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Hardware for the Internet

There are many sources of the hardware -- computers, networking equipment, and so forth -- needed to access the Internet. Items can be purchased from your local discount, electronics, or office supply store, on-line, or thru district or county contracts. A good case can be made for buying locally. If there's an issue, it's much easier to get it resolved when you can work with the seller face-to-face.

What to buy is a much harder question, with the answer changing every time new technology is introduced. One good rule of thumb is to buy one step down from the current "leading edge" technology. (Or "bleeding edge" as it's sometimes called). Buying one step down will usually save you considerable money with usually only a small performance hit. The technology is new enough that it will be supported for the life of the hardware and the saving can be devoted to additional memory (if buying a computer), hardware add-ons, or additional software.

CNET, ZDNet, and Tom's Hardware all offer reviews of current hardware and software (plus some excellent how-to guides), allowing you to make the cost effective buying decisions.

Another good resource is recommendations from fellow educators. Search for and contact other schools with similar issues or technology programs.

Your local college can also be a resource, both in expertise and human resources -- there's always an instructor looking for a "case study" or a student looking for "hands on experience".

larger image of http://www.cnet.com/larger image of http://www.zdnet.com/larger image of http://www.tomshardware.com/

Even an older 486 or even 386 computer system will make a good web browser. Accessing the Internet does not have to be a budget buster.

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