What is the Internet and how does it work?

What is the internet?

The internet is a vast network that connects millions of computers and other devices worldwide, allowing them to communicate and share information with each other. Imagine it as a gigantic web of interconnected electronic highways where data travels.

What are the basic concepts of the Internet?

Think of a network as a group of interconnected things. In this case, it’s computers and devices that are linked together. The internet is a global network, connecting people and machines across the globe.

The internet allows these devices to talk to each other. It’s like sending letters or messages, but instead of using postal services, computers use data packets. These packets are small bits of information that travel through the network to reach their destination.

The internet is like a massive library where you can find all kinds of information – from text and pictures to videos and more. This information is stored on different computers called servers, and you access it using applications like web browsers.

Web Browser
A web browser is a software application (like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Safari) that allows you to view and interact with web pages. It’s the tool you use to access the World Wide Web. The World Wide Web (WWW) is a part of the internet that consists of interconnected web pages.

Web Pages
When you open a web browser and visit a website, you’re essentially requesting information from a server. Web pages are like digital documents with text, images, and links.

A website is a collection of related web pages. It can include a home page, which is the main page you see when you visit a site, and other pages linked to it.

URL (Uniform Resource Locator)
This is the address used to access a specific web page. It typically starts with “http://” or “https://” and is entered into the address bar of your web browser.

These are links that connect different web pages. Clicking on a hyperlink takes you from one page to another. It’s like jumping from one book to another in a library.

Search Engines
Tools like Google help you find specific information on the internet. You type in a question or a topic, and the search engine provides a list of relevant websites.

Electronic mail allows you to send messages to people anywhere in the world instantly. It’s like sending letters, but much faster.

Social Media
Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram let you connect with others, share photos, and communicate in different ways.

Online shopping is a big part of the internet. You can buy and sell goods and services without physically going to a store.

What is the World Wide Web (WWW)?

The World Wide Web (WWW), often referred to simply as the “web,” is a part of the internet that allows you to access and interact with information. Think of it as a vast collection of interconnected digital pages that you can view using a program called a web browser.

How does the internet work?

The internet is essentially a massive network of connected computers and devices. These devices can include your personal computer, smartphones, servers in data centers, and more. When you want to send or receive information over the internet, your device breaks down the data into small packets. Think of these packets like tiny pieces of a puzzle.

These packets of data travel across the internet through a series of devices called routers. Routers are like traffic controllers on the internet highways. They direct the packets toward their destination.

Every device connected to the internet has a unique identifier called an IP address. It’s like a digital address that helps routers know where to send the data. IP addresses can be compared to phone numbers for computers.

There are also protocols in the internet. Protocols are like languages that devices use to communicate on the internet. One common protocol is HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol), which is used for transmitting web pages. Another important one is TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol), which ensures that data is sent and received accurately.

When you use the internet, your device is either a “client” or a “server.” A client is a device that requests information (like your computer when you open a web page), and a server is a device that provides that information (like the computer hosting the web page).

When you open a web browser and type in a website address (URL), your device sends a request to the server hosting that website. The server then sends back the web page, which your browser displays.

Web pages often contain hyperlinks. Clicking on a link is like telling your device to send a request to another server for a different web page. This is how you navigate the web.

Protocols like HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) help secure the transmission of sensitive data, such as passwords or credit card information, by encrypting it.

I.e. the internet works by connecting devices through a network of routers, using protocols to ensure effective communication. Devices communicate by sending and receiving data packets, and services like web browsing involve clients (your device) requesting information from servers (other devices hosting content).

Who invented the internet?

The invention of the internet involved the contributions of multiple individuals and the development of various technologies over several decades. It’s important to note that the internet did not have a single inventor, but rather, it evolved through collaborative efforts.

Key moments and specialists in the creation of the Internet:

ARPANET (1969)
The precursor to the internet was ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network), which was developed by the United States Department of Defense. The first successful message transfer on ARPANET occurred on October 29, 1969, between two computers at different locations. The researchers involved in ARPANET played a crucial role in the early development of the internet.

Tim Berners-Lee (1989)
While not the inventor of the internet, Tim Berners-Lee is credited with the invention of the World Wide Web (WWW), which is a major component of the internet. In 1989, he proposed the concept of the World Wide Web and created the first web browser and editor.

TCP/IP Protocol (1970s)
The development of the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and Internet Protocol (IP) was fundamental to the establishment of a standardized communication protocol for connecting diverse networks into what we now know as the internet. Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn are often credited with the development of TCP/IP.

Paul Baran and Donald Davies (1960s)
Both Baran and Davies independently developed the concept of packet switching, a fundamental technology used in data communication networks, including the early stages of the internet.

Robert E. Kahn and Vinton Cerf (1970s)
Often referred to as the “fathers of the internet,” Kahn and Cerf played a key role in the development of the TCP/IP protocols, which are essential for data transmission on the internet.

Leonard Kleinrock (1960s)
Contributed to the theoretical foundation of packet switching, and his work at UCLA was crucial in the development of ARPANET.