What is the Internet?
The Internet stands for “interconnection of computer networks”. It is a made of a mass connection of personal, business and Government computers. The Internet was first started in the 1960’s under the original name of “ARPAnet”. It was originally a US military experiment to see how communication can occur if a nuclear strike happened. As time passes by the military experiment became a civilian one using Universities. The Internet has grown exponentially at the same time of the 1980’s and 1990’s coinciding with personal computers becoming mainstream. The internet of 2012 is more like a public spider web making it a network of all networks. The good thing about the Internet is no single person or body owns it. The perceived good and bad thing is that no single Government has any authority. The only authority a Government do have is if a webpage/website (the computer the content is shared from) on the internet resides within a country with a set of laws and they must answer to them.
The Internet and the Web
The web is the ability to view content on public web pages. Web pages are written so that our Internet Browsers (like Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Google Chrome, Safari etc) can display its content. The Internet allows us to have a connection to be able to communicate or visit these web pages. The web is based on on hypertext transfer protocol, the language which allows you and me to “jump” (hyperlink) to any other public web page. There are now an estimated 40 billion sites that can be viewed on the Web.
How does the Internet work?
Even though the Internet is still a young technology, it’s hard to imagine life without it now. Every year, engineers create more devices to integrate with the Internet. This network of networks criss-crosses the globe and even extends into space. But what makes it work?
To understand the Internet, it helps to look at it as a system with two main components. The first of those components is hardware. That includes everything from the cables that carry terabites of information every second to the computer sitting in front of you.
Other types of hardware that support the Internet include routers, servers, cell phone towers, satellites, radios, smartphones and other devices. All these devices together create the network of networks. The Internet is a malleable system — it changes in little ways as elements join and leave networks around the world. Some of those elements may stay fairly static and make up the backbone of the Internet. Others are more peripheral.
These elements are connections. Some are end points — the computer, smartphone or other device you’re using to read this may count as one. We call those end points clients. Machines that store the information we seek on the Internet are servers. Other elements are nodes which serve as a connecting point along a route of traffic. And then there are the transmission lines which can be physical, as in the case of cables and fiber optics, or they can be wireless signals from satellites, cell phone or 4G towers, or radios.
All of this hardware wouldn’t create a network without the second component of the Internet: the protocols. Protocols are sets of rules that machines follow to complete tasks. Without a common set of protocols that all machines connected to the Internet must follow, communication between devices couldn’t happen. The various machines would be unable to understand one another or even send information in a meaningful way. The protocols provide both the method and a common language for machines to use to transmit data.