What is the Internet?
The Internet is a short form for an interconnected network. It has become a vital part of our lives, helping us connect with people worldwide. The Internet is made of a large number of independently operated networks. It is fully distributed with no central control. Each independently-operated system is motivated to ensure that there is end-to-end connectivity of every part of the network. The most powerful motivator for the Internet to work is the fact that knowledge and information have to be shared amongst people. The Internet is simply a wire that runs underground and allows two computers to communicate with each other. A server is a particular computer that is connected directly to the Internet. When we talk about specific web pages, they are simply files that are stored on the server’s hard drive. Every server has a unique protocol address or an IP address. IP addresses are essential for computers to find each other. A short note of the history of the Internet will help you understand when, where, and how the Internet was developed.
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How Does the Internet Really Work?
Computers that we use every day are called clients because they are indirectly connected to the Internet through an internet service provider. When you open a webpage on your computer, you actually connect to the webpage, and then you can access it. Computers break the information into smaller pieces called packets, which are reassembled in their original order.
History of the Internet
The first question that pops to your mind is probably, “Who started the internet?”. The Internet was developed by Bob Kahn and Vint Cerf in the 1970s. They began the design of what we today know as the ‘internet.’ It was the result of another research experiment which was called ARPANET, which stands for Advanced Research Projects Agency Network. This was initially supposed to be a communications system for the Defense Team of the United States of America - a network that would also survive a nuclear attack. It eventually became a successful nation-wide experimental packet network.
But when was the first Internet started? It is believed that on 6 August, 1991, when the World Wide Web opened to the public.
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The Two Main Types of Computer Networks
There are different computer network types, depending on how large they are and how much geographical area they cover. The most common types are Local Area Network (LAN) and Wireless Local Area Network (WAN).
Local Area Network: This is a group of devices such as computers, servers, switches, and printers that are located in the same building. These are in close proximity to each other. The most common use of LAN is in houses or in offices. A common type of LAN is an Ethernet LAN, where two or more computers are connected to the Internet through switches.
Wireless Local Area Network: This is a local area network that uses wireless communication instead of wired communication. In WLAN, two computers use wireless communication to form a local area network. A wifi router is very common in this case. There are no cables involved in this case.
Evolution of the Internet
Although the Internet was developed much earlier, it only became popular in households in the 1990s. The emergence of the Internet can be tracked by how many businesses and homes started changing the way they worked and started connecting their laptops and other devices to the Internet. However, the concept of hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) as we know it today, was created only during this time. This meant that people could access the same webpages on their individual devices now and share information.
There has been a dramatic growth in the number of internet users since its inception. As a result, the number of computer networks that are connected to each other has grown exponentially too. It started with only connecting less than ten computers initially. Today, 440 million computers can be connected directly, making life easier for people across the globe. Sharing information and knowledge has become extremely easy for those that have access to the Internet. The country with the highest number of internet users is in China, with 1.4 billion users, followed by India with 1.3 billion and the United States of America with a little over 0.3 billion users.
Q1. Are there Other Types of Computer Networks?
A. There are other computer networks like Personal Area Network (PAN) and Metropolitan Area Network (MAN). Personal Area Network is the smallest network of computers, made up of a wireless router. It might be restricted to only one single building and is the most basic network. A metropolitan area network or MAN is a kind of computer network that connects computers that are present within a geographical area that is the size of a metropolitan area. It is generally more prominent than the Local Area Network. Another common type of computer network is a Wide Area Network that connects computers located within the radius of a kilometer.
Q2. What is the Difference Between the World Wide Web and the Internet?
A. We might hear the Internet and the World Wide Web being used interchangeably, but both are not the same thing. While the Internet is a global network of computers, the World Wide Web or WWW is only some information that can be accessed through the Internet. So the Internet is a more significant entity and a prerequisite for WWW. We can also consider the Internet to be the infrastructure while WWW is only the service. WWW is the online content that is made available to us through HTML format and the HTTP protocol.