Table of Contents Connectivity
In the past the Internet was reserved for researchers, scientists and academics to exchange or provide world-wide information. The major tools for communication across the network were E-Mail, FTP, and TELNET. Internet access for private individuals was very difficult and its use for commercial purposes was strictly forbidden because the Internet was largely funded by the government. The capability of the hardware (non-programmable terminals), the modem speeds and the bandwidth of the network made graphical presentation of information impossible.
The Internet gradually became more open to the wider world, as the Internet access provider companies offered Internet access that was affordable to private individuals. This process was driven by a fall in technology costs, including telecommunications services, hence making it more economical to access the Internet. Associated with this change has been the need to find effective navigation tools for exploring the Internet. The goals for an Internet front end system are:
There is a variety of Internet navigators available. Each tool has particular strengths for certain types of applications. Here are the most popular tools with a brief description:
Well suited to index and search large databases. Widely used by librarians and researchers.
One of the first navigators, used to search files on FTP sites.
Provides an index of existing information like Gopher but supports hypertext and hypermedia to create new documents containing text, audio, video and graphics. WWW has become very popular. See World Wide Web.
But on the other hand what about security? All these new possibilities to retrieve or provide information on the Internet imply that your network has access to the world-wide Internet and all others have access to your network. What you want is to connect to the Internet so that you can use all these new services to find and retrieve all the wonderful new information out there, but you don't want network "hackers" to be able to access your files.
IBM offers the product IBM NetSP Secured Network Gateway to build a secured network access for your network. The firewall concepts are described later in this chapter.
Table of Contents Gopher