Internet Guide

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Internet FAQ List

Your Guide to Everything Internet; from Internet Safety Questions to Information on Browser Add-ons!

No matter what type of Internet you are running it is important to keep track of your Internet speed. Knowing your Internet speed and noticing any differences in performance speed can greatly help you when it comes to both using the Internet and dealing with your service provider.

Internet speed affects your overall experience while using the Internet – whether you choose to surf the web, play online games, shop, or stream videos. If you’re experiencing lag or problems while doing any of these activities it may possibly be due to low Internet speed. The last thing you want is for your Internet to time out in the middle of that big purchase, or for your video to keep buffering during the major plot point.

In some cases certain Internet services require a minimum Internet speed in order to function normally. Many online games will experience lag or connection issues if your internet speed does not meet the minimum requirements. Similarly, many streaming services offer different video qualities depending on your Internet speed. If your Internet speed is not fast enough for HD quality, then you may accidentally pay more for a service which you simply cannot utilize.

Not only is Internet speed important for during Internet usage, but it is also important to ensure that you are not receiving lower speeds than what you are paying your service provider for. While you may be paying for faster Internet, it is important to use a speed test in order to make sure you are receiving what you signed up for. If your Internet speed is not sitting where it should be, it is important to let your service provider know – as this may alert them of any technical or connection issues they may be having either directly to you or in your service area as a whole.

Most service providers have speed tests available on their website for you to utilize. However, several other options can also be found with a simple Internet search. These tests can tell let you know where your ping, upload speed, and download speed are at. It may also help to check your Internet speed on a regular basis to see if you are experiencing any irregularities.

Keep in mind what you plan on doing with your Internet when choosing or upgrading your Internet speed. Many Internet services describe what their Internet speeds are designed for, or what they can handle. If you are not able to find such descriptions you can call or email your service provider in order to find out.

You can do more with your browser than just search the Web. Modern browsers allow users to add features called “add-ons” or sometimes “plug-ins.” These browser extensions allow the user to do more with their browser. Users can use add-ons to block ads, clip and save websites and more.

Browser add-ons offer many benefits to Internet users. However, these browser extensions can potentially affect your computer’s functionality. If you suspect that this is happening, it is possible to disable add-ons temporarily or permanently.

What are the potential effects of add-ons?

Some browser add-ons (also called extensions) can cause your computer to stop responding. Most of the time, browser add-ons require your permission before they are installed on your computer. However, some browser extensions add themselves to your computer without your knowledge. This often happens if the add-on was paired with another program.

Some add-ons negatively affect a computer’s load time. When you open your browser, it loads each and every add-on you have installed, as well. If you have many browser add-ons installed on your computer, this can produce a long delay when you get online. If this is happening to you, consider disabling your add-ons.

How can I disable add-ons on my browser?

Some add-ons can be removed in the “Programs” section of your computer’s control panel. Click the Start button and select “Control Panel.” Then, click “Programs” and then “Programs and Features.” Select the program you wish to uninstall and click “Uninstall.”

Other add-ons cannot be disabled or removed this way. For these add-ons, you’ll have to visit your browser’s extension manager. Use these instructions to disable add-ons in your browser:

Internet Explorer

Click “Tools” in the menu bar and select “Manage Add-ons.” When the window appears, find and click on the add-on you wish to disable. Click the “Disable” button at the bottom right corner.

Firefox

Select “Tools” in the menu bar and click “Add-ons.” In the window, click “Plugins.” Select the add-on you wish to remove, and click the “Disable” button.

Google Chrome

Click the wrench or other menu icon at the top right corner of the browser. Select “Tools” and then “Extensions.” Select the extensions you wish to disable in the tab that appears. Click the disable or uninstall link located underneath the name of the extension you wish to disable or delete.

Asynchronous Transfer Mode

ATM stands for Asynchronous Transfer Mode. An ATM Transfer is a type of transferring process for data between networks. An ATM connection can transfer video, voice and data signals between networks. An ATM transfer is considered “connection oriented.” The ATM transfer will determine an endpoint before it ever transfers any data, whether it is voice, picture or video data.

On the other hand, an IP or Ethernet data transfer is considered “connectionless.” These transfer modes can send data before they have established a predetermined connection.

ATM History

The ATM connection was designed in the late 1980s. It was specifically created for the Broadband Integrated Services Digital Network. It was designed to meet the needs of high-volume data traffic through file transfers, along with transferring real-time content like video and voice without unnecessary delay.

The Asynchronous Transfer Mode was created as a solution for computer networks that needed to send a lot of data at one time. ATM connections can still be useful today for networks that need to transfer large amounts of data, particularly voice and video data.

The ATM is similar to packet switching networks that encode data into small cells. On the other hand, Ethernet and IP networks encode data into frames that vary in size depending on the data.

Today, wireless ATM and mobile ATM transfers can be used when data is transferred from a mobile device to a base station. Although ATM transfers are still around, they are used less often than Internet Protocol (IP) and Ethernet connections.

Asynchronous Transfer Mode

ATM stands for Asynchronous Transfer Mode. An ATM Transfer is a type of transferring process for data between networks. An ATM connection can transfer video, voice and data signals between networks. An ATM transfer is considered “connection oriented.” The ATM transfer will determine an endpoint before it ever transfers any data, whether it is voice, picture or video data.

On the other hand, an IP or Ethernet data transfer is considered “connectionless.” These transfer modes can send data before they have established a predetermined connection.

ATM History

The ATM connection was designed in the late 1980s. It was specifically created for the Broadband Integrated Services Digital Network. It was designed to meet the needs of high-volume data traffic through file transfers, along with transferring real-time content like video and voice without unnecessary delay.

The Asynchronous Transfer Mode was created as a solution for computer networks that needed to send a lot of data at one time. ATM connections can still be useful today for networks that need to transfer large amounts of data, particularly voice and video data.

The ATM is similar to packet switching networks that encode data into small cells. On the other hand, Ethernet and IP networks encode data into frames that vary in size depending on the data.

Today, wireless ATM and mobile ATM transfers can be used when data is transferred from a mobile device to a base station. Although ATM transfers are still around, they are used less often than Internet Protocol (IP) and Ethernet connections.

Latency is the speed needed to complete a task online. Whenever Internet users click on a link, input a Web address or open a browser, the time they spend waiting in between clicking and achieving is latency.

Latency is determined by a number of factors that affect the speed it takes to load an online request. These factors include:

Network – shared vs. dedicated

Shared networks

Shared networks send Internet connections through some receivers before others in the area. Many cable Internet providers use shared connections.

Dedicated

Dedicated networks send Internet connections straight from the provider’s tower to the door step of the customer. DSL connections and some Fiber Optic connections are dedicated networks.

What this means for you: A shared network is slower, more latency, than a dedicated network, less latency. This is because it runs through more users and obstacles before reaching your computer.

Devices

Number of devices

The more devices connected to a single network require the network to divvy up bandwidth between each device. This means that each user would experience a slower perceived speed.

What this means for you: Limit the number of devices connected at any given time. Or, call your Internet service provider and upgrade to a plan with higher speeds.

Type of device

Tablets, smart phones, televisions, gaming systems, laptops, desktops, etc. can have different latencies.

What this means for you: Update your device’s software whenever you are prompted or buy the latest versions whenever they come out to decrease latency.

Connection

How devices connect

Wireless connections may have different latencies than Ethernet connections. If you use a connected device further from the router, you may experience slower speeds.

What this means for you: Wireless connections are convenient and easy to use. However, you may have to sacrifice some speed. If you are looking for a super-fast connection, use an Ethernet cord at a desk or table.

How a network connects

Internet providers use a variety of connection methods, such as Fiber optic, cable, DSL, Satellite, or Dial Up.

Each mode of connection varies in the speeds it is capable of producing.

Type of request

Size

Different requests have different latencies depending on how big they are.

Loading a movie requires more bandwidth than loading a web page. Therefore the movie request would have a higher latency.

Download vs. Upload

Usually, Internet providers allot more of your plan’s Internet speed to downloading. Therefore, there is a higher chance of latency when uploading.

What this means for you: Before you order an Internet package, let you provider know what you general like to do on the Internet. Your representative will be able to build a plan that offers the correct upload and download speeds for your needs.

A packet is a block of data that moves over a local area network (LAN) or a wide area network (WAN). Packet transmission makes it possible for data to move to your computer or other web-enabled device when you get online.

Packet loss happens when one or more of those packets that were transmitted do not arrive at their intended destination. With significant packet loss, the user will notice a significant and noticeable change in digital communications.

Packet loss can happen as a result of channel congestion, inadequate signal strength at the intended destination point. Interference can also cause packet loss, as well as hardware failure, software corruption or an overburdened network. Sometimes, users can intentionally cause packet loss for operational management purposes.

Effects of packet loss

Packet loss can cause a significant drop in function. The effects of packet loss can also include:

Errors to received data, like:

  • Broken or incomplete images
  • Garbled speech
  • Complete absence of received data

Jitter when performing functions like video conferencing

Jitter and gaps in audio when communicating over services like VoIP

Is packet loss ever a good thing?

Sometimes, packet loss is so insubstantial that the effects are not even noticeable. And other times, especially at large offices for example, packet loss is used to control the amount of data that is being pushed through at once.

When the amount of data to be transmitted over a connection grows at a rate quicker than the connection will allow, it is possible to drop packets. This situation is also known as “bottleneck.” Instead of flooding the transmission with too much data at once, the user can choose to employ packet loss and have the data sent over a longer period of time.

Flash is an Internet term used to specify certain programming and features that provide users with better access to computer programs and applications. There are different types of Flash technology that help with various computer tasks.

Flash player

Flash player is a type of software that offers a variety of media accessibility. Originally called Shockwave Flash and then Macromedia Flash Player, this technology is now referred to as Adobe Flash. It lets users stream videos, play games, access PDFs and use audio services all at a higher quality.

Most media applications require Adobe Flash in order to view the full feature. This is because many media links on your computer require a program that can translate their information into viewable, understandable content for you.

A flash player allows your computer to read other programs or applications that present them to you as they are meant to be viewed.

How do I install flash player?

This service is often free. If your device does not come with flash already installed, you can find the technology on your own. To first install flash player, search for a flash plug-in on the Internet. This will install Macromedia Flash Player on your device.

Your computer will check for and recognize available updates and then ask your permission to install them. It is always a good idea to keep your technologies up to date to make sure you’re getting the best quality and avoid Internet latency along the way.

Flash memory

Flash technology also offers devices for storing your computer information and files. The most popular forms of flash memory are a USB flash drive or a flash card. These devices provide safe, high-quality storage for your files. They also allow you to transfer information from one device to another without wires.

If you are creating web pages, HTML could be a helpful tool for you. HTML, or HyperText Markup Language, was created in order to help website developers differentiate between different shapes, sizes and varieties of text.

How to begin using HTML

Using HTML requires a basic knowledge of tags. Tags are markings used on webpages that signify what the text should look like once it has been formatted. Tags are keywords that are surrounded by angle brackets. They go on either side of a word or block of text. The first tag is often called the “start” or “opening” tag, while the second tag is called the “end” or “closing” tag. Start and end tags always look alike, with the exception of the forward slash that is included in the end tag.

A few common tags are:

  • < h1 > and < /h1 > – signifying the beginning and end of a heading
  • < p > and < /p > – signifying the beginning and end of a paragraph
  • < b > and < /b > – signifying that the text should be formatted in a bold font for readers

How web browsers use HTML

Web browsers are built to understand HTML coding and files. Once a web browser reads a page that has been properly coded in HTML, it can interpret all the different tags to create a beautifully formatted page. This includes pages with headlines, subheads, bulleted lists and much more.

Finding more information about HTML

HTML coding is a valuable skill to have for anyone who wants to be more web savvy. There are many resources on the Internet that can help you learn more about HTML and how to write and publish your very own web pages.

Search for HTML information on your favorite search engine and begin learning all the tricks of the trade.

CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) is a tool used for writers and web designers at any level to organize document content and formation.

How CSS works

CSS communicates between you and your computer. It describes the way you want a document to look by using coding to turn it into a web page. Your document is not readable to a web page until you use CSS to translate it.

CSS separates the content of a document from the formatting elements, allowing it to transfer from a document into a web page. It separates the way it looks from what it says in order for the web page to convert it into the overall final product you want.

When converting a document into a web page, it requires coding to tell the web page how to present the content you’ve created and want to upload.

CSS features

When using cascading style sheets, you can create the format you want your document to have as a web page. CSS allows you to add bullet points, insert links, format sizes and fonts, etc. Overall, CSS organizes and prepares your document for web design.

How do I use it?

There are several websites that explain basic CSS coding techniques and provide reference sheets to supply you with all the codes you need. CSS works in multiple languages and multilingual guides are also available to help you create your website.

There are also websites that allow you to test your coding to make sure you’ve included all the proper elements. CSS uses a combination of letters, numbers and symbols to communicate to the web page the correct formatting. Different characters signify different elements of your document.

For further questions regarding CSS, you can search for tips and suggestions. If you’re looking for a more advanced lesson, you can take online classes to learn more about CSS.

 What are domain names?

A domain name is a specific name for a website or computer resource. Domain names similar to home addresses. Every website has an IP address that serves to identity its exact location. However, IP addresses are difficult to remember and can be confusing. A domain name is user-friendly and easier to understand.

Domain names help identify where a specific website is located. Domain names also give information about what type of resource a website might be. It does this by including one of several top level domains, or TLDs.

Here are some of the TLDs that a website can fit into, along with what they each indicate:

  • .com – A commercial business website
  • .gov – A governmental agency website
  • .org – An organization or nonprofit’s website
  • .edu – An educational institution’s website
  • .net – A network organization’s website

Domain names are organized by the Domain Name System (DNS). The DNS operates through a tree structure. It organizes website locations through pieces of information, such as TLDs and subdomains, in a hierarchal order.

What is the difference between a domain name and a URL?

Domain names are often confused with URLs. A URL, or Universal Resource Locator, is like the full address and directions for a website. The URL contains information that allows a website to be exactly located.

A domain name, on the other hand, is just part of a URL. The domain name is the most memorable part of a URL.  For instance, a URL might be http://www.sunshine.edu, while the domain name would be sunshine.edu. The domain name is most likely the name you would use in everyday conversation, like when you are telling a friend about a cool new website you found.

What is a subdomain?

A subdomain is part of a larger website domain. For example, rain.sunshine.edu would be a subdomain of sunshine.edu. In this case, the domain is the “larger” website.

ISP stands for Internet service provider. That means that ISP is the company or network that supplies you with your Internet connection. Having an ISP allows you to connect to the Internet with any of your compatible devices.

What does it do?

An ISP provides your home, business, or mobile device with Internet access. Internet activity begins as an analog signal. In order to access the Internet on your devices, it needs to be converted into usable, digital Internet that is compatible with computer systems.

Your ISP channels an Internet service to your accessible location, converts it through a modem and provides it to your devices through a router. You can connect either through an Ethernet cord or wirelessly.

Some ISPs offer additional features such as:

  • Email addresses
  • Web hosting
  • Online storage
  • Cloud services
  • Virtual servers

How do I get it?

There are a number of ISPs available to consumers. The most common ways of getting Internet service are through dial-up, DSL, cable, fiber-optics or satellite. Each of these methods uses different technology to provide Internet with varying capabilities.

Your Internet service accessibility depends on your area. Some companies are only available in certain areas of the country. Each specific address can only have up to one of each of the ways listed above to connect to the Internet.

Research your area to find the Internet providers available to you. When you call an Internet service provider, they can look up your specific address to see if lines are already set up and ready to be activated. If not, it is possible to get new lines installed to allow Internet providers to service your home or small business.

Be aware that businesses often have slightly different rules depending on your Internet service provider and the size of your business.