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How DSL Works Image Gallery: Get Connected to the Internet

bandwidth, or range of frequencies, than that demanded for voice. DSL exploits this "extra capacity" to carry information on the wire without disturbing the line's ability to carry conversations. The entire plan is based on matching particular frequencies to specific tasks. When you connect to the Internet, you might connect through a regular modem, through a local-area network connection in your office, through a cable modem or through a digital subscriber line (DSL) connection. DSL is a very high-speed connection that uses the same wires as a regular telephone line. Here are some advantages of DSL:

the connection speed from the Internet to the user is three to four times faster than the connection from the user back to the Internet, then the user will see the most benefit most of the time. Precisely how much benefit you see from ADSL will greatly depend on how far you are from the central office of the company providing the ADSL service. ADSL is a distance-sensitive technology: As the connection's length increases, the signal quality decreases and the connection speed goes down. The limit for ADSL service is 18,000 feet (5,460 meters), though for speed and quality of service reasons many ADSL providers place a lower limit on the distances for the service. At the extremes of the distance limits, ADSL customers may see speeds far below the promised maximums, while customers nearer the central office have faster connections and may see extremely high speeds in the future. ADSL technology can provide maximum downstream (Internet to customer) speeds of up to 8 megabits per second (Mbps) at a distance of about 6,000 feet (1,820 meters), and upstream speeds of up to 640 kilobits per second (Kbps). In practice, the best speeds widely offered today are 1.5 Mbps downstream, with upstream speeds varying between 64 and 640 Kbps. Some vast improvements to ADSL are available in some areas through services called ASDL2 and ASDL2+. ASDL2 increases downstream to 12 Mbps and upstream to 1 Mbps, and ASDL2+ is even better -- it improves downstream to as much as 24 Mbps and upstream to 3 Mbps. You might wonder -- if distance is a limitation for DSL, why is it not also a limitation for voice telephone calls? The answer lies in small amplifiers called loading coils that the telephone company uses to boost voice signals. Unfortunately, these loading coils are incompatible with ADSL signals, so a voice coil in the loop between your telephone and the telephone company's central office will disqualify you from receiving ADSL. Other factors that might disqualify you from receiving ADSL include:

Photo courtesy HowStuffWorks Shopper A DSL modem uses telephone lines for high-speed Internet connections. See more internet connection pictures. When you connect to the Internet, you might connect through a regular modem, through a local-area network connection in your office, through a cable modem or through a digital subscriber line (DSL) connection. DSL is a very high-speed connection that uses the same wires as a regular telephone line. Here are some advantages of DSL:

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You can leave your Internet connection open and still use the phone line for voice calls. The speed is much higher than a regular modem DSL doesn't necessarily require new wiring; it can use the phone line you already have. The company that offers DSL will usually provide the modem as part of the installation.

But there are disadvantages:

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You can leave your Internet connection open and still use the phone line for voice calls. The speed is much higher than a regular modem DSL doesn't necessarily require new wiring; it can use the phone line you already have. The company that offers DSL will usually provide the modem as part of the installation.

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A DSL connection works better when you are closer to the provider's central office. The farther away you get from the central office, the weaker the signal becomes. The connection is faster for receiving data than it is for sending data over the Internet. The service is not available everywhere.

But there are disadvantages:

In this article, we explain how a DSL connection manages to squeeze more information through a standard phone line -- and lets you make regular telephone calls even when you're online. Telephone Lines If you have read How Telephones Work, then you know that a standard telephone installation in the United States consists of a pair of copper wires that the phone company installs in your home. The copper wires have lots of room for carrying more than your phone conversations -- they are capable of handling a much greater bandwidth, or range of frequencies, than that demanded for voice. DSL exploits this "extra capacity" to carry information on the wire without disturbing the line's ability to carry conversations. The entire plan is based on matching particular frequencies to specific tasks. Asymmetric DSL


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A DSL connection works better when you are closer to the provider's central office. The farther away you get from the central office, the weaker the signal becomes. The connection is faster for receiving data than it is for sending data over the Internet. The service is not available everywhere.

Bridge taps - These are extensions, between you and the central office, that extend service to other customers. While you wouldn't notice these bridge taps in normal phone service, they may take the total length of the circuit beyond the distance limits of the service provider. Fiber-optic cables - ADSL signals can't pass through the conversion from analog to digital and back to analog that occurs if a portion of your telephone circuit comes through fiber-optic cables. Distance - Even if you know where your central office is (don't be surprised if you don't -- the telephone companies don't advertise their locations), looking at a map is no indication of the distance a signal must travel between your house and the office.



In this article, we explain how a DSL connection manages to squeeze more information through a standard phone line -- and lets you make regular telephone calls even when you're online. Telephone Lines If you have read How Telephones Work, then you know that a standard telephone installation in the United States consists of a pair of copper wires that the phone company installs in your home. The copper wires have lots of room for carrying more than your phone conversations -- they are capable of handling a much greater

Next, we'll look at how the signal is split and what equipment DSL uses. Splitting the Signal

Most homes and small business users are connected to an asymmetric DSL (ADSL) line. ADSL divides up the available frequencies in a line on the assumption that most Internet users look at, or download, much more information than they send, or upload. Under this assumption, if

The CAP System There are two competing and incompatible standards for ADSL. The official ANSI standard for ADSL is a system called discrete multitone, or DMT. According to equipment manufacturers, most of the ADSL equipment installed today uses DMT. An earlier and more easily implemented standard was the carrierless amplitude/phase (CAP) system, which was used on many of the early installations of ADSL.

If you have ADSL installed, you were almost certainly given small filters to attach to the outlets that don't provide the signal to your ADSL modem. These filters are low-pass filters -- simple filters that block all signals above a certain frequency. Since all voice conversations take place below 4 KHz, the low-pass (LP) filters are built to block everything above 4 KHz, preventing the data signals from interfering with standard telephone calls. DSL Equipment Photo courtesy Allied Telesyn DSL modem The transceiver can connect to a customer's equipment in several ways, though most residential installation uses USB or 10 base-T Ethernet connections. While most of the ADSL transceivers sold by ISPs and telephone companies are simply transceivers, the devices used by businesses may combine network routers, network switches or other networking equipment in the same platform. The DSLAM The DSLAM at the access provider is the equipment that really allows DSL to happen. A DSLAM takes connections from many customers and aggregates them onto a single, high-capacity connection to the Internet. DSLAMs are generally flexible and able to support multiple types of DSL in a single central office, and different varieties of protocol and modulation -- both CAP and DMT, for example -- in the same type of DSL. In addition, the DSLAM may provide additional functions including routing or dynamic IP address assignment for the customers. The DSLAM provides one of the main differences between user service through ADSL and through cable modems. Because cable-modem users generally share a network loop that runs through a neighborhood, adding users means lowering performance in many instances. ADSL provides a dedicated connection from each user back to the DSLAM, meaning that users won't see a performance decrease as new users are added -- until the total number of users begins to saturate the single, high-speed connection to the Internet. At that point, an upgrade by the service provider can provide additional performance for all the users connected to the DSLAM. For information on ADSL rates and availability in the United States, go to Broadband Reports. This site can provide information on ADSL service companies in your area, the rates they charge, and customer satisfaction, as well as estimating how far you are from the nearest central office. ADSL isn't the only type of DSL, and it's not the only way to get highspeed Internet access. Next, we'll look at ADSL alternatives. Alternatives to ADSL

CAP operates by dividing the signals on the telephone line into three distinct bands: Voice conversations are carried in the 0 to 4 KHz (kilohertz) band, as they are in all POTS circuits. The upstream channel (from the user back to the server) is carried in a band between 25 and 160 KHz. The downstream channel (from the server to the user) begins at 240 KHz and goes up to a point that varies depending on a number of conditions (line length, line noise, number of users in a particular telephone company switch) but has a maximum of about 1.5 MHz (megahertz). This system, with the three channels widely separated, minimizes the possibility of interference between the channels on one line, or between the signals on different lines. The DMT System DMT also divides signals into separate channels, but doesn't use two fairly broad channels for upstream and downstream data. Instead, DMT divides the data into 247 separate channels, each 4 KHz wide.

ADSL uses two pieces of equipment, one on the customer end and one at the Internet service provider, telephone company or other provider of DSL services. At the customer's location there is a DSL transceiver, which may also provide other services. The DSL service provider has a DSL Access Multiplexer (DSLAM) to receive customer connections.

One way to think about it is to imagine that the phone company divides your copper line into 247 different 4-KHz lines and then attaches a modem to each one. You get the equivalent of 247 modems connected to your computer at once. Each channel is monitored and, if the quality is too impaired, the signal is shifted to another channel. This system constantly shifts signals between different channels, searching for the best channels for transmission and reception. In addition, some of the lower channels (those starting at about 8 KHz), are used as bidirectional channels, for upstream and downstream information. Monitoring and sorting out the information on the bidirectional channels, and keeping up with the quality of all 247 channels, makes DMT more complex to implement than CAP, but gives it more flexibility on lines of differing quality. Filters CAP and DMT are similar in one way that you can see as a DSL user.

The Transceiver Most residential customers call their DSL transceiver a "DSL modem." The engineers at the telephone company or ISP call it an ATU-R. Regardless of what it's called, it's the point where data from the user's computer or network is connected to the DSL line.

There are lots of variations in DSL technology -- many of them address DSL's distance limitations in one way or another. Other types of DSL include:

To learn more about DSL and other topics, read on to the next page.


Very high bit-rate DSL (VDSL) - This is a fast connection, but works only over a short distance. It is capable of handling Internet access, HDTV and on-demand services at rates of 52 Mbps downstream and 12 Mbps upstream. Symmetric DSL (SDSL) - This connection, used mainly by small businesses, doesn't allow you to use the phone at the same time, but the speed of receiving and sending data is the same. Rate-adaptive DSL (RADSL) - This is a variation of ADSL, but the modem can adjust the speed of the connection depending on the length and quality of the line. ISDN DSL (IDSL) - This is a combination of the Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) and DSL technology. ISDN was the solution to dial-up Internet -- it allowed voice, text graphics, video and other data to share one telephone line. This made it possible to talk on the phone and use the Internet at the same time. IDSL is faster than ISDN connections but slower than DSL. It can travel a longer distance of 5 to 6 miles, so it is usually a good option for people who can't get DSL in their area. Universal DLS (Uni-DSL) - This emerging technology, developed by Texas Instruments, is backwards compatible with all existing versions of DSL. It offers somewhat of a middle ground between ASDL and VDSL -- at longer distances, it can reach the speeds of ASDL, but it can provide greater speeds than VDSL at shorter distances. In some locations, Uni-DSL can provide four times the amount of speed as VDSL.

How to troubleshoot your broadband connection Make sure you're getting the speed you expect Roger Gann If you re having intermittent connection problems then there s often useful information to be gleaned from your router. Check the log, which lists the date and time of each reconnection. In the above screenshot, the router has just reconnected and the router log records each stage of the connection process. Since ADSL Max is rate adaptive, you can t be sure what connection speed you ve actually got. There are many broadband speed test sites, but we advise the one offered by BT. To try it, head to using the broadband line you want to test, enter your phone number and click on Go.


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Every router has a connection status display that lists information such as uptime both for the ADSL connection and the router. Most routers are capable of measuring the quality of your phoneline, too. Two parameters listed here are important: the amount of signal lost (line attenuation) and how loud the signal is compared to background noise.

It works by checking the broadband connection of the phoneline you enter, although you can t test your line speed remotely. On the second screen you ll need to enter your ADSL login name and, from then on, the progress bar at the top of the screen will indicate where you are in the process.

Alternatives to DSL With DSL's distance limitation and lower availability, what are some other options? There are two major alternatives to DSL -- cable and wireless. Cable and DSL are the two big rivals in the world of broadband. Cable isn't limited by distance like DSL -- cable wires reach most neighborhoods, and signal strengths don't weaken over long distances. While DSL allows you to use the telephone and Internet simultaneously, cable lets users watch television and surf the Internet at the same time. Many cable companies are also beginning to bundle services with cable TV, Internet and digital telephone on one bill. Although cable and DSL speeds are about the same, the one disadvantage with cable is bandwidth -- connection speeds can slow down if too many people are using a cable service at the same time. A new technology, known as WiMax or 802.16, looks to combine the benefits of broadband and wireless. WiMax will provide high-speed wireless Internet over very long distances and will most likely provide access to large areas such as cities. WiMax technology will be available in most American cities in 2008.

Line attenuation should be low (60dB is bad; 20dB is good), while the signal-to-noise ratio should be high (20dB is good; 6dB is rockbottom). A low SNR ratio makes it difficult for the router to sync with the DSLAM card at the telephone exchange. The screenshots above and left show how line quality can change in just a few minutes.

As you can see from the results, my up to 8Mbps connection is in fact just 5.5Mbps. And you will notice that the profile for my line reduces this to 4.5Mbps. Worse still, my actual IP throughput is a mere 2.8Mbps. The same test run a few hours earlier produced an actual IP throughput of 4.1Mbps.

Don t take the results you get at online speed-testing sites as gospel. You can get different results from other sites. Here, you can see such a

result from, performed just a few minutes after the BT test. This site measured my connection speed at a little over 2Mbps.

XPNetDiag is a much improved network diagnostic tool capable of fixing many connectivity problems. It comes as part of the Internet Explorer 7.0 update and you may already have it in your Windows, Network Diagnostic folder. Otherwise, you can download it from .

You can also tweak your TCP/IP settings to maximise your broadband connection. The most important is MTU (maximum transfer unit) which defines the largest data packet size you can transmit in one go across a network. For BT ADSL, the recommended MTU setting is 1458.

Tracert is another essential diagnostic tool that can help pinpoint network bottlenecks. Open a command prompt and enter: Tracert . Here it took 1ms to reach my router and then 45ms per hop to the PCA site, which is fine. Note abnormally large timings but take distance into account.

Fix broadband connection faults It s easy to check the optimum MTU system. Open a command prompt (Start, Run, type command) and enter the following: ping -f -l 1492 . The 1492 is the MTU value and, as you can see, using this value the Packet needs to be fragmented . Our packet value is too big.

If you ve got Internet Explorer 7.0, load Network Diagnostics by clicking on Tools, Diagnose connection problems. You could also click on the Diagnostics link of a web page that can t be displayed. This will analyse your connectivity, which takes less than a minute.

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If your high-speed connection crawls along like a snail or you're suffering Wi-Fi signal problems, we show you how to fix it! Test if your BT line is working One of the first things to try is to check if your broadband problems are related to your incoming BT line (if it does, the problem isn't something you can fix yourself - you'll need to speak to BT or your ISP). The majority of people in the UK have an NTE5 master socket (at which BT wiring ends and yours begins). You can easily unscrew the lower half of this and remove the faceplate. Doing so will disconnect all of the internal wiring and give you access to a test socket on the right which provides a direct link to the incoming BT line. Plug your microfilter into this and connect your broadband router/modem. If your problems are instantly fixed, you know the problem relates to your internal wiring or microfilters. Check your internal wiring is correctly set up

Very often XPNetDiag can fix problems it finds all by itself. It will automatically renew the IP address of your PC s network adaptor which fixes many problems and it will display a log of all the discovered problems and their fixes. Here, it is having trouble connecting to a test website, Microsoft s FTP site.

Reduce the packet value using trial and error until you obtain a normal ping response. Here, 1430 is effective. The MTU is actually 1458 the extra 28bits account for data in the packet header. To change your settings to reflect this, you can download a tool from or from the cover disc.

Incorrectly placed microfilters are the cause of the majority of broadband errors. Every used phone socket in your house must have a microfilter fitted to it. If you use a splitter, plug the microfilter into the wall socket first, then connect the splitter to the microfilter. Don't get overzealous with filters though. If you have two on a single phone socket, or an extension cable, this could cause problems. Is there a problem with the line? If you're suddenly having trouble connecting to the internet and you can hear noise on the line, it could well be a fault. BT can check this and identify the nature of the problem and its location (inside your house, outside, or at the exchange). To report a suspected fault either phone 151 from a BT line (or 0800 800 151) on a mobile or BT online fault checker. Line noise is probably caused by your microfilters either being faulty or not being connected properly (don't forget devices like Sky digiboxes and fax machines also need a filter). To troubleshoot the problem, disconnect all your ADSL equipment, including any filters so your telephone is all that's connected. Check if the noise persists (you can do a quiet line test by dialling 17070 and selecting option 2). If it does, it's a line problem so contact BT. If it doesn't, connect your microfilter to the BT master socket, connect the phone and listen again. If you hear noise the filter is probably faulty, try another one. Top 5 Ways to Troubleshoot Your Broadband Internet Connection

If the cabling and connections seem OK, the next step is to power cycle your modem. 4: Power Cycling

If you have problems with your broadband randomly disconnecting or slow connection speeds, it could be caused by your extension socket wiring. There's a wire inside the socket called the bell wire, which used to be used to make the bells on phones ring, but is now obsolete. However, it can still cause interference and slow down your broadband. Unscrew the faceplate of your master socket and look at the wires on the back of it. Only 2 and 5 should be connected. 1 and 6 are not needed in the UK and 3 and 4 are now obsolete - the bell wire, if wired up, will be on connection 3. If any of those wires are connected, gently pull them out, being careful not to disconnect 2 and 5. Screw the socket back together. You will need to repeat the process with all the extension sockets in your house. Add a microfilter to the test socket If your broadband works fine when connected to the master test socket, but not when the faceplate is put back on, there is a simple solution. It's not pretty and won't be to everyone's tastes, but it works well. Simply remove the faceplate, plug your microfilter into the test socket, and then plug the faceplate's connector into the microfilter output. Finally connect your broadband cable to the filter. Replace the master socket faceplate and check your microfilters If adding a microfilter to the test socket all works fine but you want a tidier option, consider buying an NTE5 ADSL faceplate from Solwise ADSL Splitters, Microfilters & Telecoms or ADSL Nation. They are very easy to fit.

© iStockphoto/davidp When you power cycle your modem, wait until all the status lights are lit before powering up the next component Power cycling might sound exciting, but it just means turning your modem off, waiting a few seconds, then turning it on again. This works regardless of your connection type, whether you get your Internet via cable, DSL or satellite. The easiest way to turn it off is to disconnect the power cord where it plugs into the modem itself (they don't always have on/off switches, but if yours does, that should work, too). Wait about 30 seconds, and then plug it in again. Sometimes, that's all it takes. Once the modem has cycled through its usual boot-up sequence, you may find your connection works again. If this doesn't do the trick, a more elaborate power cycling sequence might. You'll have to turn off every device on your network, then power them on again in a particular order. First, shut off your computer, then unplug the power cords from your modem, router, access point and hub.When you turn things on again, follow the signal from the modem toward the computer. In other words, power up the modem first, then power up your router or hub, then turn on your computer last. As you turn on each device, wait for it go through its boot-up sequence before powering up the next device in line. You can determine the status by watching the lights on the device itself. Still no connection? If you use a satellite Internet service, we'll troubleshoot your unique problems in the next section. 3: Weathering Storms with Satellite Internet Connections If you access the Internet with a satellite service, you have your own set of issues to deal with. The first potential issue is line of sight.

5: Check the Wires It may seem obvious, but one of the easiest troubleshooting steps you can take yourself is to check all the cables and connections involved in your Internet connection. This is true no matter what kind of connection you have. Even if you're sure nothing has changed, it only takes a minute to make sure. Start where your Internet service enters your house. This might be your cable company's line drop, a satellite dish antenna or a phone line. Make sure the cable is connected securely, and any cabling that runs outside the house hasn't been damaged by weather or chewed on by birds, bugs or squirrels. Just be careful if there are any electrical lines around -- and if you see damaged lines of any kind, don't touch them, just call the cable or phone company. Next, follow the cables through your house, checking connections at every appropriate point. If you use a router, check those connections, too, and make sure the correct cable is going to the correct place. If your router feeds several different computers or gaming systems, it can get confusing to keep track of which cable goes where.

Satellite Internet connections use a special two-way dish, and the dish has to be pointed directly at the satellite at a very particular angle. The problems start when anything gets between your antenna and the satellite. Overgrown greenery, snow and ice or leaves and other debris could be blocking your dish, so you'll have to get to the dish to clear it off. This can be especially difficult if it's mounted on the roof. Odd as it may seem, weather hundreds of miles away can also affect your satellite connection. Because the satellite is over the equator, your dish points south (that is, if you're in the Northern Hemisphere). The farther you are from the equator, the less direct the line of sight is. Your dish has to send and receive signals through a long stretch of atmosphere to the south, so southerly storms many miles away can still cause interference. If there's nothing in the way, and the weather is clear from your roof all the way to Guatemala, your dish might be misaligned. If it isn't pointing in the proper direction, your connection will fail. Satellite dish antennas require much more precise adjustment than TV dish antennas do - it's probably a good idea to call your Internet service provider for help, rather than trying to adjust it yourself. And on top of that, the problem might be beyond everyone's control. Sunspots are massive flares on the surface of the sun that send intense blasts of energy at the Earth. That energy can severely disrupt satellite communications. Next, we'll diagnose some common wireless problems. 2: Wireless Router Outages If you use a wireless access point or wireless router to access the Internet with a laptop, then the wireless connection might be the cause of your problem. You may have to use a wired connection to your network until the wireless problem is solved. You'll also want to have a copy of your wireless access point or router's user manual nearby. There are two main potential issues with wireless connections: configuration problems and security problems. Consult the user manual to see how to access the wireless device -- this is usually done by typing the device's IP address into a Web browser. From there, you'll need to check the manual to find the proper settings. You'll probably have to call your Internet service provider (ISP) for assistance, because the necessary configuration will vary tremendously depending on the type of network you have and the type of connection provided by your ISP. The wireless device's security settings could also be causing problems. You can access these settings the same way you accessed the configuration. If you have a wireless security protocol enabled, you won't be able to access the wireless device without using the proper

password. You can set and reset the password the same way you can change the other settings. If none of these steps have solved your connection problem, there are still a few last-ditch efforts you can attempt. 1: More Cable and Configuration Problems


Step 1 Check the lights on your modem. The lights for power, cable (or line) and Internet should be lit (not blinking). Some modems also have indicator lights for upload and download, which constantly blink to show activity.


Step 2 Unplug your modem and wait for about 20 seconds, then plug it back in and reboot your computer. This clears out old information your modem has stored that allowed it to connect to your ISP.


Step 3 Call your ISP, and ask them for their IP address. Then see if you can "Ping" their server from your computer. In Windows, click on "Run" and enter "Cmd." You should see a "C:\" on a black background in a new window. Type in "Ping" and the ISP's address. If there's no response, you don't have a connection.

Screenshot by Ed Grabianowski If you have questions about configuring your router correctly, you can call your Internet provider. Chances are, part of your home network involves cat5 or cat5e Ethernet cables. If you're using the wrong kind of cable, it could defeat your Internet connection efforts. Crossover cable should only be used to connect two computers directly. If you're connecting devices with a hub or router, straight-through cables should be used. How can you tell the difference? Sometimes crossover cables are labeled by the manufacturer. If not, it's a bit technical to figure out (it involves checking the pairs of wires at the connectors). If possible, just try a different cable to see if that helps. The problem might be with the computer you're trying to connect to the Internet. Network configuration troubleshooting depends on operating system, connection type and other factors. If your computer has a network icon, it might displays a red X or other error message if there's a problem. If there's no error message and your connection still won't work, some operating systems have the ability to selfdiagnose to determine if there's another issue. If everything else seems to be working OK, then the problem might be with your ISP. Contact its technical support line and ask. If the ISP isn't suffering an outage (they do, from time to time), technical support representatives might walk you through some of the steps you already went though, and they may even be able to test your connection or reset your modem. For more information on broadband connections and related topics, make a connection to the next page. How to Troubleshoot Broadband Instructions


Step 4 Check the modem's connection to your computer or network. If it's wireless, you may want to connect it to a router or to your computer's Ethernet port to see if that resolves the problem.


Step 5 Check your operating system's network connection. Click on "Repair" to see if that resolves the problem or reinstalls your network drivers.


Step 6 Call your ISP, if none of these steps resolve the problem. There may be a problem on their end, or you may need a service call.

Outlook Exp ress Tutori al E-mail Delivering e-mail can be thought of as a three-stage process, very much like sending a letter through the local post office. 1. You take your letter to the post office and mail it. 2. The postal service delivers your letter to the post office at the far

end. 3. The recipient goes to the post office and picks up the letter. How e-mail works When you address an e-mail message, you use the format username@domainname. In this format, username is the account name assigned to you by your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and the domainname is *.com at the end. Both username and domainname are unique to help ensure that e-mail messages are delivered to the intended recipient. For example Tom McLaughlin has a username of tmclaughlin, and his domainname is His e-mail address is E-mail is actually composed of two e-mail systems: the first system is used to send e-mail messages from you to another user's e-mail post office, and the second system is used by you to retrieve e-mail messages so they can be read. Sending e-mail The first of these two systems uses the SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) to send e-mail from one e-mail system or post office to another. When you address an e-mail message, you use the format username@domainname. In order to send e-mail successfully you must have the right address of the person you are e-mailing, the SMTP server at the far end must be able to find the recipient's mailbox, and be able to write to it. If these conditions are not met your message will "bounce" (be undeliverable) and you will get some sort of an error message.

5) Type the e-mail address that will be used in all future mail messages. Your email address should look like this: 6) After entering your email address, click on Next >. 7) In the next screen, you will be asked to choose the e-mail server type and supply the names of the Incoming mail (POP3 or IMAP) server and the Outgoing mail (SMTP) server. Use the following settings for example: Mail server type: POP3 Incoming mail server: mail or pop3.provider's, or .net, .org, or .edu Outgoing mail server: mail or smtp.provider, etc 2) From the Outlook Express main menu, select Tools and select Accounts. You ll see the following: Example: or or 8) After entering all the information, click on Next >. 9) In the next screen, you will be asked to enter your login information. In the POP3 account name field, enter your username (e.g. jsmith). In the Password field, put your account password. NOTE: If you share your machine with other users, DO NOT enter your password here at this time. You will be asked to enter your password later when you retrieve your mail from the server.

3) Click on Add and select Mail. Logging on to Outlook Express 1) Start Outlook Express. To start Outlook Express, click on Start, then click on Programs, next click on Internet Explorer and finally click on Outlook Express.

10) After entering the information, click on Next >.

4) After entering your full name click on Next >.

Make sure that the Inbox folder to the left of the screen is highlighted. If you have e-mail waiting, Outlook Express will retrieve your messages and will display the new messages in your Inbox. Printing Selected Messages You can print a message from the Message window, or from the Message List window, if the message panel is open and the message you want to print is being displayed. To print the currently displayed message, click File, then Print.

11) Click on Finish to save your settings. Final Touches: From the Outlook Express main menu, click on Tools and select Options. Select the General Tab if it is not already selected. You can tell Outlook Express to check for new mail in minutes. Select Check for new messages every __ minutes. You choose the increment. By default, Outlook Express is set to send outgoing mail in HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) format. It is better that users change this setting to Plain text since other people on the receiving end might be using a mail reader that doesn't understand HTML. To change this setting, do the following: From the Outlook Express main menu, click on Tools and select Options. In the options window, click on the Send tab. Check Plain Text option for Mail sending format and News sending format. To create a Signature file, click on the Signature Tab. Select the New button and type your contact information in the text field. Make sure that the button Add signatures to all outgoing messages is selected. The signature file should not exceed 4 lines and should include information about the person (e.g. affiliation, title, address, phone, fax, etc.). Then click on OK.

Outlook Express's main window is divided into three sections. The top section contains a list of e-mail messages in your Inbox. Your Inbox holds new messages that have been received since you last checked your e-mail plus previously read e-mail that you have not yet deleted or moved to another folder. The lower section of the main window displays the contents of the message that is highlighted in the top section. The left section of the window lists the standard folders that Outlook Express sets up as a part of the configuration process. Accessing and Displaying Messages To read a message in your Inbox or some other mail folder, you must: Open the folder in which the message resides, such as your Inbox. The folder list is found in the left-hand corner. To open a message in its own message window, double-click the message's summary in the message list. To return to the index or message list, close the message window. This will open the message composition window. There will be times when you want to view the "Headers" of a mail message. This information tells you where the e-mail you received came from. To view a mail Header, highlight the message in the top section, choose File, Properties, and Details. (Tomax7) Updating Your Message List To download new messages into your Inbox or to update your message list so you can see new messages, from your Inbox or any Message List window, choose the send and Receive button. Composing e-mail Sending e-mail differs from replying and forwarding in a number of areas and functions. Perhaps the greatest difference is that sending, in the strictest form, involves creating original messages. To send a new or original e-mail message, begin by clicking on the New Mail icon.

Checking Your Email Click on the Outlook Express Icon on your desktop. It looks like this...

Enter the e-mail address of the person you wish to write in the To: field, include a Subject: and then type your message in the body of the e-mail. Be aware that depending on the mail reader the person you are writing uses, font type, size, bold, italics, and underscore may or may not look as you intended. Then press Send.

Recipient Types and what they mean To: Primary recipients of your message. CC: Carbon Copy, for secondary recipients. BCC: Blind Carbon Copy, for secondary recipients not identified to the other recipients. Use this when mass emailing lists or groups of people so you cause people to get 3 screens worth of scrolling down to see the actual emails! Replying to e-mail

Deleted Items

To delete a message, select the message in the Outlook's top section and click on the Delete button. The highlighted message will now have a small mail icon with a red X through it. To purge the deleted messages, choose Edit, Purge deleted messages. If you delete a message by mistake and have not yet purged it, open the Deleted Items folder, and then drag the message back to the Inbox or other folder.

When you reply to a previously received e-mail message, the text of the message you are replying to is included in your mail message. You can edit this message. Replying to a previously received e-mail message automatically inserts the To: address and eliminates the need to "look up" the senders address. Reply: To reply to the author of the message by e-mail, click the Reply button on the toolbar. Reply All: To reply to the author of the message and to all the group, click the Reply All button on the toolbar. Forwarding e-mail

Common format types include: .pdf, .doc, .bmp, .jpg, .gif, .html, .htm, .xl, .ppt If possible, before sending messages with attached files, make sure that your intended recipients have the software available to read the attachments. There is no point in sending, for example, an Excel spreadsheet to a person who does not have Excel. Opening attachments: be careful about opening attachments from someone you do not know. Viruses can be transmitted through attached files via e-mail. If you do not know who an attachment comes from consider deleting the mail without opening the attachment.

New Folder Messages that you would like to save should be moved into another folder; they should not be left on your Inbox. Folders may be created and used on your local PC. E-mail messages stored in folders on your local PC are accessible only when you are using that particular PC. To create a new e-mail folder, select File, Folder, New. This will produce the New Folder window.

You can pass a received message to another user. Messages that are forwarded retain their attachments. Attachments Any file on the user computer or local drives can be sent as an attachment to an e-mail. A message does not need to be plain text. An attachment can be a document (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, text etc.) or a voice message. Outlook Express folders automatically created: Inbox - holds your incoming mail Outbox - holds your current mail before it is sent Sent Items - stores copies of all outgoing messages Deleted Items - contains e-mail that has been deleted Drafts - stores drafts of outgoing messages Templates - Mail you have saved with a specific format that you will re-use in the future Unsent Messages - If you turn off the Option, Send mail immediately, all your sent mail resides in this folder until you terminate your mail session INBOX The Inbox is intended for storing incoming e-mail messages. Old messages should not be kept in the Inbox; they should be moved to other folders or deleted once they have been read. Type the name of the folder you want to create (e.g. Minutes) in the upper field. You can name this folder anything you want, a project name, a persons name or topic name. Use the lower field to select the location under which the new folder should be created. Filing Messages

Multiple files can be attached with a single e-mail. How To Attach A File: Open a New Message window. Enter the message. Click on Insert then File Attachment . Choose the file from the dialog box:

To add Signature to Outgoing Messages a) From the Address Book window, click New, which brings up the choices New Contact, New Group, or New Folder. In the New Contact dialog add your entry to your Address Book, click OK. Adding a Group to Your Personal Address Book From the Outlook Express toolbar, select the Address Book button. To move an e-mail message from your Inbox to another folder, select the message in the top section and then choose Edit, Move To Folder. This will open a list of available folders. Click the folder that you want to store the message in. The message will be deposited in the new folder and removed from your Inbox. Messages that have been stored in other folders can be used the same way you would as if they were still in your Inbox; you can move, delete, reply-to and forward them. To switch from your Inbox to another message folder, select the folder to be displayed on the left section. NOTES: Be selective about saving old e-mail messages. Messages that you do not need to keep should be deleted. Messages that you want to keep for long-term reference/storage should be moved into one of your local mail folders (like Inbox, Drafts, Minutes, Announcements, Friends, etc...) on your PC. Important messages that you want to be able to access from several different locations (e.g. home and office) should be stored in e-mail folders on the server. On the Tools menu, click Options,

and then click the Signatures tab. b) To create a signature, click New

and then either enter text in the Edit Signature box or click File, and then

find the text or HTML file you'd like to use c) as your signature.

Select the Add signatures to all

outgoing messages check box.

From the Address Book window, click New, which brings up the choices New Contact, New Group, or New Folder. In the New Group dialog add a Group name to your Address Book. Choose Select Members, and highlight the individuals already in your address book and send them into the right side of the window by clicking on the Select button. Press OK. Looking Up and Using Addresses from Address Books Use the Address Book Window to lookup e-mail addresses and other information from address books and address lookup services. To lookup an e-mail address by using the Address Book, follow these steps in order:

1. Choose the Addresses icon. About the Address Book Use an address book to store and maintain information about individuals and to create mailing lists. After creating entries in an address book, you can use address book entries to look up information about your personal contacts, such as email addresses and phone numbers. Use the Address Book window to create, store, and edit address book entries. An address book entry stores names, postal addresses, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, and other information about an individual. You can also use an address book to associate a number of e-mail addresses with a single group, which becomes a mailing list. 3. Compose and Send message as usual. Adding a Card to Your Personal Address Book From the Outlook Express toolbar, select the Address Book button. 2. If the person you are looking for is on the list, highlight his name and select the Action icon on the toolbar, then select Send Mail.

Emails Netiquette:

Netiquette is a term for proper etiquette on the Internet. Here are some of the main netiquette guidelines, adapted from the Netiquette Guideline at 1) Don't assume any Internet communication is completely secure. "Never put in an e-mail message anything you would not put on a postcard". Likewise, independently verify any suspect mail, as addresses can be forged.

2) If you are replying to a message, quote only the relevant parts. 3) If you are forwarding or re-posting a message, don't change the original wording. 4) Never send chain letters, they are forbidden on the Internet. Notify you System Administrator if you receive one. 5) Do not send abusive or heated messages (flames). If you receive a flame, it is best to ignore it. 6) Allow time for mail to be received, and replied to, keeping in mind time differences around the world and other people's busy schedules. 7) In general it is easy to read e-mail when there are line breaks between paragraphs. 8) If you want your mail to be read, don't make it too long unless the receiver is expecting a verbose message. Over 100 lines is considered long. 9) Send messages in .txt format. A lot of people do not use web browsers to read e-mail and your .html code may become a sort of gibberish. 10) Use mixed case, UPPER CASE LOOKS AS IF YOU'RE SHOUTING. 11) The e-mail subject header should reflect the content of the message. 12) When attaching files, don't send any larger than about 50k, unless you cannot avoid it. 13) When attaching images, convert them into .jpg format. An Outlook Express basic repair kit I received an e-mail the other day from my friend Katie asking for help with an Outlook Express problem. In her own field Katie is known as an intelligent and articulate, one might even say verbose, woman. But when it comes to anything computer-related, she shows a very different face. Her description of the problem consisted of just two lines: My Outlook Express is acting funny. What should I do?

I resisted the temptation to reply with a witty remark about booking Outlook Express into the Comedy Club. I also resisted the temptation to ask her for more details. That could easily have evolved into an email exchange the length of a Wagner opera. Instead I sent her what I present to you here: a basic repair kit for Outlook Express. These steps repair the most likely causes of funny behavior in Outlook Express with a minimum of time, sweat, and tears. Restart the computer This simple step can resolve any number of problems resulting from improperly closed files, memory corruption, and damage to system files. Top of page Close other programs You will need both Outlook Express and Internet Explorer open. Save your work in any other programs and close them. This allows your repair steps to do their job without other programs making demands on your computer at the same time. Remove all offline files to delete Outlook Express temporary files. Top of page Delete the Temporary Internet Files 1.In Internet Explorer, click Internet Options on the Tools menu. 2.In the Temporary Internet files panel, click Delete files. 3.In the pop-up alert window, select the Remove all offline files check box, and then click OK. If you do not select the check box, the temporary files used by Outlook Express will not be removed. This step often comes as a surprise. Each time you display a message, either in a message window or in the Preview pane, Outlook Express creates a temporary file to help it display the contents of the message. Each of those temporary files is stored in the Temporary Internet Files folder that is used by Internet Explorer. Sometimes one or more files in this folder are damaged, and that can cause Outlook Express to exhibit strange symptoms when displaying messages. All the files in Temporary Internet files truly are temporary, so there is no danger in deleting them. Doing so will not delete the actual messages in Outlook Express. Top of page Compact all folders In Outlook Express, click Work Offline on the File menu so that no new messages will be arriving. In the Folder List, click on Outlook Express so that no e-mail or news folder is open. Close the Folder List by clicking the X in the upper right-hand corner of the list panel. Alternatively you can click Layout on the View menu, and then clear the Folder List check box. On the File menu, point to Folder, and then click Compact All Folders. Do not use your computer until the process is complete, which might take several minutes. If an error occurs, close Outlook Express, re-open it, and begin the process again from the top. If the same error occurs again, close

Outlook Express, restart your computer (or log off and then log on again), open Outlook Express and then begin the whole process again.

those functions and thus makes sure they are installed and working correctly. 1.Click Start, and then click Run. 2.In the Open box, type regsvr32 urlmon.dll, and then click OK. 3.Repeat step 1 for each of the following commands: regsvr32 mshtml.dll regsvr32 shdocvw.dll regsvr32 browseui.dll regsvr32 msjava.dll Top of page Create a new identity

8.Import the mail messages from your old Identity. On the File menu, click Import, and then click Messages. Select Microsoft Outlook Express 6 from the list of programs, and then click Next. Select the name of the Identity to import, and then click OK. Top of page Reinstall or repair Outlook Express By now you have repaired the most common causes of funny glitches in Outlook Express. If the strange behavior is still happening, it is time to reinstall or repair the basic Outlook Express program files themselves. Because both Internet Explorer and Outlook Express are integrated into Windows itself, doing so is a little more complicated than for most programs. Microsoft has therefore prepared a detailed guide to reinstall or repair both Internet Explorer and Outlook Express. Be sure to read the article carefully and follow only the steps for your version of Windows and Service Packs. Top of page

Let the compaction process finish before you try to use your computer. Many bizarre behaviors in Outlook Express are caused by small errors in the file Folders.dbx. This file is the master index of the message store folder and damaged entries there can create all sorts of fun, such as the wrong message or folder being displayed. When you compact all folders you are also updating this master index. If you don t compact all folders from time to time, you are more likely to see distinctly unfunny behavior. For more on preventing and recovering from serious file corruption please see my earlier column on file corruption in Outlook Express. Top of page Reregister Outlook Express Damaged or missing entries in the Windows registry can prevent Outlook Express from being recognized as the default e-mail client. That it turn can cause odd behavior when replying to a newsgroup message or clicking an e-mail link on a Web page. A simple procedure causes Outlook Express to rewrite its main registry keys and so corrects such issues. 1.Click Start, and then click Run. 2.In the Open box, type msimn /reg, and then click OK. (Note that you will not see anything happen.) 3.In Internet Explorer click Options on the Tools menu. 4.Click the Programs tab and select Outlook Express as the default email client and as the default news client. You can change those later if you wish. Top of page Reregister libraries Dynamic Link Libraries (DLLs) are files that contain functions that may be shared by other programs, such as recognizing hyperlinks, displaying rich content, and so forth. These specific DLLs are used by Outlook Express, and can cause glitches in the visual display if they are damaged. Reregistering a DLL using regsvr32 is similar to reinstalling

This will create a new message store folder as well as all new registry keys. This should not be necessary unless our previous efforts have failed to correct the problems. 1.Export your e-mail and news accounts in Outlook Express so that you can import them into a new Identity. 1.Click Accounts on the Outlook Express Tools menu. 2.Click the Mail tab and select the default account. 3.Click the Export button and select a location for the exported file. Make sure the extension remains iaf (for Internet account file). 4.Repeat steps 1.2 and 1.3 for all accounts. 5.Click the News tab and repeat steps 1.3 and 1.4 for all accounts. 6.After all mail and news accounts have been exported, click Close. 2.On the File menu, click Identities, and then click Add New Identity. 3.Type a name for the new Identity, and then click OK.

Third-party repair tools There are several third-party applications that are written specifically to repair Outlook Express. I personally have not tested any of them, seeing that most problems can be corrected with the basic repair procedures I ve outlined here. One possible advantage of third-party tools is that they almost all include features to repair damaged message files. But for most cases of funny stuff, they really are overkill. If you type repair Outlook Express into your favorite search engine you are sure to find several to consider. For example, searching at Windows Marketplace yields some good examples of what is available.

A new Identity allows you to start Outlook Express with all default settings, a useful way to work around registry or file damage. 4.Click Yes to switch to the new Identity. 5.Click Cancel to close the New Account wizard. If you are prompted to import settings or messages, select Do not import at this time or Cancel. 6.Click Accounts on the Tools menu. 7.Click the Import button and select the first *.iaf file from step 1. Repeat until all accounts have been imported.