Your Internet Consultant - The FAQs of Life Online

2.5. How can my organization get dedicated Internet access?

Any organization can get dedicated Internet access--businesses, non-profit organizations, computer clubs, schools and colleges, whoever and whatever. You don't even need to be an organization to set yourself up with dedicated Internet access.

A dedicated Internet line provides fast, round-the-clock access for a large group of people. Organizations that want to plug in to the Internet need to consider a variety of issues, problems, and technologies that don't affect those who need individual access. Connecting a large group of people to the Internet takes time, thought, and money. With research, planning, and experimentation, you can find the right kind of access--at the right price--for your organization.

Note: A dedicated Internet connection links your organization's local area network (LAN), mainframe, or minicomputer to the Internet. Once this connection is made, the connected computer or computers have a fast, full-time Internet connection. The LAN at your site can include IBM-PC compatibles, Macintoshes, UNIX boxes--in fact, any computers with the hardware to be part of a network.

Dedicated access is expensive. The costs include a high-speed leased telephone line, a CSU/DSU (a kind of high-speed digital modem), a router to connect your LAN to the CSU/DSU, and installation charges. In addition to these, if the computers at your site aren't already networked, they'll need to be before they can access the Internet. A dedicated connection is also expensive in terms of time to set up and maintain. In addition to equipment costs, you will need a person with the expertise to set up and maintain the Internet connection, hardware, LAN, and so on. Of course, you know these things don't appear on their own, but don't underestimate the effort it can take to set them up. Consultation and system set-up can be a full-time job. After things are running smoothly, maintenance may take a part-time or a full-time person, depending on your equipment and the scope of your network link. You will also need technical support personnel to answer questions about and problems with the network.

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