Looking into the Internet
We at Direct Submit work with individuals & business people who have varying amounts of knowledge of what the Internet actually is and how it works. Some time ago we found the following description on the BBC News website and thought it might be of interest to many. We have recently been asked to repat the blog entry…
What is the Internet? The internet is a global network of computers that works much like the postal system, only at sub-second speeds. Just as the postal service enables people to send one another envelopes containing messages, the internet enables computers to send one another small packets of digital data.
For that to work, they use a common ’language’ called TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol). If you are on the net, you have an IP address.
When you send a letter, you don’t need to know about the vans, trains and planes that carry it to its destination, or how many post offices it passes through on the way. Nor do you need to know how your packets of internet data are transmitted through a variety of cables, routers and host computers on the way to their destination.
However, different packets can take different routes, which makes the internet relatively resilient. The failure of a particular node or host generally makes little or no difference to the rest of the system.
When you put an envelope in the post, it can contain many different types of data: a love letter, an invoice, a photograph, and so on. The internet’s data packets also carry different types of data for different applications. Common types include web pages, email messages, and large files that might be digital videos, music files or computer programs.
Today, the web is often used to provide an easy-to-use interface for numerous applications, including email, file transfer, Usenet newsgroups, and messages (Internet Relay Chat). This makes the web and the internet appear to be the same thing. However, these applications existed before the web was invented, and can still run without it.
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