What is the Internet?

The internet is a group of interconnected computer networks that communicate with devices and networks using transmission control protocol/internet protocol (TCP/IP). The internet forms a vast network by connecting computers all over the world. People can use the internet to share pictures and videos and send or receive data from anywhere. The internet has a vast range of data resources and services, including hypertext transfer protocol secure (HTTPS), electronic shopping, telephone capabilities, file/data sharing, and the worldwide web (WWW).

Origin of the Internet

ARPANET, or the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network, was established in the late 1960s and was the first working prototype of the Internet. ARPANET, which was first supported by the United States Department of Defense, used packet switching to allow several computers to communicate on a single network. The ARPANET's communication galaxy was essentially unexplored space in its early stages, between the 1960s and 1970s, and mostly empty by today's standards. It remained that way until the 1990s, when the ARPANET project's technology became the Internet's backbone.

How the Internet Works

  • The internet works with the help of public telecommunication networks. The Internet uses a set of protocols such as TCP/ IP. Two major components of the internet are network protocols (the set of rules and regulations that must be followed by the machine to communicate) and hardware.
  • The protocols translate alphabetical text into electrical signals and again back into alphabetical signals when text is displayed. The second component, hardware, is an important component that includes computers, smartphones, and other devices that are used to display and transmit information from one device to another. Other hardware required for network connections include satellites, radios, routers service, cell phone towers, etc. Laptops, smartphones, and computers are called the endpoints or the clients, whereas the device which actually sends the information is called the server.
  • The exchange of information over the internet occurs by using transmission lines, which can be either wireless (e.g., 4G, wireless signals from satellite) or wired (e.g., cables). The process of exchanging information between devices is called packet switching. Each device is recognized using its unique IP address assigned for its internet usage. When one device sends a message to another device, it sends in the form of manageable packets.
  • When a packet is given a unique IP address and port number, it travels through the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model from the application layer (top) to the physical layer (bottom) by converting the alphabetical text into electrical signals. Then the message is sent to the Internet Service Provider (ISP). The router finds the destination of the message using the IP address and port number mentioned in the packet. The packet or the message is received by the client by traveling through the layers of the OSI model from the bottom to the top—that is, from the physical layer to the application layer. During this process, the router data and IP port numbers are removed from the packet to convert the electrical signal to alphabetic text.

Internet Speed

  • A good speed to upload is 3 Mbps.
  • A good speed to download is 25 Mbps.
  • The download speed of 25 Mbps and upload speed of 3 Mbps is defined by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
  • The terms bandwidth and internet speed are commonly used words, but they are not the same thing.

Internet Security

Today, information both public and private is saved in the cloud, which can be stolen by hackers. Some protective measures can be taken to ensure internet security, such as:

  • Installing antivirus software to protect the computer from viruses and malware attacks.
  • Creating strong passwords using the specified guidelines when logging in.
  • Using a virtual private network (VPN) for private browsing.
  • Checking privacy settings when creating social media accounts.
  • Not allowing Google to fill forms automatically using autofill.
  • Turning off location tracking and not sharing your location using global positioning system (GPS).
  • Making sure to log out of online accounts when you need to close.
  • Not opening spam emails or downloading any documents from unknown sources.
  • Being cautious while using public wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) or hotspots.

Social Impact of the Internet

The internet has both positive and negative impacts.

Positive Effects:

  • The internet has helped many people's online businesses to grow exponentially.
  • It has helped students to access remote education.
  • It provides employment opportunities without the need to be physically present at the workplace—that is, online jobs.

Negative Effects:

The greatest negative impact of social media is that it has affected the young population as they spend more time using the internet on their mobile phones. People often become addicted to the virtual world and may avoid physical interaction.

Application Areas

Much of modern life is conducted on the internet today. People use the internet in a variety of ways, including:

  • Sharing content, images, data, files, videos, etc.
  • Communicating using an instant messaging app such as email, WhatsApp, etc.
  • Searching for jobs and networking.
  • Taking courses online and using online studying apps.
  • Online shopping.
  • Online dating.
  • Playing games online.
  • Reading books using online reading apps and digital libraries.
  • Consuming media, such as new articles, mail, radio, television, etc.

Context and Applications

This topic is important for postgraduate and undergraduate courses, particularly for:

  • Bachelors in computer science engineering.
  • Associate of science in computer science.

Practice Problems

1. What is the term HTTPS short for?

a. Hypertext txt protocol secure
b. Hide text transfer protocol secure
c. Hidden text transfer protocol secure
d. Hypertext transfer protocol secure

Answer: d

Explanation: The internet has a vast range of data resources and services like HTTPS (hypertext transfer protocol secure).

2. TCP/IP is used for ___.

a. Email
b. File transfer
c. Remote login service
d. All the above.

Answer: d

Explanation: The internet works with the help of public telecommunication networks using a set of protocols such as TCP/ IP, or transmission control protocol internet protocol. It is used for email, file transfers, etc.

3. The good speed to upload is ___ Mbps.

a. 25
b. 3
c. 23
d. 2

Answer: b

Explanation: The Internet has a vast range of data resources and services (including HTTPS, electronic malls, telephone calls, file/data sharing, and WWW). 3 Mbps is a good speed to upload.

4. The internet is a ____.

a. Single network
b. Vast collection of various networks
c. Both A and B
d. None of the above

Answer: b

Explanation: The internet forms a vast network by connecting all the computers all over the world. By using TCP/IP computer networks, it communicates with devices and networks.

5. A computer must be connected to a/an _______ in order to access the internet.

a. STD
b. Computer
c. Internet service provider
c. None of these

Answer: c

Explanation: The major agents through which every computer is connected to the internet are the internet service providers.

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