need to know

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

you asked?


how much does it cost to 'get on the net'?


How can I speed up my Internet connection?

You can save connect-time (for which you pay) by


Why does my connection drop out, disconnect on me?

You get on, you're involved in what's happening, and your modem connection dies on you, the 'line drops out'.
That is SO annoying.

Some common causes:


OK, all the ISPs talk about having "a fast connection to the rest of the Internet" -- how can I really test that?

It is an interesting situation.
Your ISP, like you, has to try and get the best speed by having fast modems, a proxy (hard disk for storage of popular pages etc) with plenty of room, a fast processor, and the fastest possible phone connection.

A 'fast connection' is one that has greater bandwidth.
Think of it like this: the wider the pipe is, the more stuff can be sent through it at once.
Bandwidth can be thought of as the width of the data pipe.

[Don't you hate these things that you can't actually see, but need or want to understand? Real bummer.
It does make sense, though: I find it sinks in slowly, piecing itself together with the other things you are learning, like a jigsaw.
OK. So my mind is like the inside of a 5000 piece jigsaw box, when it's been shaken up really hard!
It's my mind, and we sort things out bit by bit.][baaaaad computer pun]

So, how can your ISP help you get better bandwidth, get the data (pages, whatever) to you more quickly?

What does it all add up to? Hopefully better connection speed for you.

It's not easy-peasy-lemon-squeazy (as my junior primary daughter would say) to test connection speed to the Internet, but if you're interested, it's not hard either.

What you are testing, and trying to compare, is how long it takes for a particular website on the Internet (not your local server, somewhere else in Australia or overseas) to return you a page, via your ISP.

Rather than loading whole pages, people on the 'Net test what they call "lag time" (how long it takes before you see anything!) by sending a very small amount of information (a data 'packet') to that site and return.

This is called Pinging the website.
You don't use a webpage address, you use the 'hostname',
e.g. (no / or anything else after the basic address).

You do this in a simple Ping program, written by someone else who just wanted to find out ;-)

You're paying for your ISP connection time, so understanding the different types of connection, and a bit of fiddling around with Ping, will give you the information to make the best choice for you.


My browser dies like a dog with its legs in the air when I'm online -- what's wrong with it?

Good software is like good engineering: it's invisible, you hardly notice it's there, because it's WORKING.

The two available browsers, Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer, frequently do not work.

This causes people enormous frustration, when they are searching for information, downloading files, stepping out on the Internet...

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