNS servers,” later inn this chapter). To begin the process, go the interNIC Registration Services Web site and follow these steps:

1.     Use the WHOIS search box on the InterNIC home page to check whether or not the domain name that you want to use has already been taken. If the name you want is taken, choose another one. If you own the trademark to the name, you may be able to get InterNIC to reassign the domain to you instead, but you’ll have to go through a formal dispute process.

2.     Click the link on the InterNIC home page to read the instructions for registering.

3.     Ask your ISP, web hosting service, or another organization that runs internet host computers to provide domain name service for your domain. Most ISPs do this for a modest fee. Ask your ISP for the IP addresses of the two domain name servers that will list your  new domain.

4.     Fill out an application, located online at the InterNIC web site, which asks for the name, address, phone number, fax number, and e-mail address of the administrative contact, technical contact and billing contact for the organization that will use the new domain. It also asks for the IP addresses of two domain name servers. You can use the web-based applications form, or you can copy the application into your e-mail program and e-mail the completed application to You have to use the exact template that InterNIC providers. No printed or faxed applications are accepted.

5.     interNIC confirms that it has received your application. If the application had no errors, InterNIC sends you a confirmation that that the domain has been assigned to you. Information about your domain is added to the tables of domain names that InterNIC sends throughout the internet daily, so it may take a day or two for your domain name to work.

6.     Check that your domain name works by suing Ping program in windows 98 (see the section “Pinging Another Computer” in chapter 2). Talk to your ISP or web hosting service about how to upload pages to your new web site. Test e-mail to your new domain, too.

7.     When you receive an invoice for your domain registration, pay it. As of the end of 1998, registering a domain costs $70, which includes the first two years of use. After the two years is over, you have to pay $35 per year to retain use of the domain name.

Registering domain names in country zones

Domains in the two-letter zones (top-level domains) are assigned by the country where the organization that owns the host computer is located. In general, each two-letter country zone is administered by a separate agency. Any organization can usually apply for a domain in its country’s zone.

The US (United States) zone is administered by the US Domain Registry at the information Sciences Institute of the University of Southern California (ISI), under the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA). Domains in the US zone must follow a set of naming rules, which require that the second-to-last (second-level) domain name be the two-letter state abbreviation, except for some special second-level names such as fed (for the Federal Government) or nsn(for Native American Nations). Preceding the second-level name is a country or town name, or special names such as k12 (for schools), ci (for City governments), co (for country governments) and state (for state governments). An organization name can precede that. For example the domain name for an organization named IECC in Trumansburg, New York might have the domain name to register a domain in the us zone, go the Web site.

For information about how to register with other countries, see the IANA web page at

Servers, Clients and Ports

Many of the host computers on the internet offer services to other computers on the internet. For example, your ISP probably has a host computer that handles your incoming and outgoing mail. Computers that provide services for other computers to use are called servers. The software run by server computers to provide services is called server software.

Conversely, many of the computers on the internet use servers to get information. For example, when your computer dails into an internet account, your e-mail program downloads your incoming messages from your ISP’s mail server. Programs that ask servers for services are called clients. Your e-mail program is more properly called an e-mail client.

Here are some types of servers and clients that you may encounter (for more information about what each of these services is used for, see the section “Internet Services”, later in this chapter):

·        Mail servers: handle incoming and outgoing mail. Specifically, post office protocol (POP) servers (or POP3 SERVERS) store incoming mail, while simple mail transfer protocol (SMTP) servers relay outgoing mail. Mail clients get incoming messages from, and send outgoing messages to, a mail server, and enable you to read, write, save and print messages.

·        Web servers: store web pages and transmit them in response to requests from web clients, which are usually called browsers.

·        FTP servers: store files that you can transfer to or form your computer if you have an FTP client.

·        New servers: store usenet newsgroup articles that you can read and send if you have a news client or newsreader.

·        IRC servers: act as a switchboard for internet-based online chats. To participate, you use an IRC client.

One host computer can run more than one server program. For example, a small ISP might have one computer running a POP server, SMTP server, web server and news server. To keep requests for information straight, each type of server responds to packets sent to specific ports (input for a specific internet service). Ports are numbered, and standard port numbers are used throughout the internet. You almost never need to type port numbers, but here are some widely used port numbers in case you do:

Port number                                      internet service

21                                            FTP (file transfer)

23                                            Telnet (remote login)

25                                            SMTP (mail relaying)

80                                            World wide web

110                                          POP3 (Storage of incoming mail)

194(as well as 6667 and many others)        IRC (online chat)

532                                          Usenet newsgroups (discussion groups)

The domain name system and DNS servers

You use one other type of internet server almost every time that you request information from an internet host. A domain name system server (DNS server) translates between the numeric IP addresses that identify each host computer on the internet and the corresponding domain names. People prefer to use host names, because they are easier to type and remember, but actual internet communications use the numeric addresses. For example, if your browser requests a web page from the Yahoo! Web site, which has the host name, a DNS server translates that name to, one of yahoo!’s web servers, and then sends the request to that IP address.

Your ISP provides a DNS server to handle domain name translations. If the DNS server isn’t working properly or you have configured your computer with the wrong IP address for the DNS server, your computer can’t find any of the computers on the internet that you specify by host name, because it has no way to translate host names to IP addresses. You may see error message such as “Unable to locate host” or “Server does not have a DNS entry” (Contact your ISP to fix the problem, or consult the section “Changing the settings for a Dail-Up Networking Connection” in chapter 2).

Internet Services

The internet provides a mechanism for millions of computers to communicate, but what kind of information is transmitted? Many services are available over the internet, and the following are the most popular ones:

·        E-mail: Enables people to sent private messages, as well as files, to one or more other people (see chapter 5).

·        Mailing lists: Enable groups of people to conduct group conversations by e-mail, and provide a way of distributing newsletter by e-mail (see chapter 12)

·        Usenet newsgroups: Enable ongoing group discussions  to occur, using a system of news servers to store messages to any of over 10,000 newsgroups that are identified by topic (see chapter 13).

·        Online chat: Provides a way for real-time online chatting to occur, whereby participants read each others messages within seconds of when they are sent. (see chapter 15 for details on how to use internet Relay Chat, and Chapter 16 for information on other types of chat).

·        Voice and video conferencing: Enable two or more people to hear and see each other, share a whiteboard, and share other applications (see chapter 17). Chapter 39 describes the state of VoIP(voice over IP, or Internet telephony).

·        The world wide web: A distributed system of interlinked pages that include text pictures, sound and other information. See part IV for instructions on how to use the web and part V for information on how to create your own web pages.

·        File transfer: Lets people download files from public file servers, including a wide variety of programs (see chapter 36).

Types of accounts

To connect to the internet, you can use one of several types of accounts: PPP and SLIP accounts, UNIX shell accounts, or online services.

Internet PPP and SLIP accounts

A point-to-point protocol(PPP) or Series Line Internet Protocol(SLIP) account is an internet account that uses the PPP OR SLIP communications protocol, respectively. These are the most popular accounts, because the most popular software – internet explorer, netscape Navigator, Eudora, and other programs – are designed to work with PPP and SLIP accounts. PPP is a more modern communications protocol than SLIP, so choose PPP if you have a choice when opening when opening an account (almost all internet providers offer PPP). Occasionally, you may run into a compressed SLIP (CSLIP) account, which is a more efficient version of SLIP, but still isn’t as good as PPP. This book refers to PPP, CSLIP accounts as PPP accounts or internet accounts.

An internet service provider (ISP) is an organization that provides dial-in internet accounts, usually PPP, CSLIP, or SLIP accounts, but sometimes UNIX shell accounts. Thousands of ISPs exist in the US, including dozens of ISPs with access phone numbers throughout the country, and many with phone numbers in limited regions. For example, AT & T WorldNet has access phone numbers in all major U.S cities, whereas so VerNet has phone numbers only in Vermont and surrounding states, but provides local access from many towns that AT&T WorldNet doesn’t cover.

To use a PPP account, you need a PPP-compatible communications program, such as Windows 98’s Dial-up Networking program (described in the section “TCP/IP and Connection Software” later in this chapter). This program dials the phone by using your modem (or connects using a higher-speed equivalent, as described in chapter 3), connects to your ISP, logs in to your account by using your user name and password  and then establishes a PPP connection, thus connecting your computer to the internet. While connected, you can use a variety of programs to read your e-mail, browse the web, and access other information from the internet. When you are done, you use Dial-Up Networking to disconnect from your internet account (see chapter 2 for more information on how to set up a connection to a PPP internet account).

UNIX Shell Accounts

Before the advent of PPP and SLIP accounts, most internet accounts were text-only UNIX shell accounts, and these accounts are still available from some ISPs. You run a terminal emulation program (a program that pretends that your PC is a computer terminal) on your PC to connect to an internet host computer. Most internet hosts run UNIX, a powerful but frequently confusing operating system, and you have to type UNIX commands to use a UNIX shell account. To send and receive e-mail or browse the web, you run text-only programs, such as Pine (the most popular UNIX e-mail program) and Lynx (the most widely used UNIX web browser). When you use a UNIX shell account, you don’t use graphics or use a mouse, and you can’t easily store information on our own computer.

Some providers give you both a PPP account and a UNIX shell account; you use the PPP account for your regular internet Work, and the UNIX shell account only when you need to change your account’s password. For information about using UNIX shell account see chapter 40.

Online services

An online service is a commercial service that enables you to connect to and access its proprietary information system. Most online services also provide an internet connection, e-mail, the World Wide Web, and sometimes, other internet services. Online services usually require special programs to connect to and use your account.

The three most popular online services are the following

·        American online (AOL): the world’s most popular online service, with a wide range of AOL- only features. To connect to AOL, read AOL e-mail, browse the web and access other AOL services, you use AOL’s proprietary program: the latest version is AOL 4.

·        CompuServe (CIS) one of the oldest online services, with an excellent selection of proprietary technical and business oriented discussion groups. CompuServe  has access phone numbers in dozens of countries. To connect to CompuServe and access its services, you use compuServe’s proprietary program: the latest version in CompuServe 4.

·        Microsoft Network (MSN) microsoft’s online service. You connect to MSN by using Dial-Up Networking, send and receive e-mail by using outlook or outlook express, and browse the web by using Internet Explorer.

Other online services (such as prodigy classic and Delphi) exist, but they aren’t nearly as popular as these three. Some computers (including those with windows 98) come equipped with sign-up software for some online services. You can also call these online services for a free sign up kit: in the U.S., call AOL at 800-827-6364, CompuServe at 800-336-6823, or MSN, at 800-386-5550.

Connecting through AOL or CompuServe

America online and CompuServe aren’t ISPs: they are commercial online services that give you information that’s not available on the internet. Both host online conferences. Provide libraries or downloadable files, and urn other proprietary services. Internet users who don’t have an AOL or CompuServe account can’t use these proprietary services.

Originally, these services had no connection to the internet. But as the internet became popular, AOL and CompuServe created internet connections, which initially were limited to exchanging e-mail with the internet. Then they added more internet services, such as access to the web and usenet newsgroups. Now, AOL and CompuServe let you run almost any Winsock compatible internet client (described in “TCP/IP and connection software,” later in this chapter) to access internet services. An exception is that AOL doesn’t provide a POP server, so you must read your AOL mail either by using the AOL software or by accessing AOL’S web site.

Telephone, cable, and satellite connections

Your computer is connected to the internet if it is connected to another computer or network that is connect to the internet. Several methods of connection are possible, requiring different kinds of hardware.

Dial-up internet accounts

Most people connect to the internet by using a modem and phone line to dial in to a PPP account on an internet providers computer. Most ISPs support modems at speeds of 14.4kbps, 28.8KBPS, AND 56kbps. You connect only when you want to use internet services, and disconnect (hang up) when you are done. Setting up your computer to connect to a dial-up internet account is described in chapter 2.

ISDN, ADSL, and Leased Line Connections

Some ISPs allow you to connect at higher speeds than a regular phone line allows. Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) and Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) are two all-digital, high speed types of phone lines that provides a faster way to connect to the internet. Your phone company sells you the special ISDN or ADSL line (not all phone companies offer them) and you get the hardware that connects the computer to the special phone line (see chapter 3 for details).

If your computer needs to be connected to the internet all the time, contact your telephone company for a leased line, the same type of line that large organizations use. Leased lines come in various speeds, including T1 (1.5Mbps, or enough for 24 voice channels) and T3 (44Mbps, or enough for 672 voice channels). If you don’t need quite that much speed, you can ask for a fractional T1 (half or a quarter of a T1 line). You also need to contact your ISP for a leased-line account, which costs more than a dial-up account.

Cable and DSS Internet Accounts

Some television cable companies also offer internet access over the same cable that brings you TV programs. You need a cable connection box and an account with a local cable company. (see chapter 3 for more information).

Digital satellite system (DSS), or direct broadcast satellite, lets you get internet information by satellite, Hughes DirecPC is the only company to offer this service, which includes a 24-inch antenna, a coaxial cable, a PC adapter card, and widows-based software. You receive data from the internet at a high speed via the satellite, but to send data to the internet, you need a dial-up connection and an ISP. Setup can be difficult and pricing has been controversial (how much you pay used to depend on how much data you downloaded). More information is available at, or call 800-DIRECPC (in the U.S.)


If you have a television but no computer, you can access the internet by using your TV. WebTV (which is partly owned by Microsoft) is the most popular TV-based internet connection. To use WebTV, you need a WebTV receiver that connects both to your TV and to a phone line:  you can buy these receivers at many consumer electronics stores. You use your TV screen as the monitor and your remote control to browse the web. With the optional keyboard, you can send and receive e-mail. For more information, see the web site or call 800-GO-WEBTV (in the US.)


Organizations that have many PCs can connect the computers in a network, and then connect that network to the internet. This method is more efficient than connecting each PC to the internet by using its own modem and phone line.

Choosing an ISP

To connect to the internet by using a dial-up phone line, high-speed phone line, or leased line, you first need to choose an ISP. (if you connect via cable, your cable company serves as your ISP. If you use WebTV, you can use WebTV as your ISP or choose a different ISP).

ISP Features

To choose an ISP, consider the following factors

·        Local Phone number: Most ISPs shave many phone numbers that your computer can call to connect to the internet. If the ISP doesn’t have an access phone number that is a local phone call for you, you can spend more on long-distance charges that on your internet account.

·        Price: In the US., the standard price for unlimited usage of a dial-up (PPP) internet account for modem speeds up to 56Kbps is $20 per month. Some ISPs offer lower prices for fewer hours (for example, $7.95 per month for up to five hours of internet usage). Some ISPs charge a one-time setup fee.

·        Software: Many ISPs provide a CD-ROM or diskette with software that you can use to connect to and use the internet. If you have Windows 98, 95 or NT, or a Mac with system 7.6.1 or later, your computer already has the software that you need. But if you run windows 3.1 or an older version of the Mac system, you need connection software.

·        Support: you never know when you’re going to have a problem, so your ISP’s technical support phone number (and e-mail help desk) should be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

·        Speed: Most ISPs have local access numbers that work with 28.8Kbps, 33.6Kbps and 56Kbps modems. Some also support high speed connections such as ISDN and ADSL (described in chapter 3) at extra cost.

·        Accessibility: If the ISP’s access numbers are frequently busy, you can waste a lot of time redialing until you connect. Ask internet users in your area whether they have trouble getting connected to the ISP.

In addition to connecting you to the internet, here are some other features that your internet account may provide:

·        POP mailboxes: your account almost certainly comes with an e-mail mailbox on a POP server. Some ISPs allow you to have more than one mailbox, so that each member of your family can read his or her mail separately, either as part of the cost of the account or for an extra fee.

·        Web server space: Most internet accounts include a modest amount of disk space on a web server, so that you can make your own web pages accessible to the internet. If you need more space, you can usually buy more for a small monthly fee.

·        Domain hosting: If you want your own domain name (refer to “Domain and Host names”, earlier in this chapter), most ISPs can host your domain, so that e-mail to the domain lands in your mailbox, and web addresses in your domain refer to web pages that you store on your ISP’s web server.

If you plan to create a large web site or one that requires a secure server, shopping cart application, CGI scripts, or other advanced web server options, consider using a web hosting server rather than your ISP (see chapter 26).

Finding ISPs

To find ISPs that have local phone numbers in your area, try these sources of information

·        Look at the list: use someone else’s internet connection to display the list, at this web site lists over 5,000 ISPs by state or province, country, or area code. For each ISP, you see the area code(s) that it serves, the modem speeds that it supports, the address of the ISPs web site, its fees and its sales telephone number.

·        Ask friends: Find out which ISPs your friends have had good luck with, including getting help configuring their computer to connect and getting through to the access numbers without encountering busy signals.

·        Look for ads: Look in the business section of the local paper or in your local yellow pages.

See our web site at for other pointers about choosing an ISP

Caution: Always check that the access number that you plan to use in really local. Just because an ISP say that it’s a local phone call for you doesn’t necessarily mean it is. Check the front of your phone book for a list of telephone exchanges that are a local call from your line or check with your local phone company.

Choosing User Names and Passwords

Unless you are signing up with a small ISP or have an unusual last name, most of the good user names are already taken. You can ask for your user name to be any combination of your name or initials. Or you can choose a fanciful name or one that relates to a hobby, but consider that you will probably use your e-mail address for a wide variety of purposes for years to come, so don’t choose something that might eventually be embarrassing.

What kind of password should you choose? A good password is easy to remember and hard to guess. It’s hard to find a password that has both properties. A very simple, easy-to-remember password (such as the name of the street that you live on, for example) is also easy for someone else to figure out. A really difficult password (a random collection of letters and numbers such as ER3k76tB) will probably keep out almost anyone- including you.

Writing down your password solves some problems, but creates others. If you travel with a laptop and keep a file named passwd.txt, then anyone who steals your laptop can get into your accounts. Using the same password for all of your accounts saves wear and tear on your memory. But its dangerous. If you tell someone how to use your wall street journal account to read the news, the same password lets them get into your brokerage account and make trades. In a nightmare scenario, someone could establish an attractive web site and ask people to register, simply to collect their favorite passwords and break into other accounts that they have.

You shouldn’t let security issues keep you from using the internet, but you should remain just paranoid enough to take a few precautions, such as the following:

·        Have a different password for each kind of account: if you’re the kind of person who likes to sign up for free things, you could easily wind up registering at dozens at web sites. Don’t try to create and remember a different password for each one. Choose three or four passwords at different levels of difficulty, and use the same password for all accounts of the same type.

·        Vary the difficulty of the passwords depending on what you’re trying to protect. Some passwords  are more for the web site’s protection than for yours. For example, if someone could guess your ESPN Sport Zone password, they could pretend to be you and read the members only parts of ESPN sportzone, without paying the subscription fee. That would annoy ESPN  lot more than it would annoy you. So a password such as LetMeIn might be sufficient.

On the other hand, if you have an account with a retailer, and the retailer keeps your credit card number on file, someone who guesses your password can buy products with your credit card. Someone who guesses your online banking password may be able to write checks. Someone who gueses your online brokerage account  password can buy and sell stocks for you. These accounts need very strong passwords.

Some passwords protect your private information. The password on an e-mail account for example, prevents someone else from reading your e-mail and sending out messages that appear to be from you. Would that be a huge disaster, or merely a nuisance? Choose your password accordingly.

·        If you’re protecting anything important, don’t use any English word or common name. password are stored in an encrypted form that is very difficult to decrypt. But password-cracking programs work by running through a large number of guesses, encrypting the guesses, and checking to see whether the encryption matches the encrypted password.  Such a program can run through all the words in a dictionary very quickly.

·        Use your brain sludge: if you can’t use words or names, where are you going to get all of these passwords, especially the difficult ones? And how are you going to remember them? The best passwords take advantage of what humorist Dave Barry calls “brain sludge” – all those useless odds and ends that stick in your memory for no good reason. Maybe you still remember the phone number of a high school girlfriend. She doesn’t live there anymore and maybe you wouldn’t call her if she did, but that number is taking up space in your head. Use it in a password. Let the guy who steals your laptop try to figure that one out.

·        Use acronyms: You can make up a lot of easy-to-remember but hard to-guess passwords by taking the first letter from each word of a memorable phrase. Nathan Hale’s famous “I regret that I have but one life to give for my country” produces “IRTIHB1LGFMC”. Can you guess where the password “t42&24t” comes from? It’s the first line of the song Tea for Two. The famous Richard M. Nixon quote “I am not a crook” could give you the password “rmnimnac”. They look like random strings of characters, but they aren’t. best of all is an acronym based on a quote that isn’t even famous; maybe it’s  just something that your Aunt Betty used to say all the time.

·        Stick a number in, or spell it wrong (or backwards). For example, to use friends’ names spelled backwards, with a digit in the middle (like nas3uS).

·        Don’t write down passwords, write down hints. If you need to write something down, all you need is a hint that will activate the appropriate brain sludge. The notation “AOL-Tracy” might be enough to remind you that your American Online password has something to do with the high school girlfriend. Jotting down “Watergate” or “Hale” might be all you need to remember the Nixon or Hale passwords.

Changing your password

Some ISPs give you a UNIX shell account along with your internet PPP account. If so, you can use the shell account when you want to change your password. See chapter 40 for directions on how to dial into a UNIX shell account and change your password.

If your ISP doesn’t provide you with a UNIX shell account, check its web site or call its support phone line to find out how to change your password.

TCP/IP and Connection Software

After you sign up for an internet account, install your communications hardware (usually a modem), and connect it to your phone line or other communications line, you need a program that allows your PC to communicate over the internet via TCP/IP (the internet protocols described in the earlier section “What is the internet?”) A TCP/IP connection program is called (for historical reasons) a TCP/IP stack. Windows 98, 95 and NT come with a TCP/IP stack called Dial-up Networking (you can also get TCP/IP stacks for windows 3.1).

As the internet was first becoming popular,  the producers of windows-based internet software got together and created a standnard way for internet client programs to work with TCP/IP stacks. This standard is called Winsock (Short for Windows sockets). Windows 98/95 and NT Dial-Up networking are all Winsock-compatible, so you can run almost any internet client program.

A similar standard exists for the Macintosh: MacTCP. MacOS7.6.1 or later come with a MacTCP-compatible TCP/IP stack. In 7.6.1 through 8.1, it’s called Open transport/PPP, while in MacOS8.5, the TCP/IP stack is part of Apple Remote Access.

The next post describes how to install and configure a TCP/IP stack to connect your windows 98,95, NT, 3.1, or Mac system to the internet.

End of The Basic Concepts Of Internet Connection

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