Internet access was very specified and well-defined before as a user would only be able to connect at home via their modem. The user would have to set up a dial up connection, and only than would he or she be able to connect to the internet. At the same time, they would be tying up their phone lines and putting off anybody that would try to reach them. This changed significantly when cable modems were developed but what really kicked off the advancement was the availability of wireless internet access.
The primary means of connecting to the internet these days is through a cable connection, often backed up with a wireless router to give access to everybody in a particular building, home or complex. Primarily, the means of connection are limited to routers standardized by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) standard 802.11 which is regularly improving and found in several different variants on different frequency bands. Currently, most people that use wireless internet have access to a router with 802.11b, however the latest one, 802.11n is a significant improvement as it features (amongst other things) multiple-input multiple-output antennas (MIMO).
Technical details aside, wireless internet access is no longer the forte of the technologically advanced or the financially well off as these networks are now available essentially everywhere. Several major stores offer wireless networks to their customers, as do coffee shops such as Starbucks, and even public transportation options are starting to include the ability to access internet wirelessly. In order to hook up to any of these, the individual doesn’t even need a wireless router. All they need is a laptop, or another type of computer, including a smart phone for example, that happens to have a wireless receiver either added or built in and they are good to go.