To be honest, depending on exactly what you want to do you don't need to know anything about them. One thing I have absolutely no knowledge at all of is Networking. Never needed it. Recently we ended up with 2 PCs for reasond that - honestly - would send you off to sleep. Thought "I know, I'll network them".
I'm on NTL Broadband. Bought a cable router & 2 cables. Plugged the 2 PCs in one side, the modem in the other, switched on and that was it. Just had to run the Network connection Wizard in XP to get them to 'see' esch other. The only reason for doing it through a router was so that I didn't have to have both PCs on to access the net.
The trouble with these links is one is overwhelmed with detail and don't know where to start. Like zebbydog I know nothing about the subject. What is a router? What is ASDL? All I want to do is make a wireless connection from my dialup modem to the phone socket, and get rid of that trailing wire I keep tripping over. Many thanks.