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Category Archives: Computer

Tips to Send a Text Message from a Computer

There are a lot of people who have a general misconception regarding how emails are sent to cell phones. They think that for sending an email to a mobile phone, the recipient should inevitably have Internet access. However, the fact is that even if the recipient does not have access to the web, he can still receive the emails that are sent from a computer.

If you want to send a text from a computer to a cell phone which does not have web access, you will need some details such as the recipient’s phone number and his service provider. You can also directly dispatch it to his email inbox.

Sending an SMS or Email to a Mobile Phone Without Internet Access
The main disadvantage of doing this is that, the recipient will not be able to see the message in the email format in which it was sent originally. He will only receive the email in the SMS format. In such situations, the sender will have to use the email to SMS gateway technology of getting emails and SMS across to the recipient.

Sending an Email to a Web-enabled Mobile Phone
If the cell phone user has access to the web, he has the option to view the email in the format that was used while sending. However, in this case, the sender will have to use the standard email method of sending the email to the recipient’s email account inbox. The recipient will have to use the GPRS or Wi-Fi technology to access the web from his cell phone.

How to Send a Text from a Computer?
To dispatch messages from a PC to a mobile that doesn’t have an Internet connection, all you need to know is the SMS gateway address. Nowadays, majority of cell phone service providers have SMS gateways which do the job of receiving emails and transferring them to the recipient’s cell phone in a text format.

If you do not know the service provider of the recipient, you can find it with the help of the Internet. Use a site that provides information by simply entering the phone number. From such websites, you will get the name and also the service provider of the receiver. Once you know the service provider, you can determine the appropriate SMS gateway address.

Service providers have their own email to SMS gateway addresses. A typical pattern of the receiver’s address would be his ‘cell phone number@company’s extension.domain name’. For example, if the receiver is using Verizon Wireless, his SMS gateway address would be somewhat like, 1124233443@vtext.com. You simply have to email the SMS gateway, which will then mail your message to the recipient in the form of SMS.

Tips to Start a Printer Repair

Computers have reduced human efforts to a great extent. The tasks which would otherwise take several hours can be done in a very short period of time using a personal computer. However, after all, a computer is a machine which can have technical problems. A machine which does not function efficiently would be almost useless for the owner and hence, the demand for computer repair professionals is high. If you are good at computer repairs, then starting a printer maintenance business would be the best venture for you. Given below are some steps on how to start a printer repair business.

Get Necessary Technical Knowledge
The printer repairing business is technical in nature, and if you do not have a technical background, then it is advisable that you do a hardware and networking course from a renowned institute. Also, working as an intern in a computer repair shop will help you know much more about this business.

Choose a Good Business Name
The first step is to think of a catchy name for your company. While choosing a name, you have to take care that the name is not the same by which someone else is running his business. By having an impressive company name, you will be able to create a brand and get a unique identity in the market. Also, have a well maintained website which will give all essential details of your offerings and services to your clients.

Get the Infrastructure in Place
Any business requires proper infrastructure to grow and excel. So, you will need a commercial premises where you will be repairing printers of your clients. Make sure that the business premises is in a prime business location so that you can quickly bring damaged printers there and return them immediately after repairing. If you find it difficult to buy a commercial space, you can consider the option of renting it or having a long lease. Consider the following points while selecting a place for the business:

  • Adequate human resource
  • Sufficient space
  • Accessibility
  • Security
  • Test equipment and tools

Complete Legal Formalities
To start any business in the USA, you should complete legal formalities first. My suggestion would be that you should consult the Small Business Administration and Taxation Bureau to know of the legal formalities to be completed. Getting license and liability insurance is essential for a printer repair business. It would be advisable to consult an attorney who can guide you through the entire legal process

Get Essential Finance
You require funds to run any business successfully. Apart from your own capital, you would require more funds to pay your employees and purchase printer repair materials. So, sign up with a bank for a cash credit facility to get continuous finance for your business.

Make Contacts With Small and Medium-sized Companies
Making business contacts is important. Meet the company executive and managers and give them your card. Try to understand what problems they are facing with their printers and offer them solutions for the same. More the number of clients, more would be your total revenue and hence networking is absolutely essential. You will be able to get more clients by joining a Chamber of Commerce. With more concentrated efforts, you will be able to get more big companies as your clients.

Offer Quality Service
The success of your business depends on the quality of service you offer to your clients. To satisfy them, you need to understand printer problems carefully and provide appropriate solutions to deal with them. Do test the printers yourself to make sure that the technical faults have been dealt with properly. Always deliver the printers before the promised time to indicate your level of professionalism. Keep your pricing competitive and attractive to gain more clients.

Since computer printers are being used extensively, opportunities in their repair and troubleshooting are many. You should try your best to grab these opportunities and also provide consultation services along with repairing. Good luck for the venture!

How Does a Computer Network Work

The first computer network was set up by ARPA (Advanced Research Projects Agency), known as ARPANET in the late 1960s. It is an interconnection of many computers with the help of some network components. There are many types of networks, classified as per the geographical location of the computers and the components. The type of connection used for connecting the computers and the components used, decides the type of the computer network.

Network Components

  • Network Interface Cards (NIC)
  • Hubs
  • Bridges
  • Repeaters
  • Switches

Types of Computer Networking

Geographical Location

LAN (Local Area Network)

A local area network (LAN) has computers interconnected along with some other resources, like printers, modems, floppy disks, and hard disks. LAN is restricted to a building or an office or can be a residential network connecting the computers and resources to each other. With the help of LAN, the above stated resources can be accessed and shared by all the computers in the network. The computer that manages and offers these resources is called a server computer.

MAN (Metropolitan Area Network)

The metropolitan area network is spread over an area with a diameter varying from 5 to 50 km. MAN is not owned by a single organization, instead it is an interconnection of many LANs. It has many applications and can form many networks, like the banking, military, stock brokers, and airline reservation network. All these require a lease line that is to be taken from a telephone company. The speed of the data line varies from 2 Mbps to 600 Mbps. Some MAN networks support the Internet Protocol (IP) and are called Network Service Providers (NSP). The network service provider is the backbone of the Internet Service Provider (ISP) as it connects all the ISPs. Usually, the Internet is accessed from an Internet service provider.

WAN (Wide Area Network)

The wide area network connects all the metropolitan area networks (MAN). The wide area network is a larger version of the local area network (LAN). Internet is an example of the wide area network.

GAN (Global Area Network)

The global area network comprises all the wireless LANs and satellite communication. The example of global area network is broadband global area network (BGAN) which connects all the broadband wireless voice and data communication on the earth.

Connection Types

Wired Network

Twisted pair wires, coaxial cables, and fiber optic cables are used to connect the computers and other network components together. Twisted pair wire is a telephone wire, which is used to connect the computers. Coaxial cables are the wires of the cable TV network used to connect the Internet and, in turn, to the computer network. In fiber optic technology, voice and data is transmitted in the form of light.

Wireless Network

The wireless computer network uses the wireless technologies, like satellite communication, wireless LAN and bluetooth. The satellite uses microwaves to communicate the data and information over the network. Wireless LAN requires a router and a network adapter.

These were the types of computer networks, and their working depends on the size of the network and the type of connection used.

Tips to Get Rid of Computer Viruses

Computers have become almost indispensable today. However, it is after all a machine and it too needs care to remain functional all the time. So, wherever Internet technology comes into picture, computer security is a subject of major concern. This is because the PC is exposed to many viruses and malware that can harm its functioning. Computer viruses are malicious programs that start operating anonymously from any location in your system. Like biological viruses, they also replicate themselves and spread from one workstation to another in a network. They are primarily responsible for sudden deletion and corruption of files. Besides, they hamper the security of important documents stored in your system and crash your system’s RAM (Random Access Memory). Signs such as an extremely slow system, abrupt reboots, blue error screens, a lot of undefined and random errors, and a large number of pop up windows opening simultaneously, indicate a possible virus or a spyware attack! There are different types of viruses such as spyware, adware, Trojan horses, web bugs, and worms which also harm your PC. They self infest without the knowledge of your system and corrupt its sensitive data.

Methods to Get Rid of Computer Viruses

Following are methods adopted to get rid of computer viruses:

Choosing an antivirus software: Generally, an antivirus software is a part of your system as a pre-installed feature. However, the market offers you better choices always. Some of the leading antivirus software include:

  • McAfee
  • Norton
  • AVG
  • Avast

Of these, Avast and AVG are some antivirus software which can be downloaded for free. McAfee and Norton are sturdy retail antivirus software of which McAfee is the oldest and Norton is the heaviest. Although Norton is one of the best antivirus programs made, its installation may slowdown the system as it is a bulky program. Nowadays, AVG is quite a popular one as it upgrades itself at regular durations without prompting the user each time.

Using online antivirus software and rescue disks: Computer viruses also keep upgrading themselves like the antivirus programs. At times, they do not let you access the antivirus software installed in your system. So what do you do? There are a few online virus scanning software that provide free online tools to tackle risky situations:

  • McAfee scanner – Most recommended
  • Avast Virus cleaner
  • Trend Housecall
  • Kaspersky online virus scanner
  • Panda Activescan

Rescue disks can also help you get rid of such problems. Most antivirus software on installation, ask the user to create a ‘rescue disk’ and prompt him for reboot. Rescue disks load the antivirus software even before the operating system loads. Hence, the virus detection and removal becomes easy as the user gets access to the antivirus programs. A very crucial point to be remembered is that updation of antivirus software is as important as installing them in the system.

Using anti spyware software: Spyware are a high security risk to your system. These programs spy on your system, steal important information, and alter your system configuration. Signs of spyware attacks can be confirmed with unusual changes in web browsers, search engines, random error messages, and a very slow system. The best remedy to this problem is installation of a sturdy anti spyware software. There are many free spyware removal programs available in the market, which can be used to get rid of computer viruses. Some of the best recommended anti spyware programs are:

  • Windows Defender
  • Webroot
  • Spybot search and destroy
  • Defensenet
  • Bazooka

PC Doctor and Microsoft anti spyware are also extensively used in spyware removal. Mac users can rely on MacScan.

Using anti adware software: Adware are annoying programs that are responsible for the uncontrolled number of pop up advertisements clogging your web browsers. Not only do they slow down your system, but at times they self install unnecessary software without the knowledge of the system. For removal of adware, Lavasoft’s Ad-adware is the best!

Using firewall to get rid of computer viruses: Firewalls are either hardware or software, and sometimes a combination of both. They regulate network traffic by monitoring port activity of the system based on a set of pre-defined security policies. These policies list IP addresses and ports to be blocked or allowed based on the risk proposed. Some of the best firewall products available in the market are:

  • Online Armor Personal Firewall
  • Comodo Internet Security
  • Little Snitch
  • Zone Alarm Free Firewall
  • PC Tools Firewall
  • Ashampoo Firewall

Of these, Zone Alarm Free Firewall is the best, as it has been going sturdy for years now without any major upgrades.

So, whenever there is a slightest doubt of a possible virus attack, there are some immediate action items to confirm your doubts!

  • Stop working. Save the necessary documents and close all the windows.
  • Don’t start deleting files frantically assuming the worst. Stay calm and take a backup of all the important data.
  • Run your antivirus software immediately. In case it asks for any updations, update the software and run it.
  • If problems persist, there is a possibility that the system is under a virus/spyware attack.

Some Tips for Intelligent Browsing

  • Browse intelligently. Internet is a web of networks. Hence, the system is always prone to virus attacks. Do not visit sites that might be a source of malicious content.
  • Be careful when going for free software downloads, as most of them contain spyware.
  • Maintain secure browser settings every time you access your system. Nowadays, every browser gives users the convenience to adjust browser security settings. Go to Tools and access the security tab to alter browser settings if needed. You may also adjust the settings such that cookies get stored only for secure websites.
  • Firewalls are a must for your system when it comes to network security. However, nowadays, Apple’s MAC OS and Windows XP have inbuilt firewall programs.
  • Read online license agreements, privacy statements, and security warnings before you download any software. Agreeing under sheer carelessness and ignorance can invite malware. In such cases, consult the IT service center or make use of a search engine to check if any form of malware has been reported for the software you want to download. These measures will prevent your system from getting infected with spyware carriers like Kazaa and Grokster.
  • Do not open unsolicited email attachments containing word documents and Powerpoint presentations. These are gateways to install viruses in your system. Also, be cautious while clicking on online messages claiming to alert you about your system security risk. Most of the time, they are links for installation of spyware.
  • Spyware threat is obvious in case of peer-to-peer file-sharing services. So, it is advised not to download any executable files from such shared connections.
  • Last but not the least, update antivirus and firewall software regularly. Most of them today are self programmed to update themselves after a specific duration.

Prevention is better than cure does not apply to health alone. It is always better to prevent the enemy from attacking, rather than letting the enemy attack and then fighting back. Upgrade your system with the latest antivirus software today!

Tips to Make Money with Your Computer

If you are thinking of working from home, then you are not alone. Most people like working from home, using their own PC. But the question arises; how do you make money from home with a computer?

There are several ways to go about this, but you need to give it a thought with a clear mind. You have to also be aware of the many scams floating online. There may be several websites which promise a lot of money if you register with them for a small fee. You need to be careful, as several are scams. But having said that, there are others which are genuine too.

Besides these websites, you can also make money through affiliate marketing, product reviews, freelance jobs, telemarketing, and selling things online. Let’s have a look at the options in more detail.

Affiliate Marketing
If you already have a website or a blog, one of the best things to do is Internet affiliate marketing. The concept of affiliate marketing is that, you would be responsible for marketing a particular product or website through your blog or website, and in return, you are paid a commission. You would need to promote the services of that particular website in your blog, besides providing a link, which would direct the readers to the website you are promoting. And once the end users register for the product you are promoting, you are paid a commission.

Product Reviews and Videos
If you are good at writing, you can opt to write reviews of products. Several websites market a variety of products, and you can read the features of those products and then write on them. Moreover, there are several products which you may have been using, and you can write your own experiences on that. There are several websites for which you can write reviews, and they make payments in return. And the best part is, you can register on these websites for free. If you are not that good at writing, but are good at speaking, you can speak about the products through a video, and upload them to some of these websites. Other than that, there are several websites which require online surveys to be done for them, and you can be a part of these, and get paid well.

Freelance Jobs
If you are good at computer programs or have some other skill set, then why not think of using them? There are several people around the world who post projects on websites, and you can bid for such online jobs. Once you complete them, you are paid the bid amount. There are some websites which charge a particular amount for using their services, so make your decisions accordingly.

Telemarketing and Customer Service
There are companies which need online marketing services for promoting their products. For such jobs, you need an Internet connection, so as to make and receive calls from customers and troubleshoot their problems. This can be one of the best ways of making money, especially if you don’t have any particular skills.

Sell an eBook
Writing an eBook and marketing it through the Internet can be one of the best ways of earning money online. If you don’t like the idea of writing, you can buy eBooks from people, and sell them through your website. Once an eBook has been published, you can have a continuous stream of income for a long time to come. For example, if you know the intricacies involved with a particular sports, so you can write an eBook on that and sell it, which would give you additional income for a long time to come.

Sell Stuff Online
There are several websites which provide online auction facilities, wherein, you can sell old things that you have but don’t need anymore. There may be some charges which you need to pay, but you can easily recover that from your selling price.

Online Instructor
If you love teaching, then you can think of becoming a teacher. Today, there are several schools and colleges which provide online college degrees, and they need online instructors. You can apply for such jobs. Moreover, there are several other online education programs which you can go for as well. To get an online instructor’s job, you need to hold a Master’s degree in a particular field of study, and have a few years of teaching experience.

Start a Blog
If you are knowledgeable in a particular field, and writing interests you, then you can start a blog of your own. The aim should be to provide useful information to your readers, who would then keep coming back to your blog for more. Once you have a decent amount of traffic on your blog, you can put up ads and start getting a steady inflow of money.

The idea should be to search for a job that interests you. Once you settle down doing it, things will get smooth and you will have a steady income.

how to cope with slow computer

If your computer is running slow, you may be wondering if some virus has affected your system, or if your system is slowed down by the antivirus software that has been loaded. Well, you are on the right track. However, these may not be the only reasons why your computer has become slow. There may be other reasons which may be causing this problem. Let us take a look at some of these possible problems.

Why is My Computer Slow to Start Up

It often happens that you have a computer with the best of the configuration, a high memory RAM, a good amount of hard disk space and of course a very good high-speed processor, and yet your computer is slow to start up. The reason for this is that there are a good number of start up processes that you have initiated. Many times, when we install a software, we forget to uncheck the option to start the software during start up. Too many software running in the computer during start-up, may make the computer slow to start up. So, the way out of this problem, is to disable the functionality to start these software during start up. You can also browse the computer’s start up services and disable all such services that have been programmed to start up when your computer boots up. Similarly, if there are any services that keep running in the background, you need to shut down those applications. These applications that run in the background, not only cause other processes that you are running to slow down, but may also make the computer slow to shut down. You can simply go into the ‘Task Manager’ of your computer, if you are using the Windows operating system, by hitting the Ctrl-Alt-Del keys together and end all the unnecessary applications that are running. However, reducing the number of start-up services in your computer, is a better way to counter this problem, because, disabling the applications individually, will not stop them from booting up during start-up.

Basic Causes for Slow Computer

Now, let us take a look at the basic reasons which may cause the computer to run slow.

Insufficient RAM
This is one of the basic reasons that may cause the computer to run slow. If you are using a software which takes up a good amount of RAM, then obviously, the other applications will run slow. Another important aspect that you need to take care of is ‘paging’. When the RAM in your computer is full, the computer processor utilizes some space from your secondary storage device that is your hard disk to run the applications. Hence, it becomes very necessary that you provide some amount of free space in your RAM.

Virus Issues
This is what is considered the basic reason, why a computer is slow, and often, the conclusion is right. Adware, malware and spyware software can considerably reduce the computer performance. Of course the easy way out of this problem is to install an antivirus software in your computer. But one thing that you need to keep in mind is that, antivirus software though a necessity, can also reduce the performance of your computer. Hence, it becomes very important that you choose an antivirus software, which does not occupy a lot of RAM.

Defragmentation
This is one tip that I can provide you with. Defragment your computer at least once in a month or fifteen days. This reduces the clustering of files in the computer. To do so you just need to click the Start menu, go to programs, accessories, then to the system tools options and select the option for defragmentation. Also remember to delete temporary Internet files from your computer.

Corrupted Registry
For convenience, let us assume that everyone uses Windows. The Windows registry is like the DNA of the Windows operating system and stores all vital information about your system that includes: interface settings, installed programs and program settings, settings for drivers and hardware and personal user profile. This implies that if registry crashes or gets corrupted the entire system will stop working. When you install new drivers or devices, add and remove programs, open and close applications and change their settings, your registry becomes littered with corrupt entries. Your computer’s performance is seriously hampered and causes system errors, freezes and crashes. To prevent your computer from slowing down, proper maintenance of the registry is vital.

So if you too are wondering why your computer is running so slow, you must have got some idea about how to resolve this problem. Your computer is just a machine and it cannot do anything on its own accord, unless you have prompted it to work in a particular way. Many times, we install software without checking each and every step of the installation process. It is in these stages that we are often asked if we want to install some unwanted software along with the software we are installing or if we want the application to start up every time the computer boots up. So follow the tips I just equipped you with. In most cases, taking simple precautions can ward off complex problems.

Cloud Computing for Small Businesses

The entire tech world seems to be floating on the clouds these days. Nope, we aren’t talking about a sudden boom in this field where everyone’s riding on a high. Instead, we’re talking about the new rage in the industry, cloud computing. This new technological breakthrough has ushered in a sea change in the way the IT sector works, and is an absolute blessing for small start-ups. There couldn’t be a better time to start up your own IT firm.

Cloud computing is making it all possible. In case you’re wondering what cloud computing is all about, read our detailed article here. If you too harbor thoughts of starting up a small IT firm, here’s how cloud computing can really help your business take off.

No maintenance

Perhaps the greatest benefit of cloud computing is the fact that you do not have to worry about space constraints at all. All you need to do to set up shop is a basic computer(s) and a speedy net connection. All the other heavy machinery is at the server end, and you only need to have a gateway to make the entries and to receive the output. A very simple analogy from our daily lives can best explain this; think of cloud computing as a food-vending machine. You select what you want (the desired operation), insert the coins (enter the commands), the machine does the rest (processing), and gives you the desired item (output). So, you need not worry about where to set up the vending machine, all you worry about is the change, and yes, remember to collect what you paid for!

Reliable

Cloud computing services are usually provided by major IT firms. These firms usually have huge server farms (thousands of computers) which provide these services to their customers. Needless to say, these farms are very well-maintained, and are powered by extremely powerful hardware. You can pretty much count on cloud computing to deliver almost every single time, promptly and efficiently. Having said that though, there are bound to be the odd outage problems, which might either be at the server end or at the end of your Internet service provider. But these are minor hiccups which do not take away from the overall reliability of cloud computing.

Secure

Cloud computing service providers go to great lengths to ensure that they provide the best service to their customers. Cloud computing is handled by powerful hardware which is perfectly complemented by equally effective software. Industrial standard security software ensures that your data is always secure. We won’t quite say that these firewalls are unbreachable, but your data is certainly a lot more secure in the clouds than it is with you. Another good thing about this is that you can always have a backup of all your data on the cloud.

Cost-effective

Cloud computing services are offered at tempting rates. The best thing about it is the fact that you can choose exactly what services you would like to avail of, and pay only for those services. This is a very cost-effective option as you need not worry about the maintenance and security of the computers. Also, you save a huge amount on office rent too, as you no longer need a large space for all the computers and servers.

Easily accessible

Cloud computing offers you flexibility like none other. As all your processing is done offshore, you can virtually carry out operations and access your data from almost any location. All you need is a computer and a good Internet connection, and you’re good to go. So, you no longer need to worry about getting late to work; work instead could come to you. This is especially useful if you have multiple people working on the same project simultaneously across different locations.

Cloud services have opened up avenues that were, until now, out of reach for an aspiring entrepreneur. Simply put, for any new business, with cloud computing by your side, the sky, undoubtedly, is the limit. So, what are you waiting for? Chase your dreams and make it happen. Cheers.

Web Container Vs. Web Server

Though it started out as a pure information resource, freely accessible to people all over the globe, the world wide web has evolved to offer much more today. As opposed to the passive information repository it was before, now Internet offers many services ranging from online banking, social networking, email, e-shopping, video sharing, online auctions to multiplayer gaming and much more, which are all made possible due to the advances in web technologies.

All these services are enabled by web servers, which host the pages and handle all the client queries. Associated technologies like web containers are used to extend server functionality and provide additional services through usage of Java servlets. In this Buzzle article, I present a web container vs web server comparison which clarifies the differences between these two commonly used web technologies.

What is a Web Server?
The whole TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol / Internet Protocol) based Internet architecture is based on a ‘Client-Server’ model. Every time you type in a web site address in your browser, a query is sent to the web server, hosting the pages. All the web site resources (pages, images) and services are hosted on it, which are then served to the client web browsers, according to request. Through HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol), a server communicates with client computers to facilitate the sharing of data and resources.

Of the different types of computer servers, these types have the most complicated software architecture and are usually run on high-end machines with great processing power, with 24×7 battery backup. Ergo, when one refers to a web server, it refers to the server software, as well as computer hardware. Microsoft’s Internet Information Services (IIS), Apache HTTP Server and nginx are some of the most commonly used web servers on the Internet.

What is a Web Container?
A web container (more commonly known as a servlet container) is an application implemented on web servers to makes the implementation of ‘Java Servlets’ and ‘Java Server Pages’ possible. A container creates a completely independent environment for running servlets and Java server pages for the purpose of offering dynamic content to website visitors. It is primarily designed to run Java coding on a web server. All web containers are JEE (Java Platform Enterprise Edition) compliant. The servlets are executed in the run time environment provided by the container through the use of JSP engine and servlet engines. One of the most popular web containers is Apache Tomcat. It is an open source software program developed by the Apache Software Foundation.

Difference Between Web Container and Web Server
A web container is purely devoted to running of servlets while a web server is involved in delivering web page data and resources, according to client requests. A web server runs several applications including a web container software. Therefore a web server is a super set, of which a web container is only a part. However, some modern web containers can function without the support of a web server and act as standalone servers, for providing dynamic content. With the help of web containers, a web server can offer applications running on the Java platform. The fact that modern web containers can be implemented independently, may have led to the confusion between the two technologies.

To conclude, a web container is an application run by a web server to provide added site functionality for a hosted website and is primarily an environment in which servlets are implemented. On the other hand, a web server is the ‘mother-ship’ of all technologies deployed by a web site which directly handles all the client requests for data and resources hosted by it. For more information on servlets and web containers, it’s suggested that you refer to Sun’s tutorial on the same topic.

How an ISP Actually Works

ISP stands for Internet Service Provider. These are the agencies that help you connect your computer to the Internet. The first cross-country link through the Internet was established in 1970. But, till date there are many people who are not aware of the working of the world wide web. The answer is the ISP, which connects you to the Internet.
What is an ISP?
As mentioned above, ISPs are agencies that provide access to the Internet. They can be either privately owned, i.e., by an individual, or they can be group owned, i.e., by a group of individuals/community. The Internet is a huge network, formed by the interconnection of many small and big networks throughout the world. There is a mind-boggling quantity of data on the Internet, but it would have been pointless if we didn’t have access to all this information. ISPs are the agencies that bridge this gap between us users, and the Internet. They provide the technology that is necessary for us to be able to access this information, as well add information and data on the Internet.

A simple analogy should make the concept easier to follow. Imagine you are in a huge mall where the goods are stored from floor 1 and above. You are standing on the ground floor. How do you get to the goods then? You can either take the stairs, the escalator or the elevator. These are the things which will take you where you want to go in the mall. The mall is like the Internet, and the stairs, escalators and elevators are the ISPs. They take you where you want to go on the Internet.

The ISPs are classified based on the way in which they provide service to their customers. There are 5 types of ISPs:

  • Dial-up ISP
  • DSL ISP
  • Cable/Fiber Optic ISP
  • Wi-Fi ISP
  • Satellite ISP

All of them have varying speeds and their own pros and cons. There are various terms related to the Internet. For explaining how an ISP works, certain terms need to be presented before starting with the actual working.
Terms Related to ISP
Modem
Every computer that connects to the Internet has to do so using a modem. The full form of modem is ‘modulator-demodulator’. The function of the modem is synonymous to its name. It modulates the data and converts it into digital form before passing on the information to the Internet service provider. The data that it receives from the Internet service provider is also in the form of digital signal, and so it demodulates the data.

IP Address
IP stands for Internet Protocol. Every computer that connects to the Internet is assigned an IP address by the ISP. When we type in the name of a particular website in our web browser, we are actually typing in the Internet Protocol address of the website. The IP address in this case is the address of the server machine that holds the desired web pages. It is generally of the form ‘n.n.n.n’, where n stands for a number.

DHCP
‘Dynamic Host Control Protocol’ in its abbreviated form is known as DHCP. A protocol is nothing but a set of rules that decides the process of doing a work. The dynamic host control protocol is used by the ISP to assign temporary addresses to any of its subscribers who intend to connect to the Internet.

Backbone of ISP
This is the point that connects your ISP to the Internet. The ISPs buy a particular range of bandwidth for the working of its backbone. It is through this bandwidth that information is sent or received.
The ISP Facility
The Internet service provider carries out its entire functioning in a room called the data center. The advanced data centers consist of various equipment. A pool of modems inside the data center is used to connect every subscriber to the Internet. Once a modem in the pool receives the information, it connects the subscriber to the backbone. The entire functioning of the modem pool is controlled by algorithms running in a computer to which the modems are connected. This setup of modems is generally referred to as the ISP port server.
How does an ISP Work?
Here is a simple flowchart to help you understand the working of an ISP…

Connect your computer to the network with the modem/router.

Modem sends request to the ISP.

ISP checks whether you have a static IP address.

If YES, your request is processed.
OR
If NO, the ISP communicates with the DHCP server and allots your computer a dynamic IP address.

Your request is processed by the ISP, i.e.,
the ISP figures out the IP address of the page that you are requesting.

Once it knows the IP address of the requested page, it refers to its own cache.

If the page is available in its cache, it transfers the data from that page to your IP address.

If the page is not available in its cache, then it tracks the IP address that you have requested, and sends a request to that IP address.

If the server accepts the request, it allows data transfer to the ISP.
OR
If the request is declined, you have to try again till it is accepted.

Once the request is accepted by the server, the data is sent to the ISP.

The ISP then redirects this data to your IP address.

You now have the data on your computer.

Let’s start with the procedure right from the local computer. Home computers connect to the ISP using telephone cables or broadband Internet connections. Large networks like that of educational institutes connect to the ISP using a D1 line. The way of logging into the ISP is same for both. For connecting to the Internet, you will need a modem and an ISP subscription. Let’s try to understand the entire procedure in a step-by-step process:

  • The first step is to login into the ISP using the user information provided to you by your ISP. Here, you enter the username, password and telephone number of the ISP.
  • Once the ISP receives your information in its modem pool, it verifies if you are an authentic user or not.
  • Once the user authentication process is done, the ISP provides you with a dynamic IP address using the DHCP.
  • If you have bought a static IP from your ISP, then this step is not required. However, buying a static IP will cost you a lot.
  • Now, you are allowed to browse any web page through your web browser. When you type in the name of the URL on the address bar, you are actually requesting for the IP address of the server machine, that holds those web pages.
  • The information is received at the modem pool. Once this information is received, the ISP connects the subscriber to the modem pool.
  • The requested server machine is reached through an array of dedicated lines and routers.
  • Once the ISP finds the required IP address, it transfers the requested web pages to the source IP address.
  • Some ISPs store every page that is requested by their users in their own cache. So the next time you request the same page, if it is still in the cache your request is directly fulfilled by the ISP without contacting the server.
  • If the page has been flushed from the cache, the above procedure is repeated.

ISPs have large caches and are transferring data to and from hundreds of computers at super fast speeds. A pause in their service can cause losses, and inconvenience to their customers, and their improper functioning can result in the network getting jammed! Hence, it is very important to maintain ISPs properly and have the necessary equipment required to do so. Cooling devices and backup power supplies are among the important components used by an ISP to ensure its smooth operation. These components are of utmost importance for the effective functioning of the ISP.

Computer Hardware Repair and Maintenance

What is computer hardware? Hardware components like the monitor, keyboard, CPU (Central Processing Unit), mouse, and other I/O (Input-Output) devices constitute a computer. The working of the monitor, keyboard, mouse, and I/O devices depends largely upon the CPU. Due to some minor causes, like loose connections or dust saturation, any of them can stop functioning.

Faults occurring in the CPU are most hazardous, as it has a very complicated structure. The CPU is an assembly of the motherboard, hard disk drive (HDD), random access memory (RAM), compact disc-read only memory (CD-ROM) drive, and the floppy drive. Unless you are well-acquainted with the CPU hardware, it is extremely difficult to pinpoint exactly where the fault has occurred. If any one of these components fail to perform, there are a few repair tips that can be followed. In order to view the circuitry inside the CPU, its casing has to be removed.

Motherboard
The entire functioning of the computer depends on this component. The processor chipset, that performs all the logical operations of the PC, is embedded in the motherboard. Ribbon cables, power supply, CPU, and RAM are the things to be checked first on the motherboard. Check if any of the ribbon cables or the power supply cord is loose. Check if the RAM chip has been misplaced from its slot. The CPU (chipset embedded in the board) will not show any marks on the outside if it is blown. The only way to check whether the CPU is working or not, is to test it by mounting it on the motherboard of another PC. The motherboard has a real-time clock, ROM BIOS, CMOS RAM, RAM sockets, CPU sockets or slots, cache RAM slots, keyboard controller, interrupts, internal connectors, and external connectors mounted on it. Do not tamper with these components, unless you know each and every one of it well. Do not touch the motherboard without turning off the power.

Hard Disk Drive (HDD)
Also known as hard drive, it is the long-term storage device of the system. If the hard drive cannot be detected, check the jumper setting. The jumper setting can change the mode of the hard disk from master to slave or vice-versa. Make sure the Windows version being used for partitioning is consistent. Check that each drive has been assigned a drive-type. Make sure the pin numbers of the plug are attached to the corresponding pin numbers of the socket. Do not force the plug into the socket with extra force, the pins may bend. If the plug is not fitting perfectly in the socket, try inserting it again by flipping it over. Do not attempt to open the hard drive without enough knowledge of its components.

Random Access Memory (RAM)
It is the temporary memory of the PC. The data in the RAM is erased when the computer is shut down. Check if the RAM is misplaced from its slot. While replacing the RAM in its slot, check the small niche at the center of the chip (the niche indicates how the RAM is supposed to be placed in the slot and may not be at the exact mid position of the chip-strip). Do not forget to secure the side clips that hold the chip in place. If you are unable to secure them, it means that the chip is not placed correctly in the slot.

Compact Disc-Read Only Memory (CD-ROM) Drive
Data stored on external storage device like compact discs (CD) is read by inserting the CD in the CD drive. If the CD drive is not functioning, check if the CD is scratched. If the CD works fine in another PC, check if the power cable of the former drive is loose. Check if the plug and socket pin numbers match. If the tray of the drive is not opening, right click on CD-ROM icon and select eject option. If the tray does not open, insert a straight thin metal pin into the edge and try to pull it open. Do not apply too much of force while doing so. Avoid connecting the CD-ROM drive on the same controller cable as the primary hard drive, this will slow down its performance.

Floppy Drive
If the floppy disk is not opening, try opening it in the floppy drive of another PC. If the disk does not open, then it is probably corrupt. If the disk is stuck in the drive, hold down the eject button for sometime or right click on floppy drive icon and select eject option. If the disk is still stuck, wiggle it up and down till it can be ejected or use tweezers to pull it out. Do not apply too much of force while doing so.

In order to avoid any kind of faults, following maintenance tips can be followed:

  • Do not let dust saturate on the motherboard. Clean it with a vacuum cleaner or a hand broom once in 2 to 3 months.
  • The hard drive mostly does not need any external cleaning, though by performing de-fragmentation and disk clean, it can be prevented from crashing.
  • In the case of the CD-ROM, do not pull the tray forcibly. Make use of the insert/eject button rather than pulling and pushing the tray.
  • Clean the tray once in a while. Do not keep any heavy object on the tray. Avoid running scratched or damaged CDs in the CD-ROM.
  • If the CPU fan is making too much noise, unmount it and oil the bearings.
  • Do not attempt to start the PC if the fan is not in a working condition.
  • If the fault persists, contact professional services. Also make a note of what exactly is happening when you start the PC. It makes the diagnosis a lot easier for the professional.

The CPU is the brain of the computer. Proper maintenance of the CPU, as well as all other components, enhances the computer performance.