1.26 What's the difference between SLIP, PPP, etc. and which one is best for me?

  First here are the Request for Comments for SLIP and PPP:

SLIP - Serial Line Internet Protocol (rfc1055)

PPP - Point-to-Point Protocol (rfc1661)

SLIP and PPP services are available with either a static or dymanic IP address. Static or permanent IP addresses are the most expensive type of service, but it is also the better solution for users wanting to set up server, e.g., SMTP (mail), FTP server from a home computer. Dynamic or changing IP addresses are more common and cheaper means of internet access. The downside to dynamic addresses is that it makes it hard to run a server application from your home because the IP address will be different each time you log in.

Both SLIP and PPP provide a full TCP/IP implemetation, which includes ICMP that allows you to use applications like ping, traceroute, talk, etc.

Slip Emulation

SLiRP (free) and TIA (no longer offered) are examples of slip emulators that run on a UNIX shell account. These emulators are not full TCP/IP implementations in that they do not provide ICMP - internet control message protocol, which means that you can not use TCP services that require an IP address, e.g., ping or talk programs. The UNIX shell accounts that slip emulators run on are usually a lot cheaper than SLIP/PPP acounts. If you get a shell acount, you will have to deal with the UNIX operating system though. Depending on your background, this can be seen as either a plus or a minus.

What's best for me?

That's a good question (as Danny Gasparovski might say). You need to spend a little time deciding what your Internet requirements are. Because the price of PPP acounts are now running at $19.95 a month, a PPP account is the best choice for most people.

(Q) Do you need to run a server that is available all the time?
(A) Static SLIP or PPP is your best solution.

(Q) Do you want to use talk programs, ping, etc.?
(A) You need at a minimum a dynamic SLIP/PPP account.

(Q) I'm cheap, like UNIX and don't care about Talk programs or running a server?
(A) Slip emulation and a UNIX shell may work best for you.