What is it used for?

E-mail

Electronic mail is by far the most popular Internet function. With an Internet e-mail address, a person can communicate with anyone else in the world who has an e-mail address. E-mail arrives instantly to its destination provided it is addressed correctly, while the post office is lucky to deliver 80% of first-class letters within three days thus earning the nickname, "snail mail."

FTP

FTP or file transfer protocol is the system which allows files to move across the Internet. These files can be text files which contain readable text, executable files which are actual programs, or data files such as digitized graphics. Various types of software help with this FTP process.

An FTP site where you can download the latest version of Netscape starts with instructions on How to Download Via FTP and then leads you to the download site at ftp://ftp.netscape.com/

Telnet

This is a process by which users login to a remote computer and work on it as if they were physically in front of it. Once there, a user can work with all the programs and databases that are available to that remote computer. Typically that computer will be part of a large system with many terminals attached.

World Wide Web

This exciting area of the Internet (also called the WWW or the Web) is so entertaining and easy to use that it has overtaken the other parts. Information published here can have graphics and sound, and is linked through a hypertext system.

Online Databases

There are a multitude of databases that can be accessed from the Internet. Your name and account number are for example stored in the networks of Social Security, your state's driver's license bureaus and your telephone company. Online you can pay bills, traffic tickets and federal taxes -- and you can buy almost anything.

Back to: A Travel Guide to the Internet