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Failure to connect to the Internet is a very common reason why people request service for their computers. We'll cover two main types of Internet connections here: dial-up and high speed. Each type has its own problems, with some overlap. The problems can be put into main categories:
You cannot connect to the Internet Service Provider (ISP).
You can connect to the ISP, but you can't open Web pages and/or use e-mail.
You can connect to the ISP and open Web pages and use e-mail, but your connection is very slow, and/or you get disconnected frequently.
There are many causes of each of these problems, too many to cover them all here. We will attempt to cover common problems here. However, as is the case with other problems, there are times that everything is set correctly, and the hardware is OK, but Internet connections still don't work. When this happens, it might be because of OS corruption serious enough to require a clean install, or it might be one of those Windows things that happens for no real reason, and sometimes resolves itself with no real reason either.
We don't cover wireless Internet specifically in this book, although some of the information in this chapter does apply to it.
When setting up or troubleshooting a connection, there are some simple rules to follow, as we discuss in the following sections.
Call the ISP first: There could be an outage in your area. There is no point in troubleshooting before you rule out an outage.
ISP settings: Every ISP has its own requirements and specifications for connection configuration. Make sure you follow them.
Username and password: Many connection problems could be avoided if users always used the correct username and password. This means that typos must be avoided and that the Caps Lock shouldn't be toggled on. In addition, some ISPs require you to enter your entire e-mail address (such as name@ domain.com) as a username, and some require only the username (the part before the "@."
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