Eighth World Wonder – The Internet

Eighth World Wonder – The Internet

Yes, you use it every day, you cannot imagine your life without it. Most of your work is done over it, yet, have you ever stopped to think how the Internet works and what are the secrets that its existence carries? One might agree that the Internet is, indeed, the eighth world wonder, which lets you transfer information from one part of the world to another within seconds. However, there is a logical explanation for the magical world of the Internet.

The basics

To go online and access the Internet, you first need hardware which will enable you to do so. That includes everything from cables that carry the information to the computer or smartphone you are using to browse the Web. Second, other important stuff includes cell phone towers, routers, servers, satellites, and other devices. All these devices connected together create a network. The Internet functions as a connection between these networks. Your computers and smartphones are called endpoints or clients. Machines that provide us with the information we are searching for on the Internet are called servers. Other elements include nodes, which are the connection between the end clients and the servers. Lastly, we have transmission lines, which are either physical (cables, or fiber optics) or wireless, such as the signals emitted from the satellites, cell phone towers or radios.

Protocols

The second important component of the Internet are the protocols, which are, basically, a set of rules that a machine follows to complete a task. Communication couldn’t happen without a set of protocols that the machines have to follow when connected to the Internet. You have probably heard of some of these protocols: hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) for viewing the Web sites through a browser, file transfer protocol (FTP), transmission control protocol (TCP) and the Internet protocol (IP). The last two are usually mentioned together and are referred to as the TCP/IP protocol.

Other key features

Each unit connected to the Internet has an IP address. These addresses adhere to the Internet protocol and serve for finding another machine on the network. When you want to send a message or retrieve something from another machine, your request goes over the network and hits the domain name server (DNS), which points your request to the right direction. When you open a browser, your device sends a request over your connection to your Internet service provider. Your provider sends the request further to the DNS, and the server then tries to find a match for the domain name you inserted. When the domain is matched, it will send back packets of information or files towards your computer. Have in mind that this is only a shell of how the Internet works – the whole procedure is much more complex and requires a whole area of expertise.

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