The History of The Internet: Part 2 – What Is The Internet?

Did you miss our first article in this series: Part 1 – How It Was Created? If so, click here to view the link! 

In our last article, we discussed the history of the internet and how it became a revolutionary tool that we cannot live without. So like with many modern marvels, you may use it every day but do you really know how it works? Or what it is?

Well before we tell you what the internet truly is, let’s breakdown all the things that it is not:

  • The internet is not magic.
  • There are no hamsters running around a wheel churning the data around.
  • And no, there are not gnomes sorting through card catalogs.

So now that we got that out of the way, and possibly broke some hearts with those statements… the internet, in short, is a worldwide system of computer networks that allows information and data to be transmitted and searched from one computer to another.

And if that doesn’t really answer your question, this will… the internet is simply a large file sharing program. It simply moves data from one place to another so that we can browse, share, and chat through the “network”.

Now I know that this may be hard to believe, and we all at some point may have assumed it was a magical tunnel full of unicorns delivering data, but it really is just a larger network and file-sharing program.

Think about this… you are sitting at your computer and searching for a file in your “Documents” folder… the internet does the same thing, just on a grander scale across a much vaster scale.

Since we now know that there isn’t a wizard guiding your search to Mordor, that doesn’t really explain just how the internet works right?

Let’s take a step deeper into the “worldwide web” and really learn how it works…

Imagine a large building with a collection of standalone computers that are all loosely linked together on the same telephone network. And we will call this collection the internet (because that is pretty much what the internet is).

In order for information and data to be sent so these computers can “communicate” with each other, there needs to be a mixture of old school copper cables, fiber-optic cables (which relay information in pulses of light) wireless radio connections (used to transmit info by radio waves) and satellite links.

That all being said, the “internet” is really just the middle man that is helping to direct the data being moved through the cables and links used to create its infrastructure. And as this data travels along, it relies on the help of routers to make sure the right data is getting to the correct place. All within a fraction of a millisecond!

And this data being transmitted works in what we like to call “packets”. The way that a packet works is it carries data in the appropriate protocol the internet sees (commonly known as TCP/IP). Each packet is then sent to the destination via the best available route. So if you think about it, the internet is merely a train that is categorizing the data in each train car and sending it to its destination.

Now that we have uncovered what it really is, and how it works, we should nail down how everything wraps in together.

In our final article of this series, we will show you the OSI model and how the data is transmitted as well as prioritized across the network to make sure the data is sent to the correct person with the rights and how policies are put into place for the information you are sending!

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As always, stay safe and be well,