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Email (or electronic mail) is simply the term used to describe any letters sent from one computer to another using the internet. It is the most widely used function of the internet, with hundreds of millions of messages sent and received daily, and this number is growing all the time.

The huge advantage of this system is that, however long or complicated your message might be it is still charged at the rate of one local telephone call, whether you are sending your message to Mongolia, Madagascar or Margate.

In order to clout to the internet you will need, obviously, a computer and a modem. This is the device which converts the information on your computer into information which can be sent down a telephone line and then converts the response back into computer information. Most moderns can now do this at a rate of 56 thousand bits per second but the real speed of access to the internet will depend on your telephone line itself. With a poor line, all the in the world won’t make your reception any faster.

Whatever the technology available to you, however, you will still need a service securer. These give you access to the internet. Most computers now come pre-loaded with access to various providers and you can use these to log on to one with which you think you will be happiest.

There are more and more service providers (or ISPs) to choose from, and you will need to think about how and when you are likely to use the internet in order to select the one for you. Some provide deal, but check the helpline cost, which may be exorbitant. Others will offer a comprehensive package for a certain amount of services. If you are intending to surf the web all day and all night, this may be a better deal for you.

An ISDN is a line which replaces your modem with a terminal adapter. The adapter is, at the time of writing, expensive, and the quarterly rental charges may be enormous, but the situation is constantly, and rapidly, changing, so it is always worth enquiring with your local telephone company about the latest deals and any special packages that are currently on offer.   

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