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  3. Computing online

Computing online

To connect your home computer to the internet, you will usually need a telephone connection or a television cable network connection. You will also need an account with an internet service provider.

Covered in this section

  • Setting up a connection and service provider
  • Understanding different internet connection types
  • How to search for information
  • 10 mins to complete this section

There are several ways of setting up your access to the internet and many companies that offer internet connections. To decide how you want to connect to the internet you will need to think about

  • whether you want a fast connection (broadband) or will use a slower, dial-up connection
  • whether you will always connect in one place (for example from home) or if you want to be able to connect from different locations
  • who will supply your connection, that is, who will be your Internet Service Provider (ISP)
  • how you want to pay: by pay-as-you-go or monthly contract.

If you don't have a conventional telephone landline or if you want to connect your laptop to the internet in different locations (on the train, for example) you can buy a small USB plug-in device from many mobile phone suppliers.

For information on how to keep your computer secure, visit the 'Protecting your PC' webpage.

The OU booklet Using a computer to support your study gives you further information.