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Lesson 3 Hardware and software to access the Net
Objective Hardware and software needed to access the Internet.

Hardware + Software = Infrastructure

Multiple hardware and software components work together to form the infrastructure needed to access the Internet.


Here are examples of the required client hardware you will need:
  1. Desktop machine:A desktop computer or a device dedicated to Internet access.
  2. Internet-enabled devices:Portable Internet-ready devices and appliances.
  3. Network Interface Card (NIC):Also known as a network adapter, NICs are required to connect computers to the network cabling system (using either coaxial cables or RJ-45 connectors). NICs plug into client and server machines and control the exchange of information between the two (known as handshaking).
  4. Modem:An acronym for modulator-demodulator. A modem converts digital signals to analog (outgoing traffic) and analog signals to digital (incoming traffic). Modems are used when dial-up services are needed (called POTS lines), that is, when connecting to the Internet through phone lines. Such connections use RJ-11 connectors, the same plastic square-tipped plug used on household phones.
  5. Cable:The physical wiring used to connect modems to a telecommunications infrastructure, or to connect networks to the Internet.
You can see examples of these hardware requirements in the following MouseOver:

Hardware and Software


Here are examples of the required client software you will need:
  1. Operating system: An operating system (OS) provides the user interface and manages system resources such as disk drives and video cards. The operating system controls how the system operates overall.
    OSs are needed on both the client and the server, but they can be different types.
  2. TCP/IP software: Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) is a communications protocol suite that lets dissimilar systems communicate. Every TCP/IP network client and server needs a unique IP address to identify it.
  3. Web browser: A client application used to browse, or "interface with," the Internet. Examples of browsers include Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer.
  4. Email: Electronic mail is a client application for transmitting mail over a network. Email is used as a worldwide communications tool.
In the next lesson, how to configure a Macintosh to access the Internet will be discussed.

Internet Infrastructure Quiz

Click the Quiz link below to reinforce your understanding of terms and concepts related to the Internet infrastructure.
Internet Infrastructure Quiz