Setting Up An Internet Connection Without loss of sanity and privacy Robb Kimmer
I know so many people who seem to have a lot of problems when they try setting up an Internet connection. Some are unfortunate enough to have been victim of endless and tedious free CDs that we all receive in our post now and again, or that fall off front of a magazine, or that we have idly picked up from a local shop counter. The last thing you should do is use one of those to get connected. Really, you should know better! 99% of CDROM will be stuffed with advertising rubbish and spy-ware that gums up our computers and makes us vulnerable to advertisers on Internet. This type of product should be banned, in my opinion. Not only is a CDROM totally unnecessary to get us connected, it is a downright infringement of our privacy. Not to mention fact that it will impregnate your computer with registry entries and files that will make it virtually impossible to remove without a complete re-installation of your operating system. Watch out for spam e-mail that you will receive as soon as you log on World Wide Web, if you have installed CDROM software.
Besides all this, you will be trapped into using a particular web site as a search point and, to make matters worse, you will find that software has modified your web browser with all sorts of home-page advertising and a silly spinning logo up at top right where Microsoft or Netscape logo used to be. You can remove it, but it does require a registry edit, and that means strong coffee and trembling knees, even for stout-hearted. You can create your own logo for your web browser. Make something original and pleasing to sooth stressful wait while those unnecessarily large web pages load.
How can you avoid all this hassle? Simple DIY. Everything you need to set up a connection to Internet is right there in your operating system. It doesn’t matter which operating system. All current Microsoft Windows™ operating systems have necessary software installed ready for you to configure it and get connected. All flavours of Linux have same type of setup and so does AppleMac’. The principles are all same, but method varies from vendor to vendor.
For this article I am going to set out method for getting an Internet connection set up on a Windows XP Pro™ operating system. The rules and actions for Windows XP™ Home and Windows 2000 Professional™ are pretty much same. Windows™ ‘95/’98 and Me are very similar and so, to some extent, is Windows™ NT4 Workstation. I am not going to include Windows™ servers as it is unlikely that you would be using a server operating system in a home environment. Plus, you should not set-up an Internet connection of this sort on a network server. Server connections must be secure and protected. The configuration process is far more complex and beyond home or casual user.
Remember, we are going to do this without any ISP CDROM disks or a safety net. Just hang on tight and follow instructions carefully and meticulously. You can’t do any great damage and if you do get into a knot, it is fairly easy to back up by simply deleting connection. Frustration is going to be big demon in all matters concerning configuring computer services.
What you need:
You must have a computer! It must be running and you must have one of Microsoft Windows™ operating systems, mentioned previously. You will need a modem, internal or external, (external is best as it is easier to reset if required. An internal modem reset will need a complete computer shutdown), or an ISDN TA, (terminal adapter, needed to connect to your ISDN2e box that BT fitted). The modem/TA will be plugged into computer via a USB or Serial port connection. You should have correct cables and connectors supplied with your modem/TA. Look carefully at instructions and plug everything in. Power up modem/TA and you should see it do a power-on-self-test. Basically, all lights on modem/TA will flash on and off and then settle down to a power-on light and a light that indicates it’s default bandwidth, (probably 56K for a modem).
Now comes tricky bit. You have to install modem/TA software connection to computer. It may be that it has already been installed by your operating system’s Plug and Play technology. That is, when you plugged it in and powered it up, operating system recognised it and displayed a message telling you it had found new hardware and was installing supporting software for you. If it is successful, that will save you hassle of doing it manually. If it doesn’t you will have to go to Start>Settings>Control Panel>Add/Remove Hardware and double click on icon. This will launch Add/Remove Hardware Wizard. Microsoft operating systems are full of Wizards. They are supposed to be helpful? I leave you to judge that one. Once your new hardware has been detected, and providing it is a well known bit of kit and is fairly new, you should have no real hassles other than, possibly, having to supply a disk which contains ‘drivers’ for hardware. The drivers are code which operating system needs to act as a translator between CPU (computer processing unit, computer chip) and modem/TA internal software. Once drivers are loaded/installed you will be told all is well. If you are having problems finding a driver for your modem/TA from list in hardware wizard, locate Universal drivers and load a 56K driver. It should work fine. You can download a specific driver from vendor’s web site when we have you up and running further down this page.
Now you have modem/TA installed it’s a good idea to run a quick diagnostic test to make sure it is working and there are no software problems. Go to Start>Settings>Control Panel>Modems in most Windows™ operating systems. In Windows XP™ route is a bit more convoluted. You may have to navigate to Printers and Other Hardware>Phone and Modem Options (!). Once you have found modem icon or appropriate icon, double click it and choose Modems Tab. Then choose Properties and then Diagnostics Tab. You will see a button that is labelled Query Modem. Click it and system will send a message to interrogate modem/TA. Lights will flash on unit and you should see a lot of strange text flow into box on screen. That’s it. As long as you get text everything is fine. No text and you may have to re-install driver or hardware. Other information may be available in this dialog box. Such as, port that modem is connected to. If it’s a Serial/Com port, say Com 1, and you are having a problem, try setting it to COM 2 and try running diagnostics again. It usually works second time around. It is possible to set both ports as a connection. You can also choose to turn off modem/TA speaker if you don’t want to hear that strange squawking sound that a modem/TA makes when it is conversing with modem at ISP.