FYI on Questions and Answers - Answers to Commonly Asked "New Internet User" Questions
RFC 2664

Document Type RFC - Informational (August 1999; No errata)
Obsoletes RFC 1594
Also known as FYI 4
Authors Amy Wells  , Edward Krol  , Raymond Plzak 
Last updated 2013-03-02
Stream Internent Engineering Task Force (IETF)
Formats plain text html pdf htmlized (tools) htmlized bibtex
Stream WG state (None)
Document shepherd No shepherd assigned
IESG IESG state RFC 2664 (Informational)
Consensus Boilerplate Unknown
Telechat date
Responsible AD (None)
Send notices to (None)
Network Working Group                                            R. Plzak
Request for Comments: 2664                                           SAIC
FYI: 4                                                           A. Wells
Obsoletes: 1594                                                 UWisc-Mad
Category: Informational                                           E. Krol
                                                                  Univ IL
                                                              August 1999

                      FYI on Questions and Answers
        Answers to Commonly Asked "New Internet User" Questions

Status of this Memo

   This memo provides information for the Internet community.  It does
   not specify an Internet standard of any kind.  Distribution of this
   memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (1999).  All Rights Reserved.


   This memo provides an overview to the new Internet User.  The
   intended audience is the common Internet user of today, thus it
   attempts to provide a more consumer oriented approach to the Internet
   rather than going into any depth about a topic.  Unlike its
   predecessors, this edition seeks to answer the general questions that
   an unsophisticated consumer would ask as opposed to the more pointed
   questions of a more technically sophisticated Internet user.  Those
   desiring a more in-depth discussion are directed to FYI 7 that deals
   with intermediate and advanced Q/A topics.  A conscious effort has
   been made to keep this memo brief but at the same time provide the
   new user with enough information to generally understand the

1. Acknowledgements

   The following people deserve thanks for their help and contributions
   to this FYI Q/A:  Chris Burke (Motorola), John Curran (BBN Planet),
   Albert Lunde (NWU), and April Marine (Internet Engines, Inc.).  Last,
   but not least, thanks are extended to Patricia Harper and Charlotte
   Nurge.  These ladies from South Riding, Virginia, consumer tested
   this document.

Plzak, et al.                Informational                      [Page 1]
RFC 2664            FYI Q/A - for New Internet Users         August 1999

2. Questions About the Internet

2.1. What is the Internet?

   People use computers to perform a wide assortment of tasks.  A
   connected group of computers is known as a network. Because people
   are connected via this network, they can use their computers to
   exchange ideas and information.  Some computers are connected
   directly to the network while others (primarily those in homes) are
   connected via a telephone line and a communication device known as a
   modem.  By connecting networks together with specialized computers
   known as routers, people on one network can engage in activities with
   people on other networks.  This INTER-connected group of NETworks is
   known as the INTERNET.

2.2. What Can I do on the Internet?

   There is a large variety of activities that users can do on the
   Internet.  These activities include surfing, searching, sending mail,
   transfering programs and documents, chatting, and playing games.


   Surfing is one of the most popular Internet activities. To surf, a
   user needs a program known as a web browser.  The web browser enables
   the user to connect to a location that contains information.  Many
   locations contain links to other sites that contain related
   information.  These links are usually identified by underlined text
   that is of a different color from the rest of the text in an article.
   By clicking on one of these links the user is then connected to that
   information.  This information may be at the same location or may be
   at a different location.  This new information may, in turn, have
   links to other information.  So just like a footnote or reference in
   a print publication, links can be used to find related or non-related


   Searching involves using a special program known as a seach engine.
   There are several of these engines that are located at various search
   sites.  The popular web browsers have location information about
   these search sites.  Searching is similar to using a card catalog in
   a library.  Just as a person would look up a topic in a card catalog
   and find one or more references to that topic with library location
   information, a search engine provides the user with a list of sites
   that may contain relevant information.  This list is actually a set
   of links to these sites so that all the user has to do is click on
   the link to go to the location.  Just as different library card

Plzak, et al.                Informational                      [Page 2]
RFC 2664            FYI Q/A - for New Internet Users         August 1999

   catalogs will contain different reference cards, different search
   engines will provide different reference lists.
Show full document text