What is the Internet? (In 500 Words or Less)

In general, people have a basic grasp of what the internet is, but there are some common misconceptions about  it as well. Whether you connected to your first WiFi network yesterday or you are Networking+ certified, I hope you can find something interesting and engaging here.

What is the Internet?

The first misconception many people have is calling the World Wide Web (WWW) the Internet. The WWW is the system that organizes and makes web pages available to us. When you type [horizons-newspaper.com] into your browser, you entered a Uniform Resource Locator (URL) into your browser and you are served Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) that is rendered in a nice concise manner.

The vast majority of interactions you have with your browser occur on the World Wide Web. Two other major components of the internet include Electronic Mail (email) and File Sharing.

How does the Internet Work?

There are multiple models describing the structuring of the internet, but the common communication protocol throughout the internet is the Internet protocol suite, which is often called TCP/IP. TCP/IP is specifically designed to ensure data reliability. It is designed to be robust and fully abstract away the underlying implementation details and difficulties of sending raw data back and forth. This keeps the internet sturdy and easy to use.

The internet operates on multiple conceptual layers. The Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model describes 7 distinct layers. The layers are numbered 1 to 7 and are the Physical Layer, Data Link Layer, Network Layer, Transport Layer, Session Layer, Presentation Layer, and Application Layer, numbered respectively. Each layer serves as a form of abstraction for the layer below it. Layer 7: Application Layer is the most abstracted layer on the list and describes everything that your web browser utilizes to give you the most streamlined experience. Bitcoin also falls under the Application Layer categorization. While the other 6 layers are very interesting, I encourage you to research them on your own, because each layer warrants a full article to articulate the ins and outs.

Key Features of the Internet

The Internet has no central owner. Due to the fact that it has very carefully specced out characteristics, any individual is able to participate in the internet and set their own policies. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a volunteer organization, organizes all IP addresses for creating the routing and predictability of addresses on the Internet. A variety of Domain Name System (DNS) organizations control the mapping of a URL to an IP address. And that is what ties everything together. Your browser asks a DNS server for a URL, the DNS server gives the IP address to the browser and TCP/IP is used to transfer the website to your browser in real time. And that is all that goes on behind the scenes when you type in [horizons-newspaper.com].

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