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The remaining restrictions were removed by 1991, During the 1980s, online service providers such as Compu Serve and America On Line (AOL) began to offer limited capabilities to access the Internet, such as e-mail interchange, but full access to the Internet was not readily available to the general public.
In the simplest case, a single connection is established to an upstream ISP and is used to transmit data to or from areas of the Internet beyond the home network; this mode of interconnection is often cascaded multiple times until reaching a tier 1 carrier. ISPs with more than one point of presence (Po P) may have separate connections to an upstream ISP at multiple Po Ps, or they may be customers of multiple upstream ISPs and may have connections to each one of them at one or more point of presence.
ISPs requiring no upstream and having only customers (end customers or peer ISPs) are called Tier 1 ISPs.
Network hardware, software and specifications, as well as the expertise of network management personnel are important in ensuring that data follows the most efficient route, and upstream connections work reliably.
Technology may include commonplace Wi-Fi wireless mesh networking, or proprietary equipment designed to operate over open 900 MHz, 2.4 GHz, 4.9, 5.2, 5.4, 5.7, and 5.8 GHz bands or licensed frequencies such as 2.5 GHz (EBS/BRS), 3.65 GHz (NN) and in the UHF band (including the MMDS frequency band) and LMDS.
ISPs may engage in peering, where multiple ISPs interconnect at peering points or Internet exchange points (IXs), allowing routing of data between each network, without charging one another for the data transmitted—data that would otherwise have passed through a third upstream ISP, incurring charges from the upstream ISP.S.) to allow law enforcement agencies to monitor some or all of the information transmitted by the ISP, or even store the browsing history of users to allow government access if needed (e.g.