What is the Internet?

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by oldschool, Jan 29, 2004.

  1. oldschool macrumors 65816


    Sep 30, 2003
    Can somebody explain to me what the internet really is? How does it all work? When I connect my cable modem to the cable jack in the wall i'm being connected to what?

    What does my internet provider use to connect to the internet? Do they connect to the net?

    I'm just confused...:confused:
  2. iMeowbot macrumors G3


    Aug 30, 2003
    Re: What is the Internet?

    It's really pretty simple, just a whole bunch of individual networks all plugged into each other to make up one huge freaking network. It works because everyone has agreed to use the same protocols.

    Everything on your side of the cable modem (even if it's just one computer) is your network. The stuff on the other side of the box is your cable company's network; and they in turn will have a bunch of routers and interfaces (same idea as your cable modem, just a heck of a lot faster) that are connected to other peoples' networks.

    Part of the informal arrangement making up the whole mess is that networks will route other peoples' traffic (it's called peering). So for example, if you want to get to some Web site on the other side of the world, and your cable company isn't directly connected to a common network, the traffic will be bounced along other networks indirectly until your data gets there.

    If all that kind of sounds vague and ill-defined, that's because it is. There are organizations that dole out IP addresses and domain names so that everyone isn't stomping all over one another, but the whole connectivity part is fairly random.
  3. abhishekit macrumors 65816


    Nov 6, 2003
    akron , ohio
    yah..as imeowboat said, Internet is the network of networks
    At the local level, the service to you is delivered by your local ISP(internet Service Provider). And the connection can be through cable, dsl, or phoneline.
    Now the information you are sending, like you type a web address, goes from your ISP to another ISP and then to another ISP, and so on till it reaches the server which you requested. It can go through phonelines, fibreoptic lines, satellite..all sorts of ways to reach the server. And then the server replies back which reaches you through a smilar path of ISPs.
    Now, there are some very big ISPs which are called 'backbones'. Like in US, we have NSFNET(ISP of NSF), NSINET(NASA'S ISP), and ESNET(Department of energy). In europe one is NORDUNET, and there are several others. And then there are numerous small ISPs.
    Another important term is rootnameserver, which translate the domain name,like www.yahoo.com, into IP address which is used by the internet protocol in transferring data.
    well...thats a crash course i guess...
  4. oldschool thread starter macrumors 65816


    Sep 30, 2003
    Thanks a lot guys. That makes a lot of sense.

    I kind of had an idea, but i didn't realize how random it was.

    Any books on this topic that you can recommend for a more in depth discussion?
  5. edesignuk Moderator emeritus


    Mar 25, 2002
    London, England

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