What is internet – How does the internet work and why is so important?

Internet is relatively new technology but is one of the fastest in gaining popularity and in the spreading across the world. We can hardly imagine our normal daily life without internet. Sometimes we don’t even realize how much devices and services around us are actually internet equipped. But what makes all this devices work? How does the internet work?

That’s today theme and we will speak about the most important parts of internet technology and way this parts cooperate to give us the possibility to use network resources. In the beginning the simplest way to look at the internet is by splitting it into two main components: harware and protocols.

InternetFirst component of internet, Hardware. As the first one, it represents the physical part that includes everything from computer, in which you now stare, to the cables that carry all the megabits, gigabits, and terabits of data.  But are those cables and computers enough? Of course not, we need all other devices in between: routers, servers, cell phones, satellites etc. All this devices, and probably some that we didn’t mention, make our network of networks.

Some elements may stay static and unchanged for long time and they are making backbone of the Internet. Other elements usually peripheral elements have more intentions to change and obtain some new functionality or develop the old functionality to a new level. These elements are called connections. End points usually are devices that people are using to get or send information through the system to another person or device. End points can be computers, mobile phones, pads (iPad), etc. and for this reason they are all altogether called clients.

But, where are the information stored, are they always on the other side by some other client. Do we need always someone on the other side of the network to be online and send us information we ask for? No, there are some machines that store all the data we need. They are always connected to internet and ready to send us the information we need, or help us search data that we need in that moment.  These machines are servers.

Other elements that we need to make internet functional are nodes, devices that are connecting points along a route from one end device to server or between two end devices. They are usually routers or switches or in some cases firewalls, repeaters, hubs.

And then there are the lines for transmission which can be in the form of copper cables and fast fiber optics, or they can be non-physical signals from cell phone, satellites, or some other wireless radio frequency form.

Now we have talked about all hardware components of a network, but all of this hardware wouldn’t be able to create a network that is really functional without the second component:

The protocols. Software on each node has inside itself set of rules that must be followed by the machines to be able to communicate to each other this rules altogether are protocols. Without protocols the devices will “speak different languages”. They are really the software component of the network nodes and they provide both a common language and the method for machines to use to transmit data.

One Response

  1. Kellee October 20, 2011

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